The rumor is out there. The cat is out of the bag. The J-E-T-S are thinking of getting rid of their top asset. Trading Darrelle Revis is not fan-friendly, or even locker-room-friendly, but it is front-office-friendly. Revis can hit the open market after next season according to how his 4 year, $46 million contract is worded (which he signed in 2010). The Jets cannot use the infamous franchise tag that so many teams use on their star players to keep them on the roster when a long-term deal cannot be reached.
The question now is who will get into this trading war? What team needs Revis the most? Who has the best package to offer? Let’s take a look at the possible front-runners: The Steelers, Lions, Broncos, Redskins, and the Buccaneers.
The Steelers haven’t had a true top-level cornerback since Rod Woodson. Ike Taylor is a good player, but he doesn’t always match up well and gets torched at times. The Steelers have been looking for that shutdown cornerback for years; Revis is their chance to get one. Neither of these have top flight cornerback traits. The Steelers have plenty of pass rushers and running backs they could possibly throw at the Jets to acquire Revis. If the Steelers can resign both Mendenhall and Dwyer, the Steelers have an abundance of talented running backs to use as trade bait. With Rashard Mendenhall being injured most of this season, other running backs had to step up. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer emerged in his absence. Dwyer rushed for 623 yards, averaging 4.0 yards a carry. Redman rush for 410 yards and averaged 3.7 yards per carry. The Steelers’ defense is full of talent and pass rushers, two things the Jets’ defense is lacking. Lawerence Timmons may be expendable. They also have Cameron Heyward, Jason Worilds, and Keenan Lewis to package. With no pressing needs other than cornerback to fill, the Steelers could part with their first or second round draft pick to entice the Jets even more.
Champ Bailey looked old and a step slow when facing the Ravens in the Divisional round. At 34, he is on the down swing of his career. Revis could solidify that secondary and be that piece that gets Peyton Manning his second Super Bowl ring. The Broncos as the Steelers could package pass rushers, running backs, and picks to the Jets. Bailey could also be included in any possible trade. Bailey isn’t Revis or even what he once was but he still is one of the better cornerbacks in the league. Kyle Wilson could benefit from the teachings of Bailey. Knowshon Moreno or Willis McGahee could be dealt. Moreno helped his odds of staying in Denver with a late season surge. His ability to be a threat out of the backfield also benefits the Broncos. What defensive pass rusher(s) would Denver be willing to get rid of to bring in Revis. The Jets are going to want some value in return. Wesley Woodward may be a possibility, or Joe Mays and Robert Ayers. The Jets may be even interested in the 6’7″ Brock Osweiler. No one really knows what they are going to do with Mark Sanchez and Osweiler does bring physical gifts and a year under the tutelage of Peyton Manning. Osweiler might be the piece that would sway the Jets in favor of the Broncos. Giving them a young quarterback to groom and making Sanchez even more expendable.
The Lions are an interesting franchise. They have repaired their image from an 0-16 season to make the playoffs last year and win 10 games, to fail so horribly this year and only win 4. Yes they had injuries, but doesn’t every team? They have a lethal front 4 and good linebackers. That secondary though… some high school quarterbacks cold have passed for 300 yards against that secondary. Louis Delmas was injured most of the season and he is the Lions’ best DB. The Lions’ trade bait for Revis could lie in a few different places. Titus Young has worn out his welcome in Detroit. If the jets go with Sanchez, Young would be an asset if he can regain his 2011 form and stop being a headcase. Jahvid Best is a dynamic Darren Sproles type player when healthy. Key term here is healthy. Since his concussion at Cal, he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Would the Jets take a swing at Best if he was packaged into the deal? Nick Fairley is a top young defensive tackle in the league. He too has injury problems but when healthy, he has shown flashes of brilliance. Rex Ryan would have to work with him, but could possibly get the most out of a healthy and motivated Fairley. Justin Durant, DeAndre Levy, and draft picks are also possibilities in a package deal for Revis.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed signs of brilliance this year. First year coach Greg Schiano led them to a 7-9 record, and gave the fans plenty of hope for the future. Doug Martin burst upon the scene and was a fantasy football sensation by racking up yards and touchdowns. His rookie campaign included rushing for 1454 yards, catching 49 passes for 472 yards and scoring a total of 12 touchdowns (11 rush, 1 rec.). His season may have made power running back LeGarrette Blount moveable. Rex loves a pounding running back, one that can dish and take punishment. Blount is that type of running back, a pile mover. Arrelious Benn hasn’t panned out and the addition of Vincent Jackson helps the Buccaneers move Benn if needed. The young Bucs’ defense reminds you of Sapp, Lynch, Barber, and Brooks and their rise. Mason Foster, LaVonte David, Leonard Johnson, Da’Quan Bowers and Micheal Bennett are all young defensive talent the Jets crave. Ronde Barber is near retirement and the Buccaneers need to replace him. Revis would help that front seven to be more aggressive and disruptive. The Buccaneers may have the best nucleus of talent to package together to get Revis.
Everything depends of how the Jets move forward with Sanchez. If they keep him then they need to surround him with offensive weapons. The Lions and Buccaneers offer the most in this category. The Steelers offer possibly the best proven talent on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, but are they willing to do something they haven’t done since Jerome Bettis in 1996: trade for a big name? If the Jets want to part ways with Sanchez and the Broncos make Osweiler available, they may have the advantage. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see. Who knows… maybe somehow Revis ends up in San Francisco, and he renames Alcatraz Island “Revis Island.”