Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com is reporting that the Bucs are stepping up efforts to try to trade Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis. By doing so the team can free up $16 million in salary cap space and only send a fourth-round pick to the New York Jets instead of a third-round pick as a result of last year's trade, in addition to acquiring additional draft picks from potential trading partners.
Despite assurances from head coach Lovie Smith and new general manager Jason Licht that Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis would be a great fit in the new Tampa 2 defensive scheme, the Bucs are stepping up efforts to trade him, which was first reported by FoxSports.com’s Alex Marvez.
“I just want you to know, especially Darrelle Revis, we don’t play Cover 2 every snap,” Smith said in his introductory press conference in Tampa Bay on January 6. “We have a place for a great cover corner that’s physical and can do all things.”
But over the past two months, Smith and Licht have come to the conclusion that Revis is taking up too much salary cap room and the value isn’t there, despite him being a very good fit for Smith’s defense. After the NFL Scouting Combine, NFL.com reported that other teams had inquired about Revis' availability via trade even though Tampa Bay wasn't shopping him.
However, facing the prospects that Revis, who will turn 29 in July, is taking up $16 million in salary cap space and is due $3 million in bonus money on Thursday the Bucs have decided that’s too much cap space allocated to anyone – even a five-time Pro Bowler. Revis is getting paid just over $6 million more per year than the second-highest paid cornerback, Green Bay's Sam Shields, who signed a four-year deal worth $39 million just days ago and will average just under $10 million per season.
If the team can’t trade Revis, the Bucs are prepared to release him by 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday to avoid paying him a $1.5 million roster bonus and a $1.5 million workout bonus.
Parting ways with Revis via a trade or his release would also result in sending the Bucs’ 2014 fourth-round pick to the New York Jets as part of the trade deal that led to his acquisition last year, instead of a third-round pick, which would be more beneficial to Tampa Bay. The Bucs only have five draft picks this year – selections in the first, second, fifth and seventh rounds, in addition to either a third-rounder or a fourth-rounder depending on whether Revis is on the roster on Thursday.
Tampa Bay likely won’t trade or release Revis, who was the Sporting News’ 2013 Comeback Player of the Year, until the team has signed another corner or two in free agency by Wednesday to ensure that there won’t be a deficiency of talent at the cornerback position. The Buccaneers are expected to pursue Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who played several years for Smith in Chicago, and could target another cornerback in free agency, such as Tennessee’s Alterraun Vernor, who is one of the best Tampa 2 zone-style cornerbacks available this year – and get both players for how much the team is slated to play Revis this year.
Revis was acquired last year when former general manager Mark Dominik traded a 2013 first-round pick, and a conditional draft pick in 2014 to the Jets for a player believed to be the best cover cornerback in football. Revis, who was the 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Year, was coming off a torn ACL that cost him much of 2012 season and also seeking a new contract from the salary cap-strapped Jets.
Facing the prospects of losing him after the 2013 season and getting nothing in return for him, the Jets traded Revis, who had 19 interceptions in his six-year career, to Tampa Bay last April. In addition to the trade, Dominik signed Revis to a six-year, $96-million deal that is really a series of six individual deals worth $16-million.
The $16 million salary makes it nearly impossible to trade Revis as very few teams are in a position to absorb such a cap hit. The Raiders, Jaguars and Browns are only a few of the teams who have the flexibility to take on Revis' massive salary.
The deal featured no guaranteed money and no signing bonus, which creates no dead salary cap space if the Bucs wanted to part ways with Revis at any time prior to the third day of each new league year when the shutdown cornerback is due his $1.5 million roster bonus and his $1.5 million workout bonus.
Tampa Bay reportedly tried but failed to re-negotiate Revis’ contract.
Should the Bucs not be able to trade him, this deal will ultimately go down as one of the worst in team history as Tampa Bay has nothing to show for its 2013 first-round pick.
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