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We would like to start the bidding at Fort Knox.

We would like to start the bidding at Fort Knox.

This trade was a Win-Win-Win for all three sides. The Buccaneers received the best cornerback in the NFL when healthy, the perfect elixir for a team that ranked 1st against the run and 32nd against the pass in 2012. I’m a big fan of Josh Freeman, who should continue to improve as he matures. The Bucs were the 3rd youngest team in the NFL last year, making them a team on the rise. Adding Revis and Dashon Goldson to the secondary makes Tampa Bay an immediate playoff contender and a darkhorse Super Bowl contender.

Meanwhile, this is a big win for Revis, who received an incredible $96 million dollar contract and no longer has to worry about playing this season on a three million dollar base contract. Instead, he has a $13M base for each of the next six seasons, as well as a $1.5M workout bonus and $1.5M roster bonus in each season. By making $16M per season, he’s making just a hair below what Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are making, and he’s trumped the averages per year going to Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson. He’s making not just quarterback money, but elite quarterback money. The trade-off for that insanely high annual figure is that he has little protection. Technically, he has no guaranteed money, but absent a season-ending injury — and maybe not even that — he’s going to make at least $32M over the next two years. And unless he falls apart, he’ll pocket $48M from 2013 to 2015, an incredible three-year haul. It’s also a few million dollars more than what DeMarcus Ware, Terrell Suggs, and Clay Matthews received on their monster deals. Unless Tampa Bay cuts Revis after two years — in which case they would have paid $32M and lost a first round draft pick and obviously received very little — a deal with no guaranteed money isn’t particularly risky for Revis. In reality, zero guaranteed dollars is a red herring, and Revis will receive $40+M over the next three years even if Tampa Bay cuts him after year two or $48M if he stays on the team.

Why is it a win for the Jets? I’ll get to that in a second, but first:

Comparison to the Percy Harvin Trade

Some in the media reported that the Vikings got more for Harvin than the Jets got for Darrelle Revis, which makes no sense. Technically, the Vikings received a 2013 1st, 2013 7th, and 2014 3rd round pick while the Jets gained “only” a 2013 1st and a 2014 conditional third. But the Jets received the 13th pick in the draft, a much more valuable selection than the 25th pick Minnesota gained from Seattle. And the condition is that Revis needs to simply be on the Bucs roster on the third day of the 2014 league year, which is almost assured (and if he’s not, the Jets still get a 4th rounder). So unless you think the Seahawks are going to be worse than the Bucs next year, this conditional 3rd is probably more valuable than the 3rd rounder Minnesota received.

If you put the draft picks into the outdated Jimmy Johnson draft chart, the Vikings received only about 65% of the value for Harvin as the Jets received for Revis.1 If you place all the draft picks into the Football Perspective Draft Pick Value Calculator, Minnesota still only received about 82% of the draft capital sent to the Jets. Take a look:

Revis TradeJJ ValueFP ValueHarvin TradeJJ ValueFP Value
2013 1st Round (#13)115018.32013 1st round (#25)72014.1
2013 7th round (#214)5.80.4
2014 Third (#84)1756.52014 Third (#90)1405.9

I love Darrelle Revis as a player and enjoyed rooting for him, but it would have been foolish for the Jets to pay him that much money over the next three years. The Jets are rebuilding: having Revis on the team would have provided little marginal benefit, and would have just turned them into the Aeneas Williams Cardinals. The Jets couldn’t let Revis walk, so the only options were trading him or signing him to a $96 million dollar deal. I think this was the preferable option.

Take a look at the Jets depth chart entering the 2013 season. I’ve crossed out those players who will be cut after the season or are replacement-level players:

The Jets on offense have four players that other teams would consider valuable: Hill (and that’s a cross fingers pick), Kerley, Mangold, and Ferguson. On defense, it’s Wilkerson and Coples, praying that Harris can return to form, and hoping that Cromartie can maintain his elite level of play. The secondary outside of Cromartie is now a wreck (Wilson has been a bust), but the team has so many holes that keeping Revis wasn’t going to be worthwhile for either the team or the player.

With the 9th and 13th picks in the draft, the Jets can start the rebuilding process. The future of the team is now in the hands of new general manager John Idzik. For the Jets, having an extra $16M in salary cap space and the 13th pick in the draft (and next year’s third) is more valuable than any one cornerback, no matter how good he is.

  1. Note: I am giving the Jets the 84th pick in the 2014 draft, which seems like as good a guess as any right now. For the Vikings, I’m giving them the 90th pick, which reflects the idea that Seattle will end up receiving a worse draft pick than Tampa Bay next season. []
  • Simon

    If they are going to rebuild then just rebuild. Trade Cro, trade mangold, trade brick. Trade anyone over the age of 26 that has any value and tank this year.

    • Chase Stuart

      There’s something to be said for that, although you still need to field a team. The issue with Revis is that his contract was up, while Mangold and Ferguson are under contract for awhile. I certainly wouldn’t argue if the team thought they could trade Ferguson/Cromartie/Mangold, but the cap hits would be enormous making it impractical.

  • George

    One thing that scares me about this, and it would be a possibility with him projected to go between 10 and 20, the Jets can draft sensibly at 9, and take Tavon Austin as a replacement for Holmes at 13 (as it would be too tempting for the franchise to say no if he is still available – I think that it is a reach that he goes top 10). My gut reaction with what the Jets have at the moment would be that it would be the wrong thing to do for everyone and I hate to say it but I’d see him being wasted (in the same way you could argue it was wrong of them to take Tebow given what they had in mind).

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