In case you haven’t heard, the New York Jets shipped cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—meaning one of the NFL’s best overall talents now resides in the NFC South.
But how does this impact the New Orleans Saints?
Outside of the obvious — the Saints will have to deal with him twice a year (we’ll get to that) — there are other implications that the Revis signing could have, both short and long-term.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter has all the official details of the trade:
Trade official: Darrelle Revis passed physical. Bucs send 1st in 2013 and conditional 4th in 2014 that could be 3rd to Jets. More on ESPNews
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2013
Let’s look at a few ways this impacts the Saints.
The Injury Factor
Just how healthy is Darrelle Revis? Well, he was healthy enough to pass a physical with Tampa Bay in order to be shipped there in the first place, not to mention signing a new contract that will pay him $16 million a year (although none of it is guaranteed).
Early last season Revis tore his ACL. While knee injuries no longer represent the threat they used to (just ask Adrian Peterson how he did last season) it could be a serious issue still thanks to the nature of his position.
Revis has to make stops and cuts at full speed at the drop of the hat to adequately cover wide receivers. It’s possible that he could have a high chance of re-injuring himself. That, or he simply may have lost a step and won’t be back to his former self.
It’s a major, costly gamble the Buccaneers were willing to take, so one has to think Revis looks good for now. How his knee holds up with play a major factor in how it impacts the Saints moving forward.
On the Field
Say Revis is 100 percent healthy. The Saints are going to have to find a way to work around him on each and every snap. After all, Revis was the NFL’s best cornerback during his healthy years pre-injury.
This means you can all but eliminate a team’s No. 1 receiver when playing the Jets. In this case for the Saints, that would be Marques Colston.
The good news for the Saints is, Revis is likely going to have to split his time between a guy like Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham. New Orleans’ high-flying offense orchestrated by Drew Brees actually matches up well against a team having Revis because there are so many players who can contribute on the Saints offense. Revis is covering Colston? Fine, get the ball to Lance Moore, Graham or a back like Darren Sproles out of the backfield.
As a whole, the Buccaneers unit is intimidating. Revis joins an elite safety combo in Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. It gives Tampa Bay an elite secondary if Revis is back to his old form. If that’s truly the case, Brees and Co. better get very familiar with the rival Buccaneers as soon as possible.
What isn’t being mentioned enough in all of this is the cost it took to bring Revis to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers sacrificed the No. 13 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft to get Revis. If Revis can never reach the level of play he was at pre-injury, this is a trade that could set back the team for years.
Tampa Bay could have found an elite prospect with that pick. The idea behind the trade is you get a player who is the best in the NFL at his position instead. That’s asking a lot for a guy coming off an ACL team.
Think about the financial impact for a moment at well. If Revis plays well, he makes $16 million a year. That’s a HUGE investment in a non-quarterback position. If he makes that much thanks to his performance, it seriously hampers the Buccaneers’ cap situation.
That’s the gamble the Buccaneers were willing to take in order to pursue a Super Bowl.
The Chris Ivory Trade
Revis’ former team, the New York Jets, now have two first-round picks to work with to help with the organization’s current rebuilding process.
This means the Saints may be able to get more from New York in exchange for running back Chris Ivory.
New York has a well-documented interest in Ivory, and sounds like it is willing to give up a fifth-round pick in exchange for the No. 4 player on the Saints’ depth chart at the position.
It’s a good trade, but the Saints may have more leverage now to demand a higher pick after the Revis trade.
There’s an outside chance the Jets use one of the two first-round picks to trade down and accumulate even more picks to help with the rebuilding process. If this happens, watch for the Saints to potentially land higher than a fifth-rounder in return for Ivory.