Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs, Jets finalize deal for Pro Bowl CB Revis
Some guys are worth the risk.
That said, by the time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers completed their much-anticipated blockbuster trade with the New York Jets for four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, they didn't feel as though they were taking that great a risk.
Their doctors had just confirmed what an MRI a week ago today already revealed — that Revis' surgically repaired left knee is sound — and they didn't think they were giving up too much in compensation.
The Jets received two draft picks: the Bucs' first-round selection this year — the 13th overall pick — and a fourth-round pick next year that converts to a third-rounder if Revis is on the Tampa Bay roster on the third day of the 2014 league year.
Even the new contract Revis signed late Sunday carries little risk for the Bucs. It is a six-year deal worth $96 million, but includes no guaranteed payouts of any kind. Instead it calls for Revis to receive a $13 million salary plus workout and roster bonuses of $1.5 million each year.
Revis will be introduced at a news conference at noon today at One Buc Place.
“It's rare that you have a chance to add a player of this caliber to your football team,'' Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said shortly after completing the trade. “He is unique and that is what motivated us.''
The Bucs had other reasons to be motivated. They were coming off a 2012 season in which their pass defense ranked last in the 32-team league after giving up 4,758 yards, the second-most in NFL history.
They also were running dreadfully short of starting-caliber cornerbacks. Bucs head coach Greg Schiano admitted as much last week, saying five-year veteran Eric Wright was the only one on the roster.
Now there are two.
A 2007 first-round pick of the Jets (14th overall) out of Pittsburgh, where he played for new Bucs special teams coach Dave Wannstedt, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound Revis has started all 79 NFL games in which he's played.
During that span, he amassed 325 tackles, 102 pass breakups, 19 interceptions (including three returned for touchdowns), one sack, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
The 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Year, Revis transformed the Jets secondary into one of the league's stingiest, anchoring a unit that ranked first overall in the NFL in completion percentage allowed and second overall in passing yards and touchdowns allowed from 2007-12.
“We're really looking forward to him becoming a key member of our defense,'' said Dominik, who spent several weeks trying to work a deal that finally came together late Thursday.
That's when the Jets, who were believed to be seeking a compensation package that included three picks, finally accepted the Bucs' offer of two picks and agreed to let Dominik begin talking to Revis' agents about a contract.
By late Saturday, the Jets also had provided the Bucs with a copy of an MRI they had done on Revis' knee a week ago today and granted Tampa Bay permission to visit with Revis and examine his surgically repaired knee.
On Sunday, the Bucs dispatched a private plane to Morristown, N.J., to bring Revis to Tampa, where he was greeted at Tampa International Jet Center by Schiano.
Schiano drove Revis directly to One Buc Place, arriving there shortly after 3 p.m. Revis spent the next hour undergoing a physical exam while Dominik finalized the paperwork on the trade and contract.
The completion of those deals made Revis the second Pro Bowl defensive back to join the Bucs this offseason. Two-time Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson signed a five-year, $41.5 million deal as a free agent in March.
Revis was entering the final year of his contract with the Jets and could have become an unrestricted free agent in 2014. First-year Jets general manager John Idzik, a former Bucs executive, held off on completing a trade because he was hopeful he could work out a new contract with Revis.
Eventually, he realized that wasn't going to happen.
“It's not quite as simple as player wanting the club and the club wanting the player,'' Idzik said during a conference call late Sunday. “Fitting a deal of historic proportions into our short-term and long-term plan is very difficult.
“If we had had the luxury of time, if we had the luxury of Darrelle not having been injured, not having gone through rehab, I think things would have been a lot clearer.”
Instead, the Jets will face their former player in Week 1 as the Bucs open the season at the Jets.
The trade leaves the Bucs with seven picks in this year's draft, the first of which will be the 43rd overall selection in the second round. They also have two picks in rounds four and six, but no seventh-round selection.
The Bucs have the ammunition necessary to possibly move back into the first round of the draft and possibly take advantage of what many believe is the deepest cornerback class ever.
Several starting caliber cornerbacks such as D.J. Hayden of Houston, Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana and Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State could still be around in the second round.
“That's a position that we have talked about where we definitely want to increase the competition,'' Dominik said during the offseason. “And that competition could come from anywhere.''
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