We already knew next week would be a busy week around the NFL, but it could be particularly busy for the new regime running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Free agency is set to start at 4:00 on March 11. The Bucs with new coach Lovie Smith and new GM Jason Licht are expected to be very busy constructing the team they would like the Bucs to become.
Part of the restructuring of any franchise with a new coach and general manager is the accumulation of many draft picks and as much salary cap space as possible.
There has been recent news and rumors that suggested teams around the NFL were calling the Buccaneers to inquire about Darrelle Revis and his availability via trade. I wrote why I believe this is an opportunity the Bucs should seriously consider exploring.
A trade of Revis could bring the Bucs a return of high draft picks that could prove to be very valuable in this year’s draft, which has been deemed one of the most talented drafts in years.
Trading Revis would also bump the Buccaneers salary cap space from nearly $18.8 million (16th in the NFL) to nearly $34.8 (8th in the NFL). This cap space would give Lovie Smith and Jason Licht ample room to address numerous team needs including a need at corner once Revis is gone.
Assuming the Bucs could retrieve two early round draft picks, and combining that with the $16 million owed to Revis, the Bucs might be able to find themselves five new starters from this deal alone.
However, there’s a bit more to this.
If the Bucs were able to strike a deal with a team (Broncos, Patriots) before March 13, the Buccaneers would give up their 4th round pick in this year’s draft to complete the trade with the Jets from a year ago. That means, the Bucs would retain their 3rd round pick this year, which ends up being the 5th selection in round 3. Although this might not sound like much, the difference between an early 4th round pick and the 5th pick of round 3 could be the difference between a starter and a role player.
Last year’s 3rd round consisted the drafting of players like FS Tyrann Mathieu, OG Larry Warford, WR Keenan Allen, and TE Jordan Reed, who all went on to start and have excellent rookie seasons.
Teams can not start signing or trading players until the new NFL year begins on March 11th. That would give the Buccaneers about 48 hours to complete a trade of Revis. However, that does not exclude the Buccaneers from discussing this possibility with teams already.
I understand the argument against trading away your star players, but for a team with new people running it and with so many needs, Revis might be the Bucs best bargaining chip to bring a lot back to the Buccaneers in many different ways.
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Buccaneers.