A year after trading two draft picks -- including a first-round pick -- to acquire him, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to trade or release cornerback Darrelle Revis by Wednesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Revis' name has been floated in trade rumors this offseason and it appears there was some basis to them. The Bucs are reportedly shopping the All-Pro corner around the league, but are likely to release him if no deal is in place by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, according to Schefter. The reason for the Wednesday deadline relates to the draft-pick compensation Tampa Bay sent New York last offseason. In addition to a first-round pick, the Bucs also sent New York a conditional fourth-round pick. That pick becomes a third-round selection if Revis is on Tampa Bay's roster on March 13.
The decision to trade or release Revis is all about money. He proved to be fully recovered from a torn ACL, turning in another excellent season last year. His contract, however, is a bit of an albatross as he's owed $16 million in 2014. That is well above what any other cornerback will make next season. Revis could prove to be worth his salary in the right scheme, but that doesn't appear to be the case in Tampa Bay. New head coach Lovie Smith rarely puts his corners on a one-on-one island. Revis' value comes from his ability to shut down one side of the field. If he's not going to do that because of the defensive scheme, it would be hard to justify Tampa Bay paying him such a high salary.
Although they'll shop him, but Bucs are unlikely to find a trade partner. For one, whatever team acquires Revis would also acquire the remaining five years and $70 million on his contract. That team would also have to give up assets, knowing the Bucs are almost certain to release Revis without a deal. If teams wait, they can bid for Revis without giving up an asset and possibly get him on a more cap-friendly contract. Because his deal has no guaranteed money, the Bucs won't take a cap hit by cutting him and would clear $16 million in salary cap space.
The news from Schefter will likely alter the start of free agency on Tuesday, at least for cornerbacks. A number of talented corners are set to hit the open market, but teams may shy away from handing out rich contracts until the status of Revis is resolved. That could create a holding patter for Alterraun Verner, Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis and others.