Should the St. Louis Rams Make a Play for Darrelle Revis?
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will explore trading shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports has since reported that a "gold rush" is forming for potential Revis-related trades.
The question is, should the St. Louis Rams make a play for Revis?
There is no denying that Revis is a phenomenal player. He's developed the nickname Revis Island for his ability to smother and, quite simply, dominate Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers.
As he comes off of a torn left ACL, however, there are concerns that Revis will have lost a step (via ESPN New York).
With this in mind, there is reason for St. Louis to proceed with caution. As significant of an upgrade as Revis may be, there is no certainty that he will return to 100 percent.
According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, however, Revis has no doubt that he will remain elite.
"Once I get back to 100 percent, to me there's no question I (will) be back to where I was," Revis said, commenting for the first time since suffering the season-ending injury three weeks ago in Miami.
"I'm sure it might raise people's eyebrows with how I'm going to look when I come back," he said. "I'm OK with that. I wouldn't expect anything less. I just know I work hard and I'm going to treat it like any other offseason."
On a positive note, Cimini reports that Revis did not sustain any additional damage to his knee. The torn ACL, albeit severe, is the extent of the injury.
In other words, Revis' recovery should be much more manageable than that from a total reconstruction.
With this being established, the Rams already have former Pro Bowler Cortland Finnegan and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Janoris Jenkins on the roster. For that reason, one might question why the Rams should be interested in acquiring Revis.
Should the St. Louis Rams make a play for Darrelle Revis?
If the Rams want to keep pace in the defensively dominant NFC West, possessing the NFL's premier shutdown corner is the way to go about it.
If you're not sold on this trade, acknowledge the statistical facts.
The 49ers and Seahawks also boast top-10 rushing defenses, while St. Louis again ranks 15th.
To be fair, the Rams were tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for fourth in receiving touchdowns allowed. Such a statistic may cause one to believe that the Rams are not actually in need of a secondary improvement.
Unfortunately, the Rams ranked 23rd in first downs allowed via passing plays.
The Rams must acquire a player who can help take the defense off of the field. Although an equal burden is placed upon the offense, it is imperative that there is a defensive leader who can step up during third-down situations.
Revis is that player. Four Pro Bowl appearances and the 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Year award testify to that.
If that's not enough, two AFC Championship appearances prove Revis' ability to take St. Louis from the postseason bubble to the division crown.
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Elite Along the Perimeter
If the St. Louis Rams were to swing a deal for Revis, they'd likely be forced to part ways with Finnegan. Fortunately, the Rams would still possess an elite pairing along the perimeter.
Revis and Jenkins.
Jenkins has proven to be a Pro Bowl-caliber playmaker. He grabbed four interceptions during his rookie season and led the league with four defensive touchdowns.
With that being said, Jenkins must improve his patience and timing while playing in man sets. For that reason, it is fair to derive that he is not yet ready to handle the task of defending a No. 1 receiver.
Revis would take care of that.
By placing Revis on the opposite side of the field, Jenkins' learning curve would instantly decrease. The two would work together in practices, and Jenkins would be consistently tasked with a team's No. 2 receiver.
Although Finnegan decreases the workload, he's hardly comparable to the infamous Revis Island. For that matter, no one in the NFL has proven to be.
Revis would not only help Jenkins, but he'd also improve the NFL's statistically best pass rush. Sealing off an entire side of the football field certainly makes it easier to get after the quarterback.
In a defensive-minded NFC West, Revis is exactly what St. Louis needs. So how would they get the deal done?
Possessing the Pieces
When the St. Louis Rams traded the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL draft to the Washington Redskins, they received a plethora of draft choices in return. Of their remaining selections, the Rams own the Redskins' first-round draft choices in 2013 and 2014 (via ESPN).
In other words, the Rams could package multiple first-round draft picks and still own, at least, one per season.
This is not to suggest that St. Louis would give up two first-round picks, but instead to acknowledge their flexibility. St. Louis can now offer quality players on both ends of the ball and, at least, one first-round draft choice.
This gives them an undeniable leg up on the competition.
Furthermore, the Jets have severe need for a wide receiver. The Rams just so happen to possess Danny Amendola, Brian Quick, Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens.
Although Rams fans would hate to part ways with this young receiving corps, losing one or two players is forgivable due to their depth.
Keep in mind, the Rams would likely receive more than just Revis if they executed a trade. Regardless of who is dealt, however, it would be worth it—the Rams would gain a superstar defender in return.
Aside from receivers, we'd be remiss to ignore the consistent trade rumors surrounding Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson (via Sports Illustrated).
Regardless of which route the Rams opt to pursue, they have the pieces to get this deal done. More importantly, they own trade assets superior to that of other NFL teams and possess the depth to survive a multi-player, or pick, deal.
The question is, is all of this trouble worth it for a player that sees his contract expire after the 2013-14 season? More importantly, is it worth risking a trade on a player that is coming off of a severe knee injury?
That's for general manager Les Snead to decide. If the Rams want to contend for the title right now, however, the answer is simple.
Yes, Revis is worth the risk.
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