Trade rumors have once again kicked up around Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, but none of them have come from the Bucs themselves, who have made no indication of wanting to trade Revis. This latest round of rumors comes from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, who says the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots have interest in acquiring the elite cornerback.
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In the unlikely event that the Bucs deal Revis, Florio thinks the Broncos and Patriots would move the hardest to get him, given that both teams are in win-now mode with aging quarterbacks. Denver could free up $10 million in cap space by cutting Champ Bailey, and the Patriots could let Aqib Talib walk in free agency. Neither of those scenarios seems likely to happen, even if the Bucs put Revis on the trading block just one year after acquiring him from the New York Jets for a high price and signing him to a six-year, $96 million deal.
Most of the idle speculation stems from the assumption that Revis, a man-to-man corner, wouldn't be a fit in Lovie Smith's Tampa 2 zone coverage. This assumption ignores Smith's willingness to be versatile in his scheme. During his final years with the Chicago Bears, he tweaked his scheme to allow more man coverage in the secondary, turning Charles Tillman into an elite press corner and getting a career year out of Tim Jennings in 2012. Smith has already vowed to build his defense around Revis' talents, saying he has "big plans" in his introductory press conference.
Revis bounced back from a torn ACL to have another great year in 2013, grading out as the No. 1 cornerback on Pro Football Focus. He did struggle a bit in Greg Schiano's zone coverage at the start of the season, but played more press coverage down the stretch. If Schiano of all people can adjust his scheme to fit Revis, we have no reason to believe that Smith, one of the finest defensive minds in the game, will do otherwise.
The trade whispers will probably continue throughout the offseason, mostly from other teams who badly want Revis to aid a potential Super Bowl run. But until we hear anything concrete from Tampa's camp, it's safe to assume that Revis will be in a Bucs jersey in the 2014 season.