The New York Jets traded away their best player, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded a first and prospective third-round pick for a player coming off an ACL tear and Darrelle Revis signed a contract for zero guaranteed dollars, and all of them should be very happy about it. Here is the argument for why the trade resulted in a win-win-win.
While many fans are livid about the Jets trading away their best player, it was a prudent move for a team with an eye on the future. The Jets are not winning the Super Bowl this year; that much is obvious. ESPN's Mel Kiper went as far as calling them a "glorified expansion team" in his First Draft podcast.
By trading Revis, the Jets pave the way to rebuild starting in 2013.
First, they gain the 13th overall pick this year, as well as a third-round pick in 2014 assuming Revis is on the Buccaneers roster to start the season. Second, they strip themselves of talent, which, while painful, will set them up for a shot at Johnny Manziel or another top pick in the 2014 draft.
Finally, they save future millions in cap space by filling their roster with younger draft picks with fixed salaries compared to the $16 million a year Revis will be making with the Bucs.
Darrelle Revis instantly makes the Buccaneers a threat in the NFC for years to come. While finishing 7-9 last year, Tampa Bay's roster is full of talented young players who are ready to take the next step in their NFL careers. Doug Martin, Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson led the Bucs to 363.8 yards per game last year, ninth-best in the NFL, according to NFL.com.
The Buccaneers' real struggles came defending the pass. They finished dead last, allowing 297.4 yards per game through the air.
The addition of Darrelle Revis, along with recent free-agent acquisition Dashon Goldson, completely changes the makeup of the Buccaneers backfield. The Bucs can now feel pretty good about facing Pro Bowl quarterbacks Drew Brees and Matt Ryan a combined four times each year.
Coming off ACL surgery, Darrelle Revis just signed a contract that will earn him $96 million dollars over the next six years, provided he can stay healthy. Although none of the contract is guaranteed as a signing bonus, he will be guaranteed $16 million each year provided he shows up to work and can remain on the field.
The distribution of the contract is evenly spaced, so that he won't have to worry about holding out in a year or two with his base salary dropping to a low number one year then skyrocketing the next. If the Buccaneers decide they need to free up cap space by renegotiating his contract, he will have the leverage to turn some of his base salary of future years into a guaranteed signing bonus.
Revis is betting on himself to stay healthy and earn his money each year. Motivation like that is enough to keep him playing at an All-Pro level for years to come.
The Jets build for the future, the Buccaneers make a play for the present and Revis gets the respect and money he was looking for. Win. Win. Win.