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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs might be seeking trade for Darrelle Revis

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Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2014 at 07:03 AM

TAMPA — Less than a year after he came to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in one of the biggest trades in league history, five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis’s days with the team may be numbered.

With their attempts to restructure his $96 million contract going nowhere, the Bucs have been actively trying to trade Revis, a league source with knowledge of the team’s actions told The Tampa Tribune.

Revis’ 2014 salary of $16 million, which includes a $1.5 million roster bonus due on Friday, is proving to be the biggest obstacle facing the Bucs in their attempts to move Revis off their roster, the source said.

“No one has stepped up, most likely (because) of his $16 million salary,’’ the source wrote in a text message to the Tribune.

Revis’ agent, Neil Schwartz, could not be reached for comment on the potential trade or the negotiations with the team, which is believed to be seeking something better than a midround draft pick for Revis.

The terms of the deal with the New York Jets, who traded Revis to the Bucs for a first-round pick in 2014 and a conditional third-round selection this year, are also proving to be a hindrance in trade talks.

The Bucs will lose their 2013 third-round draft pick if they move Revis, but they will lose only a fourth-round pick if they keep him on the roster through the beginning of the league year.

The Bucs have vowed to continue attempting to restructure Revis’ contract until they can find a trade partner, the source said, but there is a chance Revis may be released before the week is out if a deal can’t be reached.

Revis missed all but the first two games of the 2012 season after suffering a left knee injury, but he bounced back last year, despite admittedly playing at less than 100 percent, to earn his fifth Pro Bowl berth.

He played in all 16 games for the Bucs, recording 43 tackles, 11 pass breakups, two interceptions and a sack for a team that was often forced to play the press-man specialist in zone coverage because of his knee.

Though Revis never complained about the way he was used and even endorsed the practice because he was still recovering from his knee injury, the Bucs were roundly criticized for their use of Revis.

Similar concerns have been posed since the arrival of new coach Lovie Smith, who has been known to use the zone-based Tampa 2 scheme that he learned from mentor Tony Dungy as his base defense.

Since arriving in Tampa in January, Smith has repeatedly fielded questions about his intentions for Revis, but he seemed to put any concerns about how he plans to use Revis to rest during the scouting combine last month.

“We’re primarily going to be a man team,’’ Smith said in response to a question about how he plans to incorporate Revis into his scheme. “Whether we win or lose is going to be based on how we play man coverage.

“But there are disguises, too. You may start from a pre-snap cover 2 shell, and then you move and do different things. But you have to have a starting point ... and that is going to be our signature coverage.’’

The Bucs are slated to have about $24 million in cap space available when the free-agency signing period begins Tuesday, so they can afford to carry Revis’ salary. Many, however, believe his price tag is too much for a corner, particularly in Smith’s scheme.

Former Indianapolis Colts president and general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said Monday that Smith’s scheme can be run effectively without cover corners as good as Revis.

Another reason the Bucs are seeking to move Revis is because of their lack of available draft picks for the 2014 draft, which is considered to be one of the deepest in terms of talent in years.

The Bucs have only five draft picks and general manager Jason Licht, who also tried to trade two-time Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph before he was released on Saturday, has vowed to attempt to improve that number.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7979

Twitter: @RcummingsTBO

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