- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Good morning, New York Jets fans. One year ago, your favorite team traded its best player.
Yes, April 21 is the first anniversary of the Darrelle Revis trade, a highly controversial move in which John Idzik -- in his first significant decision as the general manager -- sent the then-injured cornerback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because owner Woody Johnson refused to meet the player's asking price on a new contract, $16 million per year.
After months of speculation, fans awoke on a Sunday morning to the news that Revis was en route to Tampa to take a physical. Within a couple of hours, it was a done deal, one that will be debated for years. One year later, our take on the winners and losers from the trade:
Winner -- The Jets. Philosophically, it was the right move because no cornerback is worth $16 million a year, but the right move doesn't always work out. In this case, it did. They used the 2013 draft-pick compensation (13th overall) to select defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. They also landed a fourth-round choice in the upcoming draft. To grade the trade mainly on Richardson's performance, however, isn't fair. If the Jets had kept Revis, they wouldn't have needed a cornerback, so they probably would've picked Richardson with their own choice (ninth overall) instead of Dee Milliner. So, when evaluating the trade, Milliner has to be included -- and he was shaky as a rookie.
Loser -- The Bucs. You can bet they're not celebrating the anniversary in Tampa. It was an ill-advised trade when they made it, and it turned into an all-time bust. The Bucs, under new leadership, decided to cut Revis after only one season. After all the hype, he was just a one-year rental. In the end, the trade cost them a mid-first-round pick and $16 million, and the result was a 4-12 record and pink slips for coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik.
Wealthy loser -- Revis. Financially, he made out nicely, making $10 million more from the Bucs than he would've received from the Jets in 2013 -- not a bad raise for a guy coming off ACL surgery. His unexpected trip to free agency allowed him to make another score, landing $12 million from the New England Patriots. Despite a two-year, $29 million haul (including a $1 million roster bonus from the Jets before the trade), Revis has become a hired gun, a well-to-do journeyman who probably will spend the rest of his career going year to year and team to team. It's too bad because he could've gone down as one of the best and most beloved players in Jets history.
Winners -- The quarterbacks and pass-catchers who faced the Jets. Even though the Jets will benefit from the trade over the long haul, they suffered in the short term, missing Revis' presence in the secondary. The Jets allowed a staggering 3,947 passing yards, a 900-yard increase from the previous year and the most allowed by the franchise since 1986. It was a stain on Rex Ryan's sterling record as a defensive mastermind.
Loser -- Antonio Cromartie. Without Revis, Cromartie became the No. 1 cornerback and was often responsible for covering the opponents' top wideout. He was torched on a fairly regular basis, contributing to his release at the end of the season. He had to settle for a one-year, $3.5 million contract from the Arizona Cardinals.