New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is considering doing what Jets fans likely once thought was impossible: trading Darrelle Revis.
After a disastrous 2012 season, which included a major injury to Revis, the Jets decided to clean house in the front office, firing general manager Mike Tannenbaum, and replacing him with John Idzik -- though Jets head coach Rex Ryan is still on board.
Now rehabbing a torn ACL and ticketed for free agency following the 2013 season, Revis may not fit into New York's long-term plans, which undoubtedly will involve a rebuilding effort sooner rather than later. With the Jets already over their 2013 salary cap, trading Revis would not only free up cap space, but bring in assets in return (read: draft picks).
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Needless to say, most teams in the league should have varying degrees of interest in the All-Pro cornerback, but cap space could preclude many teams from joining the hunt.
First things first: it's unlikely the Jets would trade with a division rival. Yes, the New England Patriots have cap space, and yes, they need secondary help, but do you really think the Jets will hand over the best corner in the league to Bill Belichick? I didn't think so.
The Miami Dolphins have nearly $36 million of cap space headed into 2013 but, again, it doesn't seem likely that New York would trade Revis to a team they're in direct competition with.
Revis will make just $6 million dollars in 2013, and will be ticketed for free agency following the 2013 season (voidable years in his contract). Undoubtedly, if Revis proves he is healthy, he'll seek one of the richest defensive contracts in the NFL, if not NFL history.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported that the Jets would want "at least" a first-round pick for Revis.
So, who can afford Revis?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a cool $31.3 million dollars of cap space to operate with this offseason, and have eight picks in the 2013 NFL Draft -- including the No. 13 overall pick. Tampa Bay certainly needs plenty of help defensively, and is as logical a landing spot as any team in the league, based on needs alone.
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The Buccaneers boasted the top rush defense last year, limiting opponents to a meager 82.5 rushing yards per game. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay had the worst passing defense in the league, surrendering 297.4 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks.
In today's NFL, boasting the worst pass defense in the league simply isn't likely to make you a playoff team, let alone a Super Bowl contender, unless Tom Brady is your quarterback. The Buccaneers don't have Brady, need help in the secondary, have an abundance of cap space and draft pick, making Tampa Bay an obvious suitor for Revis.
The defending AFC champion Baltimore Ravens could be another potential landing spot for New York's all-world cornerback. The Ravens currently have $16 million in cap space, but will need to re-sign Joe Flacco -- or be forced to use the franchise tag, which could eat up most of Baltimore's cap space. Still, it's more likely that Flacco will receive a long-term deal, which would not necessarily chew up most of Baltimore's cap space.
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Baltimore's defense took a step back in 2012 and could take another step back in 2013. The Ravens will be without Ray Lewis, who, in case you haven't heard, is retiring after Super Bowl XLVII. Ed Reed is ticketed for free agency, and could very well end up on the Colts or Patriots in 2013. Ravens cornerback Cary Williams is also a free agent and could test the waters.
Baltimore doesn't have an abnormal amount of draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, and the team will be picking either in the 31st or 32nd spot each round, depending on the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII.
Revis would allow the Ravens to rebuild the defense with as close to a sure bet as it gets in the secondary and would certainly bolster Baltimore's chances of getting back to the Super Bowl next season.
The Denver Broncos' season ended in bitter disappointment, largely because of Denver's secondary. Champ Bailey was abused by Torrey Smith throughout the AFC Divisional round matchup that sent Denver home, and we all remember the Hail Mary that sent the game into overtime.
Luckily for Denver, the Broncos have roughly $18.5 million dollars of cap space to play with in 2013 -- which is more than enough to afford Revis for the 2013 season.
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Acquiring Revis would undoubtedly make the Broncos the favorites in the AFC in 2013, and likely the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver would boast a secondary with Bailey and Revis on each side of the field, along with a fierce pass rush. Denver's offense would be led by Peyton Manning, who, in case we forgot, is still pretty darn good at football.
Denver doesn't have an abundance of draft picks, however, and is locked in the No. 28 spot in each round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Denver could move future picks as well, of course.
With Denver's window closing as Manning ages, it seems logical that John Elway and Denver's brass could make a run at Revis.
For the second consecutive season, the Cincinnati Bengals were knocked out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round by the Houston Texans. Though it's encouraging for the Bengals to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons, the first-round losses illustrate that the Bengals still need to get over the hump to become a legitimate title contender.
Cincinnati's pass defense isn't bad, in fact, it's actually pretty good: Cincinnati ranked No. 7 in NFL, holding opposing quarterbacks to 212.5 yards per game through the air. Adding Revis to the secondary would give the Bengals the chance to make their defense elite, and that's seemingly what's necessary to make it to, and win, the Super Bowl.
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The Bengals have plenty of cap space to operate with this offseason, with a whopping $55.1 million to play with. Thanks to Carson Palmer, the Bengals have the Raiders' second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, in addition to Cincinnati's own second-rounder. The Bengals also received New England's sixth-round draft pick in exchange for Chad Ochocinco.
With the most cap space of any team in the NFL, and a couple of extra draft picks, the Bengals certainly could be a player for Revis. Adding Revis would certainly shift the balance of power in the AFC North, where the Steelers and Ravens both reside.
Cincy Jungle though squashes that idea. "Stop. Just stop."
How about Indy: Andrew Luck one year, then Darrelle Revis the next?
It's possible. Indianapolis surprised the football world when by making the playoffs in 2012, a year after finishing 2-14. Indianapolis' defense allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass for more than 236 yards per game -- good for No. 21 in the NFL.
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The Colts certainly have the cap space to pay Revis. Indianapolis has a cool $46 million to work with this offseason and, certainly, the Colts need help on the offensive line, but Revis could prove to be a franchise-altering acquisition -- and his presence could elevate the Colts to AFC South favorites once again.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, the Colts surrendered their second-round draft pick earlier this season, when they acquired Vontae Davis from the Miami Dolphins. If the Colts are going to acquire Revis, it would cost Indianapolis 2014 and 2015 draft picks -- and likely the club's 2013 first-round pick, as well.
With plenty of cap room, it's just a matter of whether the Colts are willing to move future picks for Revis.