With Darrelle Revis due a resounding $16 million for the upcoming season, new Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith believe it is just too high a price to keep the three-time All-Pro cornerback and former Defensive Player of the Year. It also became even more apparent that Revis’s playing days in Tampa Bay are done when they signed cornerback Alterraun Verner to replace him. The Browns and Raiders were reportedly interested in making a trade, but Revis will not come down on his price and the chances for the Bucs to getting anything in return seem to have already passed. Therefore, with Revis refusing to take a pay cut in a trade, the Buccaneers cut him.
With Revis officially gone in Tampa, there will be many teams ready to at least interview a man still considered one of best cornerbacks in the league. Revis did have an underperforming year in 2013, by his standards, with 50 tackles and 11 passes deflected. Yet he was one season removed from a torn ACL, and those stats aren’t horrible. With Revis at the age of 29, a team could still get some great production out of him, especially if he returns to his form prior to knee surgery.
The biggest problem is money, which has always been as issue for Revis. His time with the Jets involved a fair share of holdouts and contract disputes. Now he has forced the Buccaneers to release him instead of being able to get something back. But no matter what, Revis will be sought out by teams, so let’s take a look at a few players who should be in the market for him.
New England Patriots
New England just lost cornerback Aqib Talib, as Peyton Manning stole away another one of Tom Brady’s teammates. With Talib’s departure, there is a serious hole now at cornerback in New England. However, the problem here would be money — Revis wants a lot of it, and Robert Kraft isn’t known for signing players to huge contracts. Still, New England has pulled off a surprising move before when they acquired Randy Moss back in 2007. So anything is possible; they even got Moss to reconstruct his contract and take a pay cut, something that Revis is not keen on doing.
San Francisco 49ers
Can you imagine Sherman vs. Revis twice a year? This would definitely add fuel to fire on the biggest rival in the league today. This move makes sense for San Francisco, since they just cut Carlos Rogers and need a cornerback to pair with Tramaine Brock. Adding Revis would solidify the cornerback position (and most likely upgrade it, as Rogers was starting to fall off in production). Now the 49ers have some cap space after releasing Rogers, but they also will have to deal with the impending contract situation of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which will take a big chunk of cap space. Still, if the cap-strapped New Orleans Saints can pull off signing safety Jairus Byrd, the 49ers can pull off signing Revis.
New York Jets
Yes, this sounds crazy after Darrelle Revis and the Jets parted ways last season. But this is the NFL, where anything can happen. We all know Darrelle Revis was one of head coach Rex Ryan’s favorite players, and after doing an exceptional job coaching sub-par talent, he might have the pull to bring him back.
New York just released cornerback Antonio Cromartie and last year’s draft pick Dee Milliner struggled mightily last season, so there is an obvious need for a cornerback. You might think this is crazy but Revis has already stated he would be happy to return to New York — so don’t be surprised if Revis and Ryan reunite after a season apart from each other.
Washington has been relatively quiet so far in free agency and still has a ton of cap space. The Redskins also have the same players in their secondary that allowed a 96.1 rating to opposing quarterbacks. Even though Washington brought back DeAngelo Hall, who is nowhere near perfect, they still could use an upgrade at cornerback — especially an All-Pro like Revis. With money being the most important thing to Revis, this option seems like a good fit as Washington has the money to make him a happy camper. The only question is how conservative will general manager Bruce Allen be now that his cap situation is fixed. Would he be willing to offer Revis a big contract?
Jerry Jones just made a calculated decision — something for which he’s not exactly known — by releasing pass rusher DeMarcus Ware after nine season in Dallas. We all know Jones can make crazy decisions; now that he has some cap space to sign free agents, he is bold enough to spend most of it on a player like Revis. Dallas does have Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, though they struggled; the Cowboys’ secondary ranked 30th last season. The idea of Darrelle Revis wearing the star on his helmet seems far-fetched but you never know. Anything can happen in Jerry’s World.
Charles Tillman is a free agent and if he doesn’t return to Chicago I don’t think cornerback Isiah Frey, who is next up on the depth chart, is the answer. Replacing Tillman with Revis would keep Bears fans from worrying about the loss of one of their favorite players, while bringing hope that their defense will improve after finishing 30th in total defense last season. Now the Bears have only made one big splash in free agency, signing LaMarr Houston to a 35 million dollar contract, but then countered it saving $14 million by releasing Julius Peppers, so the money is there to get a deal done. A mutual interest from Chicago hasn’t been rumored, but considering Revis’s landing spots this seems like a great fit.
We know the Raiders inquired about a trade and they have the cap space to make a big offer, which makes this happening even more likely. Now, the way that general manger Reggie McKenzie is signing players is probably having many Raider’s fans scratch their heads and wonder if Al Davis still is in charge, thus you can’t predict Oakland’s next move. Still, with Oakland giving up 33 passing touchdowns last season, signing Revis makes a ton of sense. The main thing that will have Revis interested in Oakland is that they have a ton of cash at their disposal and his main priority seems to be getting paid.
With his old defensive coordinator from the Jets and Mike Pettine now the head coach in Cleveland, this seems like the most logical destination for Darrelle Revis. If Revis were to sign with the Browns, that would give them two of the best cornerbacks in the league, as they already have Pro-Bowl cornerback Joe Haden on their roster. Cleveland has the cap space to give Revis a huge contract, yet we know that $16 million is a little too steep or they would have made this happen via trade yesterday. No matter what, the interest on signing Revis is presumably there in Cleveland with the trade rumors. Therefore, if Revis is appealed by the thought of joining the Browns, a deal could be made between each other.