Mark Dominik Saves Face by Trading for Darrelle Revis
After all, this entire offseason hinged on the premise of the Bucs improving their league-worst pass defense. This was a unit that allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game and blew four fourth-quarter leads—including two to rookie quarterbacks—in 2012.
So, while it was a foregone conclusion that the Bucs would be active in their free-agent quest for improved talent in the secondary, a funny thing happened once the free-agent period began.
They weren't in that big of a rush to sign cornerbacks.
As the days and weeks progressed, Bucs fans became concerned at the thought that nary a cornerback had been added. No Brent Grimes, Sean Smith, Nnamdi Asomugha or Derek Cox. Heck, even E.J. Biggers signed elsewhere.
In fairness, they did sign a few free agents, namely All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson and a few other, less notable signings such as tight end Tom Crabtree, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, fullback Brian Leonard, receiver Steve Smith and defensive end George Selvie, among others.
All the while, Dominik and the front office asserted that a plan was in place to address their porous secondary, but little more than that was ever made public.
As rumors surrounding the Bucs and a potential trade for Revis began to circulate weeks ago, it became clear to many that whatever plan Dominik had in mind likely involved landing the injured cornerback in a blockbuster trade.
Naturally, there were inherent risks involved in such a deal. Chief among them the unknown health of Revis, who is rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL suffered early last season.
If healthy, Revis has the ability to erase an entire side of the field. If not, however, the pursuit of Revis would've erased an entire offseason of progress for Tampa Bay.
None of which apparently mattered to Dominik, who in the end, decided a $16 million-a-year cornerback was their best choice moving forward, sending two draft picks—this year's first-round choice and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014—to New York for Revis (h/t Adam Schefter and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com).
Yes, it is a bold move for a young team who needed to get better in a hurry. It also goes a long way toward energizing an alienated fanbase.
As for Dominik, it was also 100 percent necessary.
Let's not forget, the salt-and-pepper-haired architect in charge of the Bucs is entering his fifth season at the helm. In his four seasons, the Bucs are a paltry 24-40 with only one winning season on his resume.
Not to mention, attendance has lagged and television blackouts have become the norm. In short, things haven't exactly been picture perfect on his watch.
In reality, Dominik had to make this deal. Think about it, he was willing to mortgage an entire free-agency period when several good, young cornerbacks were available and could've been had without so much as yielding a single draft pick to land them.
Instead, he charted his own course and chose to go "all-in" by trading for Revis. The compensation isn't nearly as bad as many had expected, especially considering what the Jets were initially asking for. Ask yourselves this, who could they have drafted at No. 13 that would've made the same impact as Revis in 2013?
In the end, Dominik got his guy, and the Bucs are instantly a better team because of it. That's not to say they're a playoff team in 2013, but they're a lot closer with Revis than they would've been without him.
Although for Dominik's sake, anything less than a playoff berth for the Bucs in 2013 may not cut it. After all, this is his team, filled with his players, led by his coaches.
Hopefully that won't lead to his undoing.
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