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Darrelle Revis bets on himself with unique contract

The trade of Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is fascinating on so many levels.

The New York Jets gave up one of the best players in franchise history in his prime. The Buccaneers gave up a first-round draft pick and big money to a player coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The rebuilding of the Bucs' secondary is complete.

For NFL dorks like myself, the structure of Revis' contract may be the most compelling part of the deal. The NFL is the ultimate year-to-year league. Revis' deal is the ultimate year-to-year proposition. Nothing is guaranteed.

As's Jeff Darlington reported, Revis will make $16 million per season in Tampa Bay. It's pay as you go, and nothing is guaranteed. Revis obviously will be on the roster this year and make $16 million. The Bucs then will have an annual decision to make: Do they keep Revis for another $16 million or release him?

If Revis is on the roster in 2014, the conditional fourth-round pick that the Bucs sent to the Jets will upgrade to a third-round pick. The trade will have to be a disaster for the Bucs to cut Revis after only one year.

"It was also worth it for Revis to do this deal with no guaranteed money, since in his own head, he strategically believes he's getting nearly the same guaranteed money ($32 million over the first two years since the Bucs aren't likely to cut him) that the Jets gave him these last two seasons," Darlington wrote in a column for on Monday. "Is Revis betting on himself? Sure, maybe a little. It's possible he might not be the same this season, but the Bucs would still likely give him 2014 to figure it out since all sides could justify his need to take another season for a full recovery from his injury."

Darlington: An inevitable trade

Jets fans might get upset seeing Darrelle Revis on the Bucs, but Jeff Darlington says this was the right move for everyone. More ...

Revis is betting on himself, but it's a smart bet. It's hard to imagine the Buccaneers giving up on Revis after only one season. Giving up a first-round pick for Revis proves the Bucs are making a long-term commitment.

After two years, Revis will be a year-to-year proposition in Tampa Bay. That's life in the NFL for all players anyhow. Keep your level of performance up -- or you are going to get cut.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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