2013 NFL Draft: Jets' rebuild starts with Darrelle Revis trade
A bounty of picks is more valuable to the Jets' future.
Relocating Revis Island -- even with the health concerns in tow coming off of an ACL reconstruction -- isn't just first-year GM John Idzik's wicked plan to put his own stamp on a roster wracked by glorified capologist Mike Tannenbaum's run of ineptitude. Revis, just 27, is the player on Idzik's roster with the highest trade value.
The Jets are in a dire cap situation, they lack overall roster depth and are short on star power -- even with Revis. Deal Revis, you likely get at least two quality draft picks (top 75) or a pick and a veteran in return.
Idzik was on a personnel staff that drafted Ronde Barber in the third round. The 37-year-old Barber might be the exception as a starter 15 years later, but the cornerback position has historically produced good to great value in the second and third round. Idzik's most recent employer, Seattle, starts a CFL castoff -- Brandon Browner -- once released by the Broncos and a fifth-round project in Sherman.
Jason La Canfora connects the dots with a sensible deal to the Buccaneers and GM Mark Dominik, with whom Idzik worked side-by-side for several years in pro personnel. The Buccaneers were starting undrafted free agent Leonard Johnson after dealing former first-round pick Aqib Talib last season. Other than plucking one of the all-time bad Pick 6s off of Philip Rivers, Johnson didn't look like a No. 1 cornerback. They signed Eric Wright in free agency last summer, but Wright isn't an elite cover corner.
Would the Buccaneers or another team let go of a first-round pick and perhaps another -- fourth or fifth round -- to secure a motivated Revis?
The Jets are apparently determined to find out. There is sure to be rich interest in Revis. The other cleat that would have to drop for any GM considering acquiring Revis is working out a long-term extension. That's tricky, and potentially a sticky deal-breaker, considering his uncertain health.
Big-money deals for cornerbacks don't always pan out. Nnamdi Asomugha was the star of the free agent dog-and-pony show in 2011. He's likely to be cut by the Eagles, or take a significantly slashed salary by March 12. The very low baseline starting point for a Revis deal is Brandon Carr's five-year, $50.1 million deal with Dallas signed last March.
Barring a massive roster purge, that money isn't there for Idzik to spend now or next offseason. If traded, that structure -- something in the five-for-60 range -- might be appealing to Revis, who could then be back on the market at age 32. In 2011 at age 32, Champ Bailey signed a four-year, $43 million deal with the Broncos.
Still, there has never been a greater need to defend the pass and find a way to fight off the field on third down.
The Lions, Bears, Bills, Dolphins, Jaguars, Saints, Chargers, Raiders, Redskins, Giants, Eagles (if DRC and Asomugha are let go) and others are potential suitors.
If the Jets were willing to deal Revis within the division, Miami might be the most logical match. The Dolphins have nine picks -- an extra second-rounder from Indianapolis in the Vontae Davis deal and a spare third from the Bears in the Brandon Marshall trade -- and aren't likely to bring back Sean Smith.
Giving up Revis eventually alleviates an overstrained salary cap. It also signals a rebuild for a roster that looks like a mystery at several critical positions.
The Jets pick ninth overall, and could find Revis' replacement in Florida State's Xavier Rhodes. At 6-foot-1 1/2, he ran in the low 4.4s on Tuesday and has the press-cover skills Rex Ryan wants in a defensive back. Alabama junior Dee Milliner won't be available at No. 9.
Antonio Cromartie, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Jets in 2011, played at a Pro Bowl level when Revis went down last season. Would the Jets be able to slide enough pegs on the abacus to sneak in Asomugha on a similar deal if he's let go by the Eagles?
An avenue they would consider if not for concern over taking on a new contract headache: following the Redskins-Broncos blueprint of Bailey for Clinton Portis by engaging the Vikings in a possible Percy Harvin-for-Revis trade. The Jets are woefully lacking impact skill players.
Ultimately, resetting the roster and the salary cap with a rapid rebuild is Idzik's apparent preference.
Fetching another first-round pick in this draft could be used to address current or lingering future needs at quarterback, running back or outside linebacker. There will be cornerbacks in the second and third tier capable of becoming rookie contributors into the early third round. Roughly 15 cornerbacks are likely to be drafted in the top 75, and no position looked deeper at the combine.
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