The inevitable and the obvious finally happened Sunday, as the Jets traded Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's a stunning deal because it involves one of the top players in the NFL, albeit one coming off an ACL injury. But it's even more stunning because of how badly it appears the Bucs fleeced the Jets.
The Bucs gave up a 2013 first-round pick and a conditional 2014 fourth- or third-round pick for Revis, so they didn't get him for free. That first-round pick will be No. 13 in the 2013 NFL Draft and it's quite possible the Jets end up landing Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant with the pick and replacing Revis for a much cheaper cost.
The 2014 pick is a lock to be a third-round selection; the condition is that Revis is on the roster on the third day of the league year in 2014. Barring a major injury, that will happen.
We don't know how Revis will look in 2013 and beyond. He's coming off an ACL injury and, for as much as we pooh-pooh those these days, not everyone is Adrian Peterson. Not everyone is attempting to run backward against the fastest wide receivers in the NFL. But it's also worth pointing out that not everyone is Darrelle Revis.
He is a special player, the best cornerback in the NFL when healthy. And the Bucs acquired him for a first-round pick that will probably become a young corner (see above) or a young pass rusher (Barkevious Mingo, Jarvis Jones and Ezekiel Ansah are potential targets if they fall) barring the Jets trading down.
Originally reports indicated Tampa would give up third- and fifth-round picks this season in addition to the first to get Revis. In that sense they very much won this deal, because if Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano can find impact players in this draft the way they did last season, they'll field a very dangerous roster in 2013.
The Buccaneers' biggest weakness last year was their secondary. They coughed up late leads and couldn't defend anyone through the air. Revis -- again, provided he's healthy -- turns their secondary into a strength. Putting the game's best cornerback in Revis on the field along with Eric Wright, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron gives Tampa a chance to actually limit opposing passing offenses, something it couldn't do in 2012.
The Jets did just about everything they could in getting rid of Revis to extract value from the situation. Revis was going to leave barring a new deal (one that Woody Johnson didn't feel like paying, apparently) and he was going to leave for nothing. That's the kind of leverage that allowed the Buccaneers to pluck the game's best defensive back from New York for a relative pittance.
Revis must be healthy and he must be the dominant, shut-down corner he was before the injury to make this deal work. Tampa's docs have signed off on his health, so they have to believe that's going to happen. And if it does, Dominik and the Bucs will look like they pulled off an absolute steal this offseason.