Darrelle Revis a conundrum for Eagles

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
10:45
AM ET
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers release cornerback Darrelle Revis on Wednesday, as reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, that would profoundly change the free-agent market.

Schefter also identified the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots as possible destinations for the shutdown corner known as Revis Island.

[+] EnlargeDarelle Revis
AP Photo/Brian BlancoWould signing cornerback Darrelle Revis be exactly what the Eagles have been preaching against?
For the Eagles, this development creates two predicaments.

First and worst, there is the timing. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has a game plan going into free agency. Any quick-strike moves -- targeting a safety, especially -- could be derailed if Roseman is seriously interested in Revis. Committing a big slice of salary cap to Jairus Byrd (just as an example) would limit the team’s ability to meet Revis’ contract demands, which are going to be substantial even if he agrees to renegotiate.

By holding on to Revis for the first 24 hours of free agency while they try to trade him, the Bucs are seriously impeding the planning ability of interested teams.

Of course, the Eagles could trade for Revis. But that would mean giving up assets, presumably a draft choice or two, and then taking on the ridiculous contract the Bucs signed with Revis last year. That deal pays Revis $16 million a year, with all of it counting against the salary cap.

The second predicament is what we’ll call Nnamdi Reflux Syndrome. Roseman has been preaching against big free-agent splurges based on the Eagles’ disastrous 2011 spree. The centerpiece of that, of course, was cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Eagles paid Asomugha $25 million for two pathetic seasons, including $4 million to go away. That is significantly less money than Revis would earn -- even if the Eagles were able to renegotiate his current contract. Revis would also become the highest-paid Eagle by a wide margin, and that kind of locker-room resentment is something else Roseman has warned against.

So getting Revis would fly in the face of what Roseman has said on the subject of free agency for two years. He has also said, however, the Eagles are always willing to make exceptions for exceptional players. And that is the issue at hand with Revis.

Revis will be 29 when the season starts, 1 year younger than Asomugha was in 2011. Revis is still arguably the best cornerback in the game, although he spent 2013 playing his way back from an ACL injury. He is also a very different personality type from the laid-back Asomugha. Revis thrived playing in the New York market with the Jets.

Once upon a time, the Eagles signed a free-agent cornerback named Troy Vincent. That worked out pretty well. But then, Vincent was just 25 when the Eagles lured him from the Miami Dolphins.

Roseman and the Eagles see the 2011 debacle as an example of thinking they were one or two major moves from winning a Super Bowl. If they were to pursue Revis with that idea, it would be a mistake.

But if they see Revis as part of building a strong team for the next four years and can find a way to integrate his contract into that long-term plan, it could be a perfectly sound move.

It is certainly an interesting one to discuss.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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