Last offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded away a first-round draft pick and a conditional pick to sign Darrelle Revis to a six-year, $96 million contract. At the time, it was seen as a victory for an organization that had a lot of pieces already in place but needed big help in the secondary. Fast forward to a year, with a new general manager and new head coach, and Revis is gone. Was it the wrong move to trade for Revis in the first place? Not necessarily. Was it the right move to part ways with him? Yes. Here’s why:
The Bucs were a much different team during the 2013 offseason. Josh Freeman was still the franchise quarterback and appeared well-positioned for the final year of his contract. Despite injuries, Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph were still considered two of the league’s best offensive guards. Then there was Doug Martin coming off a Pro Bowl rookie season and Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson had the offense firing on all cylinders.
On defense, Gerald McCoy had just finished his first full season healthy, and the front office and coaching staff believed a pass rush could still exist in the absence of defensive end Michael Bennett. Linebackers Mason Foster and Lavonte David showed promise growing into their roles, and all that appeared missing was a secondary after all of the blown fourth quarter leads.
So maybe trading for Revis made some sense, although it’s still hard to stomach the mere thought of paying one player an average of $16 million per season. But look at what $16 million got in return, after his release — a revamped pass rush with Michael Johnson (average $8.6 million per season), and a cornerback in Alterraun Verner (average $6.625 per season), two of the top players in this year’s group of free agents.
Or if you focus on the offensive side of the ball, for $16 million, it got four potential starters in quarterback Josh McCown, offensive tackle Anthony Collins, tight end Brandon Myers and offensive guard/center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Granted, parting ways with a player fans had such high hopes for is never easy. But keeping him around was no longer conducive to future growth of the organization, an organization that hasn’t changed its ideal destination — resurrecting a winning culture and returning to the playoffs — just the course in getting there.