2:50pm: The Buccaneers have officially announced the release of Revis. In a statement, GM Jason Licht cited the team’s “specific ideas regarding the best way to build this defense” as motivation for the move.
2:31pm: The Buccaneers are cutting star cornerback Darrelle Revis, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Tampa Bay had tried to trade Revis this week, but seemingly couldn’t find a suitable offer. If the team had kept the veteran corner beyond 3:00pm central time today, he would have been owed a $1.5MM roster bonus, and the Bucs would have owed New York a third-round pick rather than a fourth-rounder.
After missing 2012 with a torn ACL, Revis once again ascended to the top of Pro Football Focus’ cornerback rankings. While Bucs coach Lovie Smith has stated that Revis and his fondness for playing man-to-man coverage could fit in Tampa’s Cover-2 defense, the cornerback’s contract, which included a $16MM annual cap hit, ultimately proved untenable for a Bucs team that decided to use that money to add several other players. Because none of Revis’ cap hit was tied to prorated bonuses, Tampa Bay clears the entire $16MM from its books.
While no team was willing to give up a draft pick to acquire Revis at his previous salary, plenty of clubs are expected to express interest now that he’s an unrestricted free agent. The Patriots, who lost Aqib Talib, are one suitor to watch. One member of Revis’ camp told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News this afternoon that he thinks the cornerback will eventually land with the Patriots (Twitter link). A return to the Jets has also been viewed as a possibility.