The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be looking to trade the best player on their roster, and it may not take too much to get him off their hands.
The Buccaneers are "stepping up efforts" to trade All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, and that they hope to get a deal done soon:
Again, @TBBuccaneers really trying hard to trade Darrelle Revis. Hoping to strike a deal pretty quickly. Not sure of suitors yet— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 11, 2014
Perhaps the Buccaneers are just widening the scope of their search for trade partners, but language like "stepping up efforts" and "really trying hard" gives off the impression that their initial attempts to trade Revis have been unsuccessful. As the asking price comes down, the chances that the Patriots make an inquiry would go up.
Colleague Ben Volin did a fantastic job of breaking down a way that the Patriots could make it work financially. Revis is set up with a pay-as-you-go $16 million per year contract, and the Patriots would probably like to pay him less than that (as would any team that trades for him).
It sounds like Revis would be amenable to a reworked deal, according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune:
The Bucs are actively trying to trade CB Darrelle Revis, while also trying to rework his contract, league sources tells the Tampa Tribune— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) March 11, 2014
And, if all else fails, ESPN's Adam Schefter says the Buccaneers will be left with only one choice:
Short of a trade in the next two days, the Buccaneers are expected to release CB Darrelle Revis by 4 p.m. Wednesday, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
There has been constant buzz about a potential Revis trade ever since Lovie Smith took over as Buccaneers head coach. Smith uses a Tampa 2 defense that relies on its cornerbacks to play zone coverage; Revis is known as a top-notch man cover cornerback.
The Patriots are familiar with Revis from his time with the New York Jets. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would often throw to the other side of the field, but Revis still managed to intercept two passes in 10 career games against the Patriots. In the past three meetings between the two, Brady has completed six of the 11 passes in Revis' direction for 89 yards.
If the Patriots were to lose free agent cornerback Aqib Talib, they could make an even harder push for Revis' services. Revis is a fit for the man-based coverage scheme the Patriots have built lately. He's not a fit, however, for their salary cap. The Patriots currently have just $14,467,504 in cap space, and that's before taking care of key free agents like Talib and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
As Volin notes, the Patriots would have to get him at a different pay rate. The Buccaneers, however, must make a decision soon. They owe Revis $1.5 million on Wednesday, March 12 as a roster bonus.
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