Grading Darrelle Revis Trade to Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Greg Schiano's team struggled mightily defending the pass in 2012, and Revis' presence could be the catalyst for a major defensive culture change.
Let's grade the Buccaneers' decision to swing a trade for the elite cornerback.
Sound cornerback play is at a premium in the quarterback-driven NFC South—a division which places a strong emphasis on throwing the football.
When healthy, Revis is the most effective man-to-man cornerback in the NFL. He can line up anywhere on any receiver and essentially take that pass-catcher out of the game—or, at the very least, drastically hinder his production.
The Buccaneers allowed 297 yards passing per game and allowed the sixth-highest average QB rating in 2012.
Revis fills a huge void in the most significant way possible.
Talent: Any Question Here?
Check out this tweet from ProFootballFocus' Pete Damilatis:
Since 2008, Darrelle Revis allowed a 91.5 QB Rating vs Stevie Johnson, and a 44.5 rating vs every other WR. #Bills— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) April 21, 2013
This is one of many stats that show how impactful Revis has been.
By now, though, Revis' dominance against the league's premier receivers is well-documented.
He is the preeminent cornerback in the NFL who drips athleticism, football IQ, tenacity, mirroring ability and ball skills.
From a pure talent perspective, the Buccaneers made out exceptionally well in this trade.
Price: Not as Expensive as Contract Reads
The Buccaneers signed Revis to a six-year, $96 million contract.
However, most importantly, there is no guaranteed money in the monster deal.
Then again, the fact that Tampa Bay parted with two draft picks—one being a first-rounder—means one can expect it to be committed to Revis for a good portion of his contract.
He'll make $16 million in 2013—and is set to make that in each of his six years with the Buccaneers—but GM Mark Dominik protected himself and the franchise from the inherent risk that comes with Revis today.
Risk: Oh, It's There.
In February, I conducted extensive research in hopes of coming to a definitive conclusion of Darrelle Revis' worth.
I found that, recently, cornerbacks coming off an ACL tear either weren't able to produce at the same level they did pre-injury or they experienced more leg injuries that may or may not have been related to the initial knee tear.
While I'm sure the Buccaneers performed their due diligence—in this column by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Dominik said he's "comfortable with the risk"—that doesn't mean the risk isn't there.
Also, there's a good chance Revis looks to renegotiate his deal to add guaranteed money if he stays healthy in 2013.
The Buccaneers were extremely cornerback-needy, and they acquired the best cornerback in football.
Also, they only parted with two picks—a 2013 first-rounder and conditional third/fourth-rounder in 2014—which certainly didn't equate to an overpayment for Revis.
There is risk, and the essentially imminent renegotiation of the contract is a bit worrisome, but the fact that they were able to sign him to a deal with no guaranteed money was a huge win.
If Revis pays off in the pass-happy NFC South, Tampa Bay will be more than willing to give him the money he deserves.
If not, the Buccaneers will be able to cut their losses without too much residual effect.