Analysis  

 

Darrelle Revis trade more important to Buccaneers than Jets

It's so easy to rip the New York Jets. You do it. I do it. They've earned it.

But what if, perhaps, just maybe, they're handling this Darrelle Revis saga with aplomb? What if, perhaps, just maybe, the New York Jets know exactly what they are doing?

Revis is an ex-Jet-in-waiting, as I wrote in February. Now it seems there's only one team involved in the Jets' attempts to trade him: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Is it possible, perhaps, just maybe, that the Bucs need Revis more than the Jets need to get rid of him?

I'd argue that this is absolutely the case.

The pendulum has swung. April's draft cannot come and go without Tampa trading for Revis -- not if the Bucs want to win in 2013, not if the brass wants to stay employed.

Without question, the Jets want to trade Revis. He's done in Florham Park, as he should be. Back in January, Albert Breer reported that New York was considering the trade option, with owner Woody Johnson talking to candidates for the Jets' general manager job about how to handle Revis. Likely still angry about Revis' prior holdout, Johnson has rightly had enough of the star defender, who is seemingly never happy with the Jets, more interested in paper green than "Gang Green."

Revis -- who is coming off of a torn anterior cruciate ligament -- wants $15 million per season. That's crazy talk. Bill Parcells said as much. Phil Simms said the same on SiriusXM, citing the way the current rules favor the quarterback and the offense.

If Revis shows up to the Jets' offseason program, he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, able to sign anywhere -- including with the New York Giants or New England Patriots. And the Jets will get nothing back.

Now, since the free world knows Johnson wants to trade the best cornerback in the NFL, some might assume that the Jets and new general manager John Idzik have no leverage.

That's just not true.

It's been an open secret that Tampa Bay craves Revis. Bucs coach Greg Schiano has loved Revis since his Rutgers teams were facing off against the Pittsburgh product. And while Schiano is entrenched, it's fair to say that Tampa Bay general manger Mark Dominik is "general managing," if you will, for his job. I like Dominik a lot and think he's performed solidly, but he needs to upgrade the talent.

Tampa Bay's pass defense was an embarrassment last season; the Bucs can't afford not to fix it. Consider the rest of the NFC South. Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones lead the Atlanta Falcons' aerial attack. Sean Payton is coming back to coach Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Cam Newton and Steve Smith are electrifying for the Carolina Panthers.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Bucs are willing to give up the 13th overall pick, but the Jets want even more. And this is easy to understand. They need the picks. After all, New York only needs help and starters at quarterback, running back, receiver, offensive line, tight end and linebacker, and in the defensive backfield. Other than that, the Jets are in excellent shape.

What is Tampa Bay going to do: Not trade for Revis? Are the Bucs going to play defense with 10 guys on the field? Are they going to tell their fans that they're comfortable finishing in last place?

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The Bucs need starting corners. Ronde Barber -- who isn't signed, by the way -- is long in the tooth; also, the future Hall of Famer is more of a safety at this stage of his career. Aqib Talib is a Patriot. Eric Wright is the best corner they have -- and that's not good. Tampa Bay shopped him this offseason.

There were several solid corners available on the open market, but Dominik rightly eschewed the field, choosing instead to wait for the Jets star, who is simply the best in the business. He cuts off half of the field. He lets you blitz. Now all the Bucs have to do is add him.

Revis is the kind of player Greg Schiano dreams of at night, as Dominik knows. He's also a marquee attraction who can help sell season tickets in Tampa to both frustrated Bucs fans and transplanted New Yorkers living in the Tampa area. After letting sack artist Michael Bennett join the Seattle Seahawks, the Bucs have the cap space and money to pay Revis top dollar.

What are they going to do: Draft a cornerback with the 13th overall pick? Dee Milliner is going to be long gone by the time the Bucs are up. And while I live for the NFL draft, we all know the crapshoot factor involved.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the Bucs are getting frustrated with the Jets. Meanwhile, per our good friend Rich Cimini at ESPN.com, the Jets are insisting that Revis must show up for voluntary workouts in order to receive a $3 million bonus.

I love it. I love the reports. I love the leaks. I love the drama.

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It actually looks like Idzik is adept at playing poker and won't blink. He has the best hand. He has the player the Bucs covet. Dominik knows it.

And while this would be a great deal for the Jets, it would be a major -- not a minor -- victory for Tampa Bay.

A healthy Revis should significantly up the win total for the Bucs. I like Schiano as their head coach. Dominik had a great draft last year, highlighted by the selections of running back Doug Martin, underrated linebacker Lavonte David and safety Mark Barron. Veteran receiver Vincent Jackson is a beast. Offensive lineman Carl Nicks is coming back. Even with the erratic Josh Freeman at quarterback, the Bucs can absolutely compete for the playoffs if they trade for Revis.

Failing to land Revis could equal last place for the Bucs -- and a job hunt for Dominik.

You tell me how this is going to play out.

Perhaps, just maybe, the Jets know this.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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