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Should the Philadelphia Eagles Pursue Cornerback Darrelle Revis?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) is shoved out of bounds by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
STEVE NESIUS/Associated Press
Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIMarch 12, 2014

The portion of the Philadelphia Eagles' fanbase that expected the team to make a big splash on the first day came away extremely disappointed. The Eagles signed just two players, one who was on their roster in 2013, and failed to add one of the three Pro Bowl safeties on the free-agent market.

There are two solutions to the Eagles' limited spending thus far in free agency. Either general manager Howie Roseman plans to spend light and land impact players, like he did in 2013, or the team is preparing to go all-in for cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Despite tearing his ACL in 2012, Revis rebounded in 2013 to show that he's still a top-five defensive player in the NFL. In fact, Pro Football Focus rated him as the best cornerback in the league. He's been the definition of a shutdown cornerback throughout his seven-year career, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl and three first-team All-Pro berths. He turns 29 this offseason and should have four to five elite years left in him.

Darrelle Revis, Year by Year
YearPFF RatingPFF CB RankingPass Numbers AgainstTackles
201318.21st of 19934-63, 400 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT, 81.4 rating41 of 47
20125.929th of 2173-8, 15 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT, 6.3 rating9 of 10
201124.61st of 19935-85, 508 yds, 1 TD, 4 INT, 45.6 rating45 of 49
20108.617th of 21122-57, 369 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT, 78.8 rating27 of 30
200932.92nd of 19841 of 111, 425 yds, 2 TD, 6 INT, 32.3 rating47 of 52
200821.83rd of 20049 of 84, 510 yds, 2 TD, 5 INT, 59.1 rating47 of 50
2007-1.8119 of 17442 of 59, 561 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT, 105.3 rating52 of 58
Career110.2-226 of 467, 2788 yds, 14 TD, 21 INT, 58.5 rating268 of 296 (90.5 percent)
Pro Football Focus

 

Revis, expected to be released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if the team can't trade him before 4 p.m. this afternoon, will instantly become the most coveted free-agent since Peyton Manning two offseasons ago.

The New England Patriots are expected to show a significant amount of interest in Revis, especially after losing cornerback Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos. The Cleveland Browns are also interested, as are the Oakland Raiders. Ian Rapoport reported that the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and, yes, Philadelphia Eagles have called about him.

The Eagles' interest in Revis shouldn't come as a surprise. ESPN's Adam Schefter initially reported that the Eagles would be one of two teams expected to be very interested in Revis (the Patriots being the other).

The obvious question is whether the Eagles would be willing to sign a player of Revis's caliber, assuming he hits free agency.

General Manager Howie Roseman has openly spoken about spending cautiously in free agency, obviously because of the Dream Team debacle from three offseasons ago when the Eagles handed out a number of sizable contracts, including a $60 million contract to Nnamdi Asomugha. He's lived up his word through the first day and a half of free agency, adding a starting safety, a punter and two special teams players, but avoiding a bidding war for All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd.

But the Eagles also have a significant amount of cap room and Revis is a player they had their eye on last offseason before he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Roseman has also said that sometimes special players cause exceptions to the rule.

To sign Revis, the Eagles would almost certainly have to spend more than they did for Nnamdi Asomugha, who they rewarded with a five-year, $60 million contract—including $25 million guaranteed—only to see the former All-Pro turn in two very disappointing seasons. Asomugha was released following the 2012 season.

Revis could take less money to play for a Super Bowl contender, like the Eagles, but he's also likely to be more heavily pursued by a team like the Patriots, who have had to face him twice a year for six of the last seven seasons.

There's no getting around it. The Eagles will have to break the bank for Revis. They're likely going to have to give him more than $30 million in guaranteed money.

It's going to be extremely tempting for Roseman and the rest of the Eagles' front office. You know they're interested. The question is whether they will risk going all-in for one elite player like they did three years ago.

Personally, I would be thrilled if the Eagles signed Revis. He's an impact player, the kind the Eagles need on their defense. He would be the team's best defensive player since Reggie White more than two decades ago. The Eagles have way too many average players in their secondary. They need talent. Revis might also be the final piece to a Super Bowl run.

Imagine Revis blanketing Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz and Pierre Garcon twice a year, not to mention some of the conference's other top receivers like Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson.

My official guess? I think the Eagles call and express interest but realistically, the Patriots, Raiders, Jets or a surprise team or two will swoop in, hand him an offer he can't refuse, and that will be the end of Darrelle Revis to Philly talks.

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