It’s hard to disagree on the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the big winners of the trade with Darrelle Revis, as the New York Jets folded in their demands, losing the best cornerback in the NFL and all they have to show for it is a first round pick in 2013, the 13th overall selection, and a conditional pick in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Bucs, become a true force to be reckoned with in the NFC South. After improving on an offense that was one of the best in the NFL last season, they sign Revis to a $96 million, six-year contract with none of the money being guaranteed. It’s hard to believe the Jets couldn’t get a deal like that worked out with Revis, but it seems that both sides, or at least one of them, didn’t want to keep the current situation going on badly enough.
So while the Jets pretty much said goodbye to their last valuable part from the past few seasons, the Bucs are on their way back up again. Greg Schiano might have his doubts about Josh Freeman ever becoming a great quarterback, but it’s clear that this offense, with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as the receivers and Doug Martin as a rising running back (1454 yards, 11 TDs last season) is one of the best in the league. Now, it seems they’re finally fixing a secondary that was the absolute worst in the NFL last season.
Adding Dashon Goldson was the first move the Bucs were proud about this off-season, and now Revis, hopefully coming back to practice as soon as possible, give them two formidable play-makers in the secondary that should turn things around from being a very easy team to throw against. The Buccaneers’ pass defense allowed an NFL-high 17 plays of 30 or more yards outside the painted numbers, 15 of which were thrown to wide receivers, second worst in the NFL.
At the end, Revis might be a flop and hindered too much from tearing his ACL, but the Bucs haven’t risked too much. A first round pick is costly, but the potential reward is much greater – a franchise cornerback who can be released at any time, which means he isn’t likely to see the full extent of that $96 million deal, if it doesn’t work out. For the first time in a very long time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem like a relevant team to mention not just regarding the NFC South and their chances in the playoff, but also when it comes to possibly going all the way, if things do click perfectly right from the start.