Rich Cimini of ESPN New York is reporting that the New York Jets are allowing star cornerback Darrelle Revis to take a physical and negotiate a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is likely a precursor to a blockbuster trade.
Thought to be the main piece of the deal is Tampa Bay's No. 13 overall draft pick in the next Thursday's NFL draft.
So, what would such a trade mean for the Jets? In all likelihood, it means the end of the Rex Ryan era, both sentimentally and physically.
Revis was the cornerstone of the two teams that made the AFC championship game in Ryan's first two years. "Revis Island" was the unique element that allowed Ryan to send blitzers all over the field without worrying. He made those defenses work, and without him, the Jets will likely have to move to a more conventional scheme.
Losing Revis would signal the likely beginning of a rebuilding period for the team. New general manager John Idzik could use the two first-round picks to slowly start to fix the roster Mike Tannenbaum destroyed. While that signals hope for the future, Ryan is already on thin ice. A 6-10 season might be good for the long-term fortunes of the team, but it would likely end Ryan's tenure with the team.
Such a trade might also increase the chances that Mark Sanchez's run starting quarterback is coming to an end. Adding an extra high pick gives the Jets an extra chance to fill a hole. With less immediate holes to fill, the Jets can consider grabbing a quarterback and putting him on a somewhat competitive team rather than a depleted one.
Finally, this deal represents an organizational shift in philosophy. Mike Tannenbaum would never trade Darrelle Revis because he was so enamored with star power. This is the kind of future-mortgaging decision-making that dooms teams.
Should the Jets trade Darrelle Revis?
Idzik appears to be more focused on developing talent through the draft. He isn't as interested in high-priced veterans and star power. This is how the best teams generally develop talent, and it's how the Jets should think.
Losing Revis would hurt. He might be the best player in franchise history. But in the end, it would help the long-term fortunes of the franchise. For a rebuilding team, that's all we can ask.