This newsy item hit the webs Wednesday evening and immediately stoked up the football version of the hot stove league. According to Rich Cimini’s inside source, the Jets are exploring the possibility of trading CB Darrelle Revis. Specifically, it’s owner Woody Johnson who wants to trade Revis. The main motivation for the Jets here would be clearing cap space. They are very strapped right now and that will make it difficult for them to maneuver this offseason. Also, with their roster a mess, they could really use some draft picks. Revis would presumably net them some decent picks to move forward with in rebuilding their team.
So would Revis be a worthwhile trade target? We know how great he is as a cornerback. He is the best pure cover guy in the entire league. But let’s keep these two things in mind as well. 1) He is coming off major knee surgery. 2) His contract is up after 2013 and then he will be looking for major money. And his contract actually contains a clause that prevents his team from using the franchise tag on him. So you would have to sign him to a big-time extension with no chance of using the franchise tag. He could command as much as $16 million-per-year. That’s a lot even for an elite defensive player.
Keeping all that in mind, is this a trade the Vikes might be interested in exploring? I know what some people are thinking right off the bat. Percy Harvin straight up for Darrelle Revis. But I don’t know if the Jets would go for that. Percy has his own baggage as we know. Everyone around the league certainly knows about Percy’s blow-up with Leslie Frazier in the Seattle game, which had everything to do with Percy’s dislike of Christian Ponder as a quarterback. Would a team with its own QB woes really want to bring in a QB-ripping malcontent like Harvin? Yes he has great talent and the Jets are very thin at receiver. Plus getting Harvin would keep him away from Bill Belichick. But I’m not convinced. It seems like a bad fit for the Jets. They need a personality overhaul as well as a personnel one.
So if it’s not Harvin straight up for Revis, what about draft picks? Do the Vikings really want to give up any picks at this point, even for a player of Revis’ caliber? We know they still have multiple personnel issues. Obviously Revis takes care of one issue himself. He plugs a major hole in the secondary. In fact it could be argued that his presence alone would significantly upgrade the entire defense, reducing the need for other improvements. Revis’ one-on-one coverage skills are of course legendary. His being on the field to lock up the other team’s #1 receiver frees up everyone else on the defense to just go out and make plays. But here’s where we get into the whole issue of schematic fit. The Vikes mixed in some different looks last year under Alan Williams but they are still primarily a zone coverage team. It would simply be a waste of Revis’ talent to bring him aboard and play him as a Cover-2 corner. Why give up picks and money for a guy who is literally too much player for your system? Why not sign a lesser free agent who makes better sense in your scheme? And keep the draft picks and cap space for other things?
Wouldn’t make sense to get Revis and plug him into the old Tampa-2. If the Vikes did bring him in, it would require them to completely overhaul their scheme. Some might argue this wouldn’t be a bad idea. But then you have to look at the other players on your roster and decide if they also make sense in the new scheme which would presumably feature more man coverage, more blitzing and more one-deep safety looks. Getting Revis might actually create more personnel problems.
And then there’s the whole money thing. You have to pay Revis after 2013 and you have to pay him big. You certainly are not going to bring him in on a one-year rental. Maybe there is a team out there with big-time Super Bowl aspirations – Houston say, or maybe the Packers – who would look at Revis as a rental guy who would help them get over the top. But despite their playoff run in 2012, I don’t see the Vikings approaching things this way. I still think, in their minds, they’re about halfway through a rebuilding plan. They got ahead of themselves in 2012 but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to accelerate more. If they did acquire Revis it would be with the intention of locking him up long-term. And that to me is just not in the cards. Not the way they’ve been operating since Rick Spielman took over.
I’m sorry but I just don’t see this as a realistic possibility for the Vikings. You might look at Revis’ talent and drool, but there’s so much more to it than that. Maybe you think differently.