Darrelle Revis' days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are over after just one season. The star cornerback has been released by the franchise.
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports was the first to break the story Wednesday:
Bucs are cutting Darrelle Revis, per source— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2014
The league confirmed the move via its Twitter account:
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com shared his initial reaction to the news and explained why the team let Revis go:
The Bucs have released Darrelle Revis. Let the bidding begin. I still like New England to get this done— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2014
Bucs had to cut Revis by 4pm to avoid a roster bonus payment and having to send a 3rd to NYJ instead of a 4th— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2014
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht commented on the release in a statement on the team's official website:
We would like to thank Darrelle for his time and effort with our organization last year. Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season. We have specific ideas regarding the best way to build this defense and, while you never like to lose a good player, we believe this is in the best interests of our team moving forward. Darrelle was a true professional here in Tampa Bay and we wish him continued success in his career.
Revis was acquired from the New York Jets last April. He tallied 50 combined tackles, 11 passed defended, two interceptions and two forced fumbles while appearing in all 16 games in his first season with the team. That wasn't enough to keep him on the roster, though.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Buccaneers were exploring all options to get the cornerback off the roster before 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. At that point the team would have owed him a roster bonus, and the pick it dealt to New York last season would have moved up a round:
The time is important because Revis has a $1.5 million roster bonus due on Wednesday, and the fourth-round pick the Buccaneers traded to the New York Jets last year would become a third-round pick if Revis is on Tampa's roster as of 4:01 Wednesday.
The report also noted the sides had discussed a restructured contract that would have kept Revis in Tampa Bay, but were unable to reach an agreement.
It took some time for Revis to shake off the rust in his only season with the Bucs. He only played in two games during the 2012 season with the Jets due to a knee injury. Once back to full strength, he quickly reestablished himself as a lock-down corner capable of taking away an opponent's top target.
He told JoeBucsFan.com after the season that he was 100 percent:
I'm 100 percent, man. I feel real great. You know, through the course of the year it got stronger week to week. And I'm just trying to continue to improve and get back to where I used to play great ball.
Did the Bucs make the right move?
A healthy Revis is undoubtedly a valuable asset. The Bucs decided he wasn't valuable enough to pay him a bonus and upgrade the pick while also covering his 2014 salary. Instead, by sending him on his way, the team saves $16 million in cap space, according to the ESPN report.
While Tampa Bay frees up that cap space, it must now begin the process of finding a way to replace one of the best corners in the game. That won't be easy, but the extra money should allow the Bucs to fill a couple other voids as well.
As for Revis, there's no reason to believe he won't be a top corner again in 2014. At 28, he should still have a couple more seasons of elite play left before decline becomes a major source of concern. But in today's NFL that isn't always enough to stay with a team.
So "Revis Island" is on the move for the second time in as many years.