Like you, I wasn't sure what to make of the rumors. Surely, the Bucs weren't going to just waste two draft picks on a one year rental. Right? They can't possibly be that dumb!
Apparently, the Buccaneers have no choice.
Bucs Nation is angry today and for good reason. That draft pick surrendered to the NY Jets became the NFL Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson. Even if the Bucs didn't draft Richardson, there were plenty players floating around that pick that would have helped the Buccaneers.
Many today are blaming coach Lovie Smith for not having the ability to adapt his defense around Revis. Surely, any coach worth his salt can figure out a way to use the ultra-talented cornerback. Folks, ultimately this has nothing to do with defensive schemes. It doesn't have anything to do with Revis the football player.
This is about Mark Dominik - in self preservation mode - selling his soul and the that of this franchise in hopes that he could make a blockbuster deal.
You remember last off-season don't you? As Captain Ahab (Dominik) searched for the White Whale (Revis), quality cornerback after quality cornerback fell off the market. By the draft - John Idzik, who didn't have any leverage, squeezed Dominik's jewels in a vice. It was Dom's own fault, backing himself into a corner and letting good talent head off to other teams.
It wasn't so much the trade as what happened after. Dominik knew he couldn't allow Revis to play out his contract (which had one year remaining) and he surely couldn't afford to have Revis pull one of his legendary holdouts.
What possessed Dominik to come to that number, who knows? Perhaps again, he'd put himself into a corner and was at a point of desperation that he gave into Revis' ridiculous contract demands.
The bottom line is the asinine deal that the Buccaneers signed doomed this trade. We all tried to rationalize it. Revis is one of the best defensive players in football - he should be paid like it.
Yet with a $16 million dollar corner, the Bucs offensive and defensive lines fell apart and were left in shambles. Michael Bennett left to win a Super Bowl in Seattle. Schiano called him a situational guy.
Even Tony Dungy questioned the move, because you don't build a defense back-to-front.
When Jason Licht took over as Buccaneers GM - he saw the ridiculous contracts paid to subpar offensive linemen. He saw the bad draft picks and underperformers on the defensive line. And he saw a $16 million cornerback who played well but definitely not the best defensive player in the league deserving of a million dollars a game.
It became a conscious decision. Did the Bucs have enough talent to add a tweak here, another there and win now? Or do you nuke this thing from orbit? After all, it's the only way to be sure.
We all know now what the decision is. As word leaked that the Bucs would release Revis if a trade couldn't be consummated, Licht's job got a lot tougher. What team would trade for Revis now knowing that he might be a free agent in a couple days?
And Revis isn't making anything easier by turning down restructuring attempts. Then again, why would Revis agree to that? He's had a terrible time in Tampa, playing under an awful head coach in a town that has lost interest in their football team. If he forces the Bucs to release him - he can have his pick of destinations on his terms. Maybe even go back to the Jets. Wouldn't that be the final how do you do? The Jets get Sheldon Richardson, the Bucs 4th round pick and all they had to do was loan Revis out to the Bucs for a season and let him rehab in sunny Florida.
We didn't want to believe it did we, Bucs fans? We hoped that 4-12 was Schiano's fault. This team was better than that record. Lovie stated what we didn't want to hear, quoting the great Bill Parcells, "You are what your record says you are."
So yes, they are blowing up the roster. Chucking most of the offensive line, remaking the defensive line and yes, getting rid of the anchor around their necks derived from Dominik's last stand.
It's an embarrassment to the organization and the fanbase. None of us can believe it's happening. But it is. Let's hope they can make good use of that money and recoup some of this. Otherwise, its a devastating blow to a franchise that hasn't seen a playoff game since Jeff Garcia was quarterback.