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Should the Kansas City Chiefs Trade No. 1 Pick for Darrelle Revis?

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Should the Kansas City Chiefs Trade No. 1 Pick for Darrelle Revis?
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In recent days, the Kansas City Chiefs have restructured defensive lineman Tyson Jackson’s contract and released starting right tackle Eric Winston.  By making these moves and locking up wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs are under the 2013 salary cap by over $10 million and have plenty of space to add players. 

A position the Chiefs need to shore up greatly is the cornerback position and by trading for Revis, the Chiefs get one of the best players in the NFL.  Granted, Revis is coming off ACL surgery, but indications out of Revis’ camp is that he will begin running outside in 4-6 weeks, according to Andrea Kremer of NFL Network.  Revis is theoretically playing on a one-year contract since his contracts voids one day after the Super Bowl.  But Revis’ cost this year is only $6 million in salary.  In today’s NFL, that is peanuts for a starting cornerback, let alone one of Revis’ caliber.

The New York Jets cornerback has shown his discontent for the organization in recent weeks, and to all involved, a trade out of New York seems to be the only viable solution at this point.  The relationship between Revis and the Jets has always had a slight strain to it and with John Idzik now running the show, Revis’ days seem to be numbered as a member of the Jets. 

Idzik needs to find value in a trade. He cannot simply just give into the demands of a disgruntled player.  But Idzik also does not want to start off his regime on the wrong foot and having a malcontent locker room that is already fractured would only do more damage.  The new general manager must set about rebuilding a franchise that has been in chaos the past two seasons and being bold in his moves will set the organization up for the future.

The sticking point seems to be finding a suitable trading partner for Revis, but the Chiefs have the juice to make the move.  The old trade chart for draft picks that was made famous by the Dallas Cowboys Gil Brandt and head coach Jimmy Johnson is outdated.  High draft picks do not have as much of a risk factor due to the rookie salary cap.  So the trade that makes the most sense for both clubs is the Jets acquiring the No. 1 selection overall and the Chiefs get Revis and the No. 9 pick back.

 

Why this trade works for the Chiefs:

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New head coach Andy Reid has shown in his time in Philadelphia that he loves big, physical cornerbacks.  He went out of his way to overpay Nnamdi Asomugha and probably held on to Asante Samuel one season too long.  But Reid knows having good cornerback play is vital in today’s NFL and he needs a star player to start opposite Brandon Flowers.

Reid and new general manager John Dorsey have already been very aggressive this offseason.  They have traded for quarterback Alex Smith and placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert.  The duo got Bowe locked up for the next five years and still found ways to free up enough cap space to make this trade for Revis happen.

Most pundits look at the Chiefs roster and do not see many holes now that Smith is in the fold at quarterback.  The Chiefs have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Jamaal Charles and the defense is solid, especially at linebacker.  The Chiefs need depth along the offensive and defensive line, but should be able to find that later in the NFL Draft and free agency.

There is not one player at the No. 1 spot of the NFL Draft who can come in and have as much impact for the 2013 season as Revis could.  And with the No. 9 selection, the Chiefs could look to add an offensive tackle like Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson or even offensive guard Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina. 

The Chiefs would save close to $10 million in total compensation in terms of paying a rookie from moving back eight spots.  Last year, Andrew Luck secured a $22,107,998 million contract by being selected No. 1 overall.  In comparison, linebacker Luke Kuechley got $12,578,602 million when he was picked ninth overall by the Carolina Panthers.

 

Why the trade does not work for the Chiefs:

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Revis is not the kind of player who will just show up for training camp and do his job without some guarantees.  He has reportedly stated he wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, and this is coming off a season when he did not even play.  If the Chiefs make this move, they have to feel confident in Revis’ ability to be 100 percent healthy once the season starts.

The Chiefs will also have to work out something with Revis and his representatives in terms of compensation should he be back to playing at the high level he displayed in 2010 and 2011.  Revis will want insurances that he is not just a gun for hire and the Chiefs need to decide if the risk versus the reward is worth the price.

The Chiefs will be looking to do an incentive-laden contract with Revis, but will that be enough to get the cornerback into training camp?  Revis has held out before and is not the type of person who will go back on his word.  While the trade may look great on paper and in theory for the Chiefs and their fans, Revis has worn out his welcome in New York.  When the best player at his position has become an issue, what proof is there that he will not be a negative in the Chiefs' locker room?

Another drawback for the Chiefs is surrendering the No. 1 pick.  As opposed to last season when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III where sure things, the 2013 NFL Draft does not have such a player.  That being said, there are still some very good players who are worthy of the No. 1 selection. 

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Many football people believe Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel is a can’t-miss prospect who is a franchise player.  Other people believe defensive tackles Florida’s Sharrif Floyd or Utah’s Star Lotulelei are players who can be anchors in the middle of a defense.  Even BYU’s Ziggy Ansah is getting some hype as the first overall selection.  Staying at No. 1 would be much cheaper than paying Revis and the No. 9 selection in total compensation, and the Chiefs would get a much younger player. 

 

Why the trade works for the Jets:

Revis does not want to be a Jet and will simply hold out if not traded.  Revis has shown his meddle in the past and even with his biggest proponent, head coach Rex Ryan, still in the building, Revis does not seem to care.  He feels slighted at every turn by the Jets and does not want to play in New York any longer.  He has even gone out of his way to court teams like the San Francisco 49ers himself.

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Owner Woody Johnson has all but said he does not want Revis back, according to CBSSports.com Jason LaCanfora.  The issue is finding the right value for an injured player who has high salary demands.  Not many teams will be able to meet Revis’ asking price.  The Chiefs have the salary cap room to be able to make the move.

The question then turns to who the Jets target with the No. 1 selection overall.  Granted, as I have stated before, there is no clear cut front-runner.  The position that most people think is the best in the draft, left tackle, the Jets are set with D’Brickashaw Ferguson.  But a case will be made for five scenarios that would work for the Jets.

1)      Trade out of the No. 1 spot.  This may sound crazy right now, but if the Jets can get a deal done with the Chiefs fairly quickly, they will have most of March and April to move the pick.  Why this could work is that teams are sure to miss on their intended targets in free agency and if so, may covet a player at a position of need come draft time.  An example would be a team like the Miami Dolphins.  They are sure to lose offensive tackle Jake Long to free agency.  But by picking at No. 12, they are not guaranteed to get the top three tackles, Joeckel, Johnson or Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher.  By moving up to No. 1 to draft a player like Joeckel, quarterback Ryan Tannehill now has his blind side covered by his college teammate for the near future.

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2)      Mark Sanchez is making a lot of money and will be given the 2013 season to see if he can ever live up to his hype.  But the Jets could use the No. 1 pick overall on a quarterback.  While neither USC’s Matt Barkley nor WVU’s Geno Smith are Andrew Luck, both have talent to be starters in the NFL.  If the Jets view either as a player who can lead this team to the playoffs, drafting them No. 1 may be the only way to get them.  If the Jets were to stay at No. 9, both players could be selected and the Jets would have to wait until later in the draft or maybe even 2014 to get a future starter. 

3)      The Jets have holes everywhere on the roster and using the No. 1 pick overall on either Lotulelei or Floyd would give the Jets a dominant defensive line for the foreseeable future.  Mo Wilkerson was the first-round pick in 2011.  Quinton Coples was the first rounder last year.  Either college star walks into the starting lineup and like Idzik help build in Seattle, the defensive line could be dominant.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

4)      Right now, Garrett McIntyre and Ricky Sapp are listed as the starting outside linebackers for the Jets.  Idzik was part of the front office last year in Seattle that shocked the football world with the selection of Bruce Irvin in the first round.  Both BYU’s Ziggy Ansah and Oregon’s Dion Jordan are as good as or better than Irvin right now.  While pundits may say neither is worth the No. 1 pick overall, both are dynamic players that should make an instant impact in the NFL right away.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

5)      Replace Revis with the best cornerback in the 2013 NFL Draft, Alabama’s Dee Milliner.  A cornerback has never gone No. 1 overall, but hindsight being 20/20, Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey and Revis could all make cases that they deserved to be.  Milliner is physical, fast and has all the tools to be as good as Revis for a much cheaper price tag.  Milliner does not come with all the baggage Revis has and would give the Jets a dominant presence in the secondary to slow down the receivers of the AFC East.

 

Why the trade does not work for the Jets:

Revis, even coming off injury, is still one of the best in the business.  He is playing the 2013 season at a discounted rate and his salary does not affect the Jets salary cap very much.  Though moving Revis seems likely, the Jets could play hardball and just force Revis to sit out.  The Jets save the money they would pay him.

The Jets front office may also feel like they can get better value for Revis from other NFL teams.  The Jets are not one player, even the No. 1 overall selection, away from being a playoff contender.  The Jets may be able to work out a trade with another NFL team where they get multiple picks for Revis.  The question would be though, are two second-round picks or picks in future drafts better for the Jets than moving up to No. 1 this season?

Since there is no clear cut difference maker in the draft, the Jets would need to weigh the above options against all other trades.  They also need to weigh the issues Revis brings to the franchise and the other players on the team.

 

The Bottom Line:

Two legendary franchises with two grizzled head coaches and two first time general managers hold the cards to the fate of the entire 2013 NFL Draft and the 2013 NFL season.  How each club addresses the situations laid out before them will dictate how the rest of the NFL responds. 

The No. 1 overall selection in the draft and the career of one of the best cornerbacks to ever wear a NFL uniform rest in the balance of their decisions.  Seems only fitting that the Chiefs and the Jets work out a deal to better both clubs.

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