The smell of money and allure of free agency was too good for Darrelle Revis to pass up as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they released the star cornerback Wednesday. The two sides could not agree on money–specifically Revis’ unwillingness to take a pay cut–and Tampa Bay decided to cut its losses entirely with no deal in place.
The news shocked many considering Tampa Bay gave the New York Jets draft picks to land Revis just to go ahead and let the guy go a season later. It’s a $16 million gamble that didn’t pay off and cost the front office group that signed off on the deal their jobs. But will the subtraction of Revis hurt the Bucs’ rebuild or lead a revival of it?
My money is on the latter. Sure, the Bucs have to contend with the likes of Drew Brees, Cam Newton and the pass-happy Atlanta Falcons. But Tampa Bay played all those teams close last season including a 16-14 thriller against the New Orleans Saints.
Losing Revis hurts but not as much as it would have if he stayed on for another season. Revis was clearly unhappy in Tampa and has always given the attitude that he would prefer a team closer to resembling a finished product than the rebuilding Bucs.
And that’s fine. Revis was brought in last season to make a splash and he did. He energized the fan base and looked healthy in games. Darrelle went above and beyond what many predicted just by playing in the games he did. Many wrote him off entirely saying he would never recover. Revis allowed five touchdowns last year for a defensive unit that was average at best in some fans eyes but absolutely atrocious in mine.
The additions of coveted cornerback Alterraun Verner will bolster the ‘average’ defense. Verner is coming off a Pro-Bowl season and now gets to play under head coach Lovie Smith. Verner also produced more interceptions and pass deflections than Revis. I’ll take that if I’m a Bucs fan.
Also, quarterback Josh McCown was recently signed and instantly becomes a clear-cut favorite to start over Mike Glennon. There’s no denying it, you can’t be a better team without Revis. But the Bucs have flexibility–and cap room–to rebuild this team under the vision of new management. That’s still better even if it’s addition by subtraction.