NFL teams have inquired about Darrelle Revis and his availability via trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jason La Canfora reports. With Lovie Smith arriving in Tampa, the Bucs will not tailor their defensive system to Darrelle Revis, which means his value to the Bucs will be significantly less than the $16 million he is set to make this (and every other) year.
Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will ask Darrelle Revis to play a lot of man coverage, but they also have an overall philosophy they will stick to, and that system precludes getting the maximum value out of Revis' skills. Rex Ryan managed to build an entire defensive system around Revis' ability to take out one receiver, using that skill to create overload blitzes and overload coverages elsewhere. The Bucs will instead rely primarily on a four-man rush and symmetrical coverage.
Smith and Frazier will blitz and do some creative things, but not to the extent they would have to to get the most out of While Revis won't be limited to zone coverage, but he won't be the focal point of the defense, either. And that means Revis' added value over other available cornerbacks is less than the $16 million per year the Bucs will pay him to remain on the roster.
Those $16 million per year could make it very difficult to trade him, however. Revis is by far the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. While none of his salary is guaranteed, the cornerback doesn't exactly have a history of being willing to accept pay cuts, and he's due a $1.5 million roster bonus on the third day of every league year (March 13 this year), as well as $1.5 million in workout bonuses every year.
That significantly curtails Revis' value in trade. Few teams are willing to give up premium draft picks and a massive salary, which is why the Bucs appeared to be the only party seriously interested in Darrelle Revis last year. The Bucs can afford to accept a low-value deal, though, because they have the added benefit of regaining their third-round draft pick this year, while instead sending the fourth-round pick to the Jets. That occurs if Revis is off the roster before March 13. That date would appear to be a deadline for any trade involving Revis.
One hint that the Bucs would be willing to deal Revis is that they haven't converted portions Revis' salary to a roster bonus, which would alleviate his cap hits in the short term (but create dead money on the cap) and give Revis a little more job security. The Bucs have the contractual right to do so, Joel Corry has reported.
While the Bucs would love to keep Revis on their roster, and Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier have made it clear that they'd want to keep Revis in their system, it may make more sense for the Bucs to move on and spend that $16 million on a handful of second-tier free agents, while adding a few draft picks.