Darrelle Revis Trade: Did The Buccaneers Pull Off the Greatest Trade in History?

Oct 23, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) returns an interception during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

In 1989, what is largely regarded as the greatest trade ever made was pulled off by the Dallas Cowboys. Next to the trade that landed the New York Yankees with Babe Ruth, no trade has had as epic an impact as the Cowboys acquiring draft picks that turned into, among others, Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson and eventually a football dynasty.

It’s been years since any such trade has been pulled off, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping that the deal they made on Sunday afternoon pans out in similar fashion. It seems like a stretch to compare the Darrelle Revis trade to the 1989 blockbuster that landed the Cowboys a 90s dynasty, but the trade is perhaps the most brilliant trade pulled off in recent memory in the NFL.

In order to fully appreciate the brilliance of Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, you have to look at two things: how the trade could have turned out and how it eventually did.

October 17, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) intercepts a pass intended for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall (not pictured) and returns it for a touchdown during the first half at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When this started, the Jets wanted two first-rounders and possibly more picks. It was this news that sent Buccaneers fans into a tizzy, as that’s more than overpaying for a guy who’s not only going to be a free agent next season but is coming off of ACL surgery. There are serious question marks surrounding Revis, whether or not he’s reportedly ahead of schedule or not.

But Dominik held his own and didn’t cave to the demands of a crazy person, in this case John Idzik. Rather than give up two first-rounders and then have to pay Revis a huge contract, Dominik talked the deal down to a useless first-round pick for the Bucs in 2013 and a conditional 2014 4th rounder with maximum value of a third rounder.

You give me your Subway sandwich and I’ll trade you the lunch money that’s going to sit in my account while I go on vacation next week. That’s essentially the deal Dominik made with the Jets and it’s beyond brilliant.

Think about what the Bucs would have done had they remained at 13th overall in this year’s draft — nothing. There isn’t a cornerback worth taking there unless Dee Milliner falls (which he won’t), which means you’re stuck trading back or grabbing something you want but don’t need (like Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson). There was a misconceived notion that if Tavon Austin was on the board, the Bucs were going to draft him, so forget that idea right now.

Bottom line is, the Buccaneers had a high draft pick they didn’t covet, and traded it for a guy who is quite possibly the best cornerback in the NFL next to Richard Sherman. The Bucs basically drafted Darrelle Revis 13th overall.

Now the Bucs not only filled a need at cornerback with an elite titan, but they retain their 2nd and 3rd round picks, rounds many believe a lot of solid players will be available in. Many people mocked Jonathan Banks to the Bucs at 13th overall, now it looks like they can get him in round 2. Tampa Bay needs to draft defensive line help and that too is available deep in the second day.

But while a lot is being made about how brilliant Dominik is in terms of what he gave up to get Revis, the most brilliant aspect of the trade lies in what the Buccaneers will be paying Revis moving forward. Revis’ $96 million contract with the Buccaneers makes him the highest paid defensive back in the history of the NFL, but not a single cent of that deal is guarnteed.

This means, if Revis’ ACL slows his game up, or he completely unravels with the Bucs, Tampa Bay can restructure his deal at any time. Most guys get guaranteed money, which mucks up the process of restructure or ridding yourself of a player. Dominik not not only got Revis for picks he didn’t value, he signed the cornerback to perhaps the most front office friendly deal ever.

To recap:

  • Bucs gave up a first-round pick they could only use wrong
  • Mark Dominik somehow got Revis to agree to no guaranteed money
  • No one cares about 4th round picks
  • Everyone wins in this deal, especially Buccaneers fans needing a good reason to spend hard earned money on seats

It’s a ways away from being anything remotely close to the Cowboys trade back in 1989, but Mark Dominik isn’t messing around when he makes a deal, and he just made perhaps the best deal since that Cowboys trade on Sunday afternoon.

Topics: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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