Darrelle Revis could end up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the way recent events have been unfolding.
According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers are serious contenders to land Revis. Holder is not the only one who believes the Bucs have a shot, as CBS' Jason La Canfora mentioned Tampa Bay as a likely suitor as well:
Teams I'd look at as possible suitors for Revis would include SF, WSH (need cap room), TB, IND, DET (must redo Stafford) ...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 6, 2013
Tampa Bay being a strong candidate to land Revis should not come as a surprise either. For one, the Bucs have an excess of free cap space ranging in the neighborhood of $30 million (per ESPN). Two, cornerback is one of the biggest needs on the roster with Eric Wright not expected back.
The cost to land Revis would likely not be all that outlandish as ESPN's Ed Werder explained on NFL Live recently (h/t Rotoworld). He is coming off of a torn ACL and could never be the same player again, not to mention the fact he has just one year left with the Jets before he hits free agency anyway.
Where signing Revis becomes a serious risk is knowing the team that lands him will want to iron out a long-term deal before making the trade official.
Unlike the other potential suitors, that should not be a problem for the Bucs.
Tampa Bay is known for taking risks and spending big money to improve the team, hence the signings of guard Carl Nicks and receiver Vincent Jackson this time last year. Add in a large amount of free cap space and it is easy to see why the Bucs could take a risk again.
Revis may want to play for a winning franchise that is a few steps away from the Super Bowl, but as he has made known in the past with contract holdouts, he is about being paid like the best player in the NFL at his position. The Bucs have a leg up on the competition in this regard.
It also does not hurt to mention the reward could far outweigh the risk for Tampa Bay. It has five draft picks in the first four rounds and the only major contract extensions coming up are quarterback Josh Freeman and receiver Mike Williams. The franchise is still deciding on whether or not to pay defensive end Michael Bennett this offseason.
Further helping fuel the Revis-to-Tampa Bay likelihood is the fact that other suitors for him are dropping like flies. The Atlanta Falcons do not have enough cap space and want to retain their own first according to Ed Werder on Twitter. The most popular pick to land Revis has been the San Francisco 49ers, but according to Chris Mortensen on Twitter, the 49ers do not have a serious interest in acquiring him.
With plenty of cash and excess picks while the competition fades, the main question is whether or not Revis can prove he is healthy. Jets general manager John Idzik recently told the public that he is ahead of schedule on his recovery from ACL surgery (h/t New York Daily News):
"By all accounts, by his doctor’s accounts -- he’s doing very well," said Idzik. "By their estimation he’s ahead of schedule."
Idzik could just be posturing to improve Revis' trade value, but either way he will have to prove he is fully recovered.
In any case, perhaps it is time we started considering the Bucs a serious contender to land Revis. As he told the New York Daily News, Revis simply wants to get back to playing elite football, no matter where that may be:
“Revis Island will be back on the field soon,” the shutdown cornerback said. “I don’t know. We’ll see where the future leads to... if I’ll be back with the Jets or not. It really doesn’t matter. I just want to play football.”
Will Tampa Bay trade for Darrelle Revis?
Revis seems confident he will get back to being the best cornerback in the NFL, which is a difficult mountain to climb for a position that relies so much on quick stops and cuts. There are not many shining examples of cornerbacks coming back from a torn ACL to play at the same level once more.
Doubting Revis can return to his former self is like doubting the Bucs have a shot at him through trade.
"Revis Island" may just be relocated to Tampa Bay soon.