The Buccaneers may have released cornerback Darrelle Revis Wednesday, but he remains one of the league's best players. Despite suffering an ACL injury midway through the 2012 season, Revis was the top cornerback a year ago, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
The problem, at least from the Bucs' perspective, is that Revis doesn't fit new coach Lovie Smith's Cover-2 scheme, and that, along with his $16 million salary, made him expendable.
Still, Revis will have plenty of suitors, including his previous employer, the New York Jets. The two sides have discussed the possibility of a reunion after a messy breakup last offseason, the New York Post's Manish Mehta reports.
Mehta adds: "It's unknown whether the communication between the parties will ultimately lead to a reconciliation, according to sources, but the Jets are in need of an established cornerback after releasing Antonio Cromartie earlier this week."
But the Jets will have competition for Revis' services, and that includes division rival New England.
The Patriots lost Aqib Talib to the Broncos on Tuesday, which means they're also in the market for a physical cornerback who excels in man coverage. In fact, one member of Revis' camp is convinced that Bill Belichick is the favorite to land the Pro Bowl player.
"It's going to happen," the person predicted to Mehta Wednesday.
Whether Revis actually returns to the AFC East is another matter. While he might love to play for Rex Ryan or Belichick, the bottom line is money. And if neither the Jets nor the Patriots are willing to pay Revis what he thinks he's worth, he'll hawk his wares elsewhere.
The Bucs tried to trade Revis before ultimately releasing him because he wasn't willing to take a pay cut.
"It came close a couple different times," new Tampa general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday about possible trade opportunities. "But at the end of day, teams didn't feel comfortable with it."
And, it turns out, neither did Revis, who is as patient as he is at shutting down receivers.