In a matter of just over a month, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary has transformed from a sieve into, well, something with far less holes.
The Bucs showed promise in 2012, but it all came on one side of the ball.
Quarterback Josh Freeman had the type of season many were expecting a year earlier, throwing for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams proved to be a dangerous wide receiver duo. Doug Martin instantly established himself as one of the best running backs in the game, tallying nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns.
However, despite one of the most explosive offenses in the league, Tampa Bay fell to 7-9 on the ineptness of its defense.
Additionally, as Numbers Never Lie points out, wide receivers were doing much of the damage:
With Ronde Barber hitting social security and Aqib Talib long gone, it was clear the Bucs' No. 1—and Nos. 2, 3 and 4—priority in the offseason was going to be improving the secondary.
Darrelle Revis has his work cut out for him: Via @espnstatsinfo, the Bucs allowed 203.7 yds/gm to opposing WRs last season, most in the NFL.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) April 21, 2013
In March, they signed Dashon Goldson, who had three interceptions, 10 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries last season en route to his second Pro Bowl selection. He will bring Tampa Bay a much-needed physical presence at the back of its defense.
Trade official: Darrelle Revis passed physical. Bucs send 1st in 2013 and conditional 4th in 2014 that could be 3rd to Jets. More on ESPNews— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2013
I'll just add to that last one: Nada. Zilch. Goose egg.
Darrelle Revis received a 6-yr deal from the Bucs that makes him highest paid DB in NFL history but includes NO guaranteed money. None.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2013
How would you grade this trade for the Bucs?
He is expected to be ready to go for the start of the season, but not everyone has the machine-like qualities of Adrian Peterson. Some take longer to return to their pre-injury form.
However, with a contract as groundbreaking as this one—massive, but with no guaranteed money—the incentive for Revis should be enough to help him more hastily return to being the unquestioned best lockdown corner in the league.
But not only did the Bucs add a top safety and an elite cornerback, they did so without completely handicapping themselves in the draft (via Schefter):
The Buccaneers secondary looked like one of the worst in the NFL just over a month ago. After Sunday's trade, and with the draft just four days away, it looks like a legitimate strength.
Reason to like deal from TB standpoint: GMs believe strength of this draft is rounds 2 and 3, and Bucs have their picks there. Plus Revis.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2013
That's what you call efficient work from the front office.