Darrelle Revis is on the market, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested. But are they, and should they be? We find out.
With all the Revis rumors swirling around, it seemed like a good idea to take a quick look at the pros and cons of trading for him. So, let's do just that.
Darrelle Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL
This is not a profound statement in any way. Revis has been used in man coverage on opposing team's best receivers for years on end, produced what was probably the single best year for a cornerback in 2009 and has been the cornerstone for one of the best defenses in the NFL for the past four years. He's physical, does not shy away from a tackle, can get his hands on the ball and is really all you look for in a cornerback. He'd be an improvement for every team, let alone the Bucs.
Darrelle Revis is better than any draft pick could be
Dee Milliner is the consensus best cornerback in the draft, but no one's going to confuse him for Darrelle Revis. If the Bucs can add one player to their roster this offseason and they get a choice between Revis and Dee Milliner, Revis is probably the better choice straight up.
At 27, Revis is still in his prime
This would not be a trade for an old, over the hill cornerback. Nope. The Bucs would be trading for a cornerback who would have a few years left in his prime, and who could probably play at a high level until he was 32. Cornerbacks don't last forever, but Ronde Barber and Charles Woodson are still going, and Champ Bailey is only slowing down a little at age 34.
The cost would be a massive burden
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have to give up draft picks. Reports have suggested a first-round pick or first- and second-round picks, and then the Bucs would have to give Revis a massive contract. I'll assume that the Bucs won't trade for him unless they have a basic agreement in place with his agent on a new contract -- that's usually how these things are done.
The Bucs have the cap space to do so, for now, but the combination of having to spend massive money and draft picks on Revis makes the cost hefty. Instead of signing Revis, the Bucs could probably sign two quality starting cornerbacks in free agency and draft one or two more cornerbacks. None of them would be as good as Revis, but that would immediately create more depth than just Revis would. It would also help the Bucs as they try to re-sign some of their own players over the coming years, and they will need cap space to do so. Plus, the Bucs would be bidding against other teams, and they'd almost be guaranteed to overpay for his services because of the winner's curse.
Revis is coming off ACL surgery
Darrelle Revis tore his ACL in week 2 of the 2012 season, and he hasn't recovered yet. Trading for him would mean gambling on not only Revis's health, but also his retaining his ability. Sure, Adrian Peterson looked amazing this season, but that is the exception. It often takes athletes two years before they're fully recovered from knee injuries and completely confident in the use of their legs. Revis may return to health in 2012, but he may not be back to form until 2013. If he ever returns to form.
The risk is much larger
Trading for Revis would be a relatively short-term solution: he would be with the team for probably the duration of one contract. While that contract may be five or six years long, the Bucs would be stuck with him. Cutting Revis would cause massive cap damages, even if he turns out to be a complete bust. Never underestimate the chances of that happening: Nnamdi Asomugha has been awful in Philadelphia, for instance, and he's not the only free agent bust in history. Bad free agency signings happen all the time, but in this case the consequences would be even more disastrous: the Bucs would lose a lot of cap space and a few draft picks in the case that Revis does not work out. It could severely hurt the franchise for years on end.