It's the NFL offseason, so there are going to rumors regarding Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis. Those rumors can include, but are not limited to potential trades, contract disputes and highly publicized arguments about whether or not he's the best cornerback in the NFL. Right now, the first one is making the rounds.
Revis is due a sizable chunk of money next season and for multiple seasons after that. There's lots of talk right now about a potential trade, though to this point, potentially interested teams have been evasive. That didn't stop a report from surfacing Saturday that both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots have expressed interest in acquiring the veteran cornerback.
The report, from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, reasons that both the Broncos and Patriots would be pushing the hardest to acquire Revis, thanks to some cap space and the fact that the teams are in win-now mode with effective but aging quarterbacks. The biggest reason these trade talks have surfaced: Lovie Smith.
Smith took over as head coach this offseason, but many feel that Revis isn't a good fit for his Tampa 2 zone coverage scheme. Obviously, Revis is good enough to play in any defense in the NFL, but his primary asset is his ability to stick to one receiver and completely remove him from the football game. Smith's defenses typically rely on strength up front and a solid group of linebackers to keep plays in front of them.
As noted over at Bucs Nation, it seems a little more unlikely that Revis will be dealt thanks to the increased salary cap:
However, yesterday's news of a massive increase to the salary cap not just this year, but the coming few years makes trading Revis a lot less attractive for the Buccaneers. Revis would be a terrific asset for Lovie Smith's defense, even if he's unlikely to design said defense around the star cornerback. The idea that he can't play under Smith is complete nonsense, and trading him would leave the Bucs with a hole at cornerback they'd need to fill. With the added cap space, the $16 million in cap relief from trading Revis would be less beneficial, too.
Either way, both the Patriots and Broncos would seem to make sense for a potential trade. The Broncos can free up $10 million in cap space by releasing Champ Bailey, who has a lot less to offer than Revis at this point. The Patriots have some space, and if they don't elect to re-sign Aqib Talib, there'd be room in the cap and on the roster for Revis.
Here's what else you might have missed from Saturday in the NFL:
The New Orleans Saints officially gave tight end Jimmy Graham the franchise tag on Saturday. The interesting move is the fact that he got the non-exclusive tag, meaning that other NFL teams can sign Graham if they're willing to give up two first-round draft picks. Of course, the Saints would have the opportunity to match the offer regardless. This is all a big deal given the fact that it's still unclear whether or not Graham will be tagged as a tight end or as a wide receiver, which has a difference of almost $4 million.
The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to extend Justin Houston, according to reports. Kansas City and Houston reportedly spoke at the combine and are now working on a long-term contract extension. Houston is under contract for 2014 so there's not a ton of urgency, but he's clearly out-performed the contract that was given to him as a third-round pick out of the 2011 NFL Draft. Houston will earn a base salary of $645,000 in 2014, so he definitely wants to get something done.
Over at Arrowhead Pride, Joel Thorman discusses what it might cost to retain Houston:
Now that we've begun to answer the question of when this could happen, I start to wonder how much it will cost. The franchise tag is usually a good jumping off point and the linebacker tag this year is $11.5 million. Next year that number will be higher. And the year after that, too. Tamba Hali signed a five-year, $57 million deal in 2011. Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley signed a six-year, $61 million deal in 2011. My guess is that Houston's looking at similar deals, over $10 million per year.
The Green Bay Packers are trying to get a deal done with cornerback Sam Shields, but it sounds like things aren't moving fast enough. It now appears that Shields will not have a new deal in time for the start of free agency, and that he will test the market, via ESPN's Adam Schefter. A return to Green Bay is not out of the question of course, but he could definitely find suitors elsewhere. Fortunately for the Packers, it's a strong market for cornerbacks this season, so they may be able to keep Shields on the cheap.
Nick Foles took the NFL by storm last season, but the Philadelphia Eagles might not be ready to commit to him fully. That's according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane, which suggests Foles will start in 2014, but that the Eagles won't commit to him long-term. Foles had a very solid year in 2013, but it was only part of one season and it makes sense that they'd want to see more before doubling down on him, as noted at Bleeding Green Nation.