Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Ryan Bozeman1
Darrelle Revis Trade: Pros and Cons for the Bucs
The Tampa Bay Bucs have finalized the details on a trade that will bring Darrelle Revis to Southern Florida. The Bucs gave up their first round pick (13th overall) along with a conditional fourth round pick. Revis was brought in to fill a serious hole in the Bucs secondary that gave up more yards than any other team in the league, and will undoubtedly greatly improve the entire defensive unit.
Unexpectedly, Revis agreed to a contract that grants him no guaranteed money, making the contract relatively low risk for Tampa Bay, allowing them to cut him whenever they see fit. This strategy is one that Tampa Bay has employed regularly in recent years, overpaying players in their contracts for lower guaranteed numbers. It provides them with an added flexibility that they hope will still allow them to attract top level talent without taking on too much risk in the process. It certainly has worked for them in this particular case, but it’s not all roses in Tampa. The price they paid was high with the 13th overall pick, and health concerns have many Tampa fans nervous. There is both a lot to like, and a lot to dislike about this trade from the perspective of a Tampa Bay Bucs fan.
Pros of the Trade:
There are several different aspects of this acquisition that any Tampa Bay Bucs fan should love. They were able to land a premiere cornerback with the talent to be top 5 in the league for several years to come.
Secondary Immediately Improves
The Tampa Bay secondary was abysmal last year, giving up more than 4,700 yards through the air, more than any other team. Revis will now join any extremely raw group of young CB group that includes Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor, Eric Wright, Leonard Johnson, James Rodgers and Eric Tandy. Ronde Barber is still deciding whether or not he wants to return to the team, but the appearance of Revis may give him a nudge toward doing so. Barber was easily the best player in the secondary a year ago, but is 38 years old and has seen his productivity drop. Even if Barber decides against returning, Revis provides them with a huge upgrade at the position.
No Guaranteed Money
After first hearing about the details of the trade, I was firmly against it. It wasn’t until a few hours later that Revis’ new contract details started to leak, and the world learned that Revis had accepted a trade that included no guaranteed money. How the Bucs were able to pull that off, even with the injury concerns, is astounding. One wonders if Revis has a chip on his shoulder, or was so eager to get out of New York that he was willing to accept a contract that was out of his favor in order to do so. Whatever the reason, the fact that no money was guaranteed really forced me to rethink my position on the trade.
Possible Replacement for Barber
If Barber decides not to come back, without Revis not only would the secondary be bad in Tampa Bay, but they would also lack any kind of real veteran leadership. Eric Wright has been in the league for 7 years. Safety Dashon Goldson is currently the elder on the roster at 28 years old, and the addition of Revis, 27, gives them at least a measurable veteran presence at the cornerback position.
Cons of the Trade:
Along with the positives that come out of this trade for Tampa Bay fans, there are some really concerning aspects that could cause the move to be looked at as a serious mistake at some point in the future.
Loss of the 13th Overall Pick
There is no doubt that Revis is a premiere player, but the 13th overall pick is certainly a premiere pick as well. If Tampa Bay were to keep their draft pick, or even attempt to trade down in this cornerback-rich draft, they could potentially add another young piece at a cut rate price. Is the Revis trade a statement about how they feel about this year’s cornerback class? Maybe. Or maybe they just think that Revis is a once in a lifetime player and they may not have another chance at this kind of talent again. Either way, they have replaced a potential cheap star rookie at the corner position for an expensive elite piece with some question marks.
Revis has had health problems as of late. This is probably the biggest reason for the contract having no guarantees. However, if Revis were to be seriously injured or be unable to get back to 100%, the loss of the 13th overall pick is still a huge blow and heavy price to pay. Revis’ health plays the central role in evaluating this trade down the line.
Not on the Cusp of Real Contention
To me, the Revis trade is one that you make as a final piece to put you over the hump to contend for a Superbowl. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 7 games and lost 9 last season in a division that looks to improve vastly after a disappointing 2012. Tampa Bay lost some key pieces in free agency, and are still a very young team. Sure, acquiring Revis could result in a few more wins and a better record, but will it be enough to rocket them into serious contention? Josh Freeman is 25 years old. Doug Martin is 24. Mike Williams is 25. Gerald McCoy is 25. Their oldest player is Nate Kaeding at age 31, and they only have 4 other players on the roster that are age 30 or above (including Vincent Jackson).
My point is that while they could contend for the division, it is not do or die time for them as a franchise. They can continue to grow. This doesn’t have to be the year that they go for it all, which is what I think a move like this would suggest.
Take a look at the NFC South last season;
|NFC South Team||W||L||T||Pct||PF||PA||Net Pts||TD||Home||Road||Div||Pct||Conf||Pct||Non-Conf||Streak||Last 5|
|*- Atlanta Falcons||13||3||0||.813||419||299||120||46||7-1||6-2||3-3||.500||9-3||.750||4-0||1L||3-2|
|New Orleans Saints||7||9||0||.438||461||454||7||58||4-4||3-5||3-3||.500||5-7||.417||2-2||1L||2-3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||9||0||.438||389||394||-5||44||3-5||4-4||3-3||.500||4-8||.333||3-1||1W||1-4|
The Atlanta Falcons are the obvious favorites, and look poised to match or improve upon the team that they fielded last year. The Carolina Panthers are full of young talent, and with electric Cam Newton at quarterback it is hard to doubt that they could do much worse than 7-9. The New Orleans Saints had a tough year without Sean Payton last year, but are perhaps the best bet to dramatically improve their record with Payton back.
The NFC South could quickly go from a disappointing division to one of the most competitive in the league in one offseason. Will the Darrelle Revis acquisition be enough? If I was a Tampa Bay fan, I might be able to convince myself it would be, but as of now I am skeptically optimistic for the franchise.
Photo By Marianne O’Leary.