On April 21 the New York Jets accepted a trade offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets will receive Tampa Bay’s first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft, along with a conditional pick in the fourth-round of the 2014 Draft, which could be upgraded to a third-round pick if Revis is on Tampa Bay’s roster on the third day of the 2014 league year.
Revis, 27, signed a new contract soon after his arrival in Florida which saw him become the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history; he is now set to earn $96 million over six years. The addition of Revis, who is arguably the best cornerback in the league, along with the recent acquisition of safety Dashon Goldson, should bolster the Buccaneers’ secondary and substantially improve a unit that was ranked last in pass defense in the 2012 regular season. However, that is assuming Revis gets back to his pre-injury form.
Revis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in week three of the 2012 season against the Miami Dolphins, resulting in him being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Jets general manager John Idzik cited one of the reasons for the trade being the “degree of uncertainty” regarding Revis’ recovery from injury.
Revis recently uploaded a video of him running on a treadmill, however there is still uncertainty as to whether or not he will be fit to play again in week one when the Buccaneers travel up to the MetLife stadium to play against Revis’ old team, the Jets.
In week sixteen of the 2011 regular season, Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Peterson managed to return to action in 2012 from what some saw initially as a potentially career ruining injury; some even thought it may be the end for AP. Peterson returned to rush for a career high 2,097 yards, which was also the highest individual rushing yards total in the NFL last season.
I’m not saying Revis will return from his injury and have a career year, but his injury does not mean he will never return to “shutdown corner” status. If Revis returns to anything like the form he displayed in New York, this trade will have definitely been worth it for the Buccaneers, especially in a division with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, not to mention some of the receiving threats in the NFC South.
So, what ramifications will the Revis trade have on the Jets’ draft? The Jets now have two picks in the top half of the first round, at ninth and thirteenth overall. Before the Revis trade, I felt the Jets needed pass-rush help, along with a need at quarterback; now, the Jets also need a corner. If Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama) is still around at nine overall – I think Cleveland may take him with the sixth pick – I would expect the Jets to pull the trigger. If Milliner is off the board, I think the Jets will look to draft a linebacker at nine and come back for Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State) at thirteenth overall.
With the ninth pick, I expect the Jets to take either Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia) or Barkevious Mingo (DE/OLB, LSU). The Jets would improve their secondary with the selection of a top corner, and the addition of a pass-rushing linebacker would also help their secondary. Like many quarterback needy teams, I don’t feel the Jets will look to address the quarterback position until the second round of the draft with the thirty-ninth overall pick; EJ Manuel (QB, Florida State) or Matt Barkley (QB, USC) may still be on the board at this time.
Ultimately, this trade could work out well for both teams. If New York drafts well with the picks they received from Tampa, they could find Revis’ replacement and upgrade their pass-rush on Thursday night alone. If Revis recovers well from his injury, he could return to his dominant self and help Tampa Bay immensely. If Revis does recover to this extent, a first and third/fourth-round pick is an absolute steal for Tampa.
However, this is the NFL; if it doesn’t work out, this trade could also be seen as a major turning point for both franchises and both general managers in a negative way.
This article was written by Rhys Norman