Lovie Smith: Releasing Revis allowed Bucs to get “three real good players” for same price


When the Buccaneers released cornerback Darrelle Revis in March, they got out from under a contract slated to pay him as much as $16 million in 2014.

And as head coach Lovie Smith saw it, the call to part ways with Revis, while not a slam dunk, came down to Revis’ value relative to the budget space he would be taking, as the Bucs’ coach indicated to writer Scott Smith of the team’s website in a feature posted Tuesday.

“It was not an easy decision because Darrelle’s a great player. But he’s not the only great player in the league,” Lovie Smith said, according to Buccaneers.com. “We just felt like we needed, instead of having one great player we thought we could get three. Instead of having one real good player, we felt like we could get three real good players.”

While Smith didn’t name the players, the club was very active in free agency, with cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive end Michael Johnson, offensive tackle Anthony Collins and quarterback Josh McCown among the additions.

Soon enough, the games will start, and we’ll see how the Bucs’ logic on Revis holds up. If, for instance, Revis significantly outplays Verner — signed one day before Revis’ departure — the Bucs will find themselves open to criticism. After all, they had Darrelle Revis on the roster, and they moved on.

51 responses to “Lovie Smith: Releasing Revis allowed Bucs to get “three real good players” for same price

  1. .
    Lovie should be subject to the same rules as Schiano. If you start 0-4, let the calls for his firing begin.

  2. Lovie’s defensive scheme does not require shutdown CBs. What it absolutely requires is a stud 3-technique DT, a strong pass rushing DE, an extremely athletic MLB and at least one if not two really good safeties.

    Given that, it didn’t surprise me in the least that Revis was one of the first Bucs to ship out once Lovie took over.

  3. Now that he’s not a Buc, I couldn’t give a fig… I’ll take that back, I wish the Buc’s would stop letting players go to NE for NOTHING. What was that dude’s name that the Iggles picked up for the dream team that was supposed to be the best lock down corner and ain’t even in the league anymore? AsomughaWho?

  4. It’s amazing how many Top 5 players the Vikings have, yet they never seem to manage more than 5 wins a year. It’s a mystery.

  5. Revis had a non-guaranteed contract, thus making Lovie’s decision a no-brainer.

    Uhh pay Revis 20 million or get three players better than him for 18 million. tough.. tough…

  6. If I were to make a list of the best CBs in the league as of RIGHT NOW, and not who was the best in the past…it would look something like this:

    1. Patrick Peterson
    2. Richard Sherman
    3. Joe Haden
    4. Charles Tillman
    5. Darrell’s Revis

    *I’ll give a nod to guys like Brandon Flowers, Aqib Talib, and Antonio Cromartie. This is my evaluation of these guys on a singular level, excluding how their particular teams and defenses perform as a whole.

  7. Lovie Smith should add Sheldon Richardson and Jalen Saunders to that equation as well, since the Bucs gave away those first and fourth rounders to get Revis in the first place.

  8. If Revis was really the game changing CB he claims to be than he would still be playing for the Jets. I’ll bet he’s one and done with the Pats and Denver still cuts em up in the playoffs this season.

  9. DE Michael Bennett left Tampa. DE Michael Johnson came in this year. So, typo there, PFT.

    Anyways, Revis is clearly a truly great player, but Tampa’s roster is so thin at this point they need more players, not just great players. Would I love to still have Revis? Oh, lordy, yes. The question is, though, would I rather have Revis, or would I rather have Verner, Michael Johnson, AND LT Anthony Collins?

    Tampa had a desperate need to upgrade at LT from Donald Penn, and this team really needs something vaguely resembling a pass-rushing threat from somebody, and hopefully Johnson can provide that. Throw in the fact Verner is a great fit for what Lovie is going to do and, paradoxically, you have a team that got better by getting rid of a great player.

    If we still have Revis, LT and DE remain a train wreck. I’d rather downgrade at CB from “great” to “pretty good”, and then upgrade LT and DE both from “suck” to “hopefully at least decent”. It’s a fair trade-off, roster-wise.

  10. Lol at Charles Tillman being anywhere in the same stratosphere at Revis, and this is coming from a jets fan. And you can look at Cro all you want in terms of elite corners, but he was terrible this year and the book has always been on him that as soon as his athleticism goes, he doesn’t have the technique to make up for it .

  11. Good luck with that upgrading the LT thing. Lovie is the guy that allowed J’Marcus Webb to impersonate an NFL player for 3 years with the Bears. He can’t pick a good O-Lineman to save his soul.

  12. top 5 corners in the league:

    Keenan Lewis
    Corey White
    Patrick Robinson
    Champ Bailey
    Stanley Jean-Baptiste

    ….when in Rome.

  13. When the question is proposed of who are the best players at a particular position, I feel that too often will people incorporate how that specific player’s team as a whole performs. For instance: when conversing about who the best QBs in the NFL are, you’ll often hear that this guy or that guy is the best because his team won the most games, or were victorious in the Super Bowl. Surely you should consider those things to a slight degree, but TEAMS win games and TEAMS win superbowls, not any specific one player. In my eyes the best QB in the NFL isn’t simply the guy who won the Super Bowl, but a lot of other people seem to disagree with that notion.

    Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and I’d find it very difficult to call him the best QB that year solely because of the success his team as a whole had. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks beat Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, and in that particular game Wilson was clearly better than Manning…but in the grand scheme of things I don’t believe that many people would feel comfortable with calling Russell Wilson a better QB than Manning simply because Wilson’s team as a whole (offense, defense, and special teams) outperformed Manning’s team as a whole in 1 game.

  14. Lovie started hot in Chicago, too. Signed John Tait, Reuben Brown, Thomas Jones, traded for O-gun. Oh, and remember Johnathan Quinn? In three years, a Super Bowl appearance. After that? They let Rivera walk away, in spite of the huge role he played on that defense. There was a roller coaster of dysfunction and piss-poor talent evaluation on offense, cycling through coordinator after coordinator until people were literally declining to interview for the job.

    I’m glad he’s a coach again. He knows how to get a ship as dysfunctional as Tampa righted. But if he is there more than 4 years, I think we’ll be watching the same kind of offensive dysfunction as he had in Chicago, unless he’s learned a lot in his year off.

  15. 6ball is lost. Schiano didn’t start 0-4 and no one was calling for his demise then. Like Schinao, I will give Lovie 2 years at least with showing improvement along the way. However, it’s a win now league and Lovie is night and day with what he’s done in a short time. Also, get the fact straight 6ball. Schiano won his first game in the NFL and started 6-4. Then he never won another game until past the halfway point in this second season, even then only winning 4 of the last 6. And the last two losses were the worst of his two year run. I’ll give any coach a fair chance.

  16. The Bucs got 3 good players for Revis, true. But they got a whole lot more than 3 good players overall. The only concern they may have is depth in the O-line, for there is uncertainty at the Guard position. But that’s no definite hole. An fast paced offense like Chip Kelley’s with a Defense like the Bucs of old. It will be like having LeeRoy Selman and Warren Sapp up front again. Top it all with the coaching demeanor of Tony Dungy. You can count the Bucs back in the playoffs this year. Bank on it.

  17. “If, for instance, Revis significantly outplays Verner — signed one day before Revis’ departure — the Bucs will find themselves open to criticism.”

    I can’t speak for Bucs fans, but I don’t think I agree with that statement. Revis has always seemed like a me-first guy, and Jets fans didn’t miss him at all. He seemed bad for the locker room, not to mention a first time head coach, so I doubt that Bucs fans will miss him. It seems like Lovie is trying to build a locker room as much as he is trying to build a team.

  18. Out as coach: Schiano. In: Lovie Smith. Out as starters or altogether: Josh Freeman (QB), Mike Williams (WR), J. Zuttah (C), D. Joseph (T), D. Bowers (DE), L. Johnson (CB), L. Stocker (TE), T. Wright (TE), Underwood (WR). In: Josh McCow (QB), Mike Evans (WR), Evan D-S (C), A. Collins (T), Michael Johnson (DE), Clinton McDonald (DT), Austin S-F (TE), Clinton McDonald (TE), Mike Jenkins (CB), A. Verner (CB). Plus many more. And these are just a few of the upgrades. V. Jackson, Doug Martin (with great depth in James, Rainey, Simms), Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David….all still there. The roster is loaded. Now let’s see how they are coached, look for that chemistry. Scary D, probably Top 5. Offense can be top 10. Strong running game. Unknowns: McCown and O line. But all things look up, not down.

  19. Mrtullymars. Revis was a class act here in Tampa. Worked hard, led his team, played as well as cold be expected given the injury he was returning from. Hard for a CB to do that. He’d work in any defense, but his specialty is man coverage. Bucs will still do lots of man, but was a good call to get Verner, Jenkins, and others. It was a net upgrade, at no loss on the salary cap at all. Not one dime of dead money. I liked Revis, but it’s okay by me. He will do well New England. The fans will love him there.

  20. Free agency does nothing…no team has ever gotten a ring for winning free agency.

    You need to build through the draft to win.

  21. scrp2 says: Jul 15, 2014 4:57 PM

    Revis had a non-guaranteed contract, thus making Lovie’s decision a no-brainer.

    Uhh pay Revis 20 million or get three players better than him for 18 million. tough.. tough…

    Ummmmm, what THREE players at 6 mil each did they get that were BETTER than Revis? Exactly, NONE!

  22. @bucbust

    Wikipedia states the Bucs lost their first four games in 2013, but I’ve alerted them that you’ve said they’re wrong.

    Face facts, your team has been, and will continue to be nothing more than a glorified bye week for legitimate NFL teams.

    The only people lost are the few(like you) who actually think this team will be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

  23. djshnooks: Not entirely true. While the draft is the most important element of teambuilding, and no one has ever won a ring without being competent drafters, free agency has pushed a few teams over the top. Take New Orleans. I can guarantee you they wouldn’t have won the SB in 2009 without signing Drew Brees in free agency.

    Even Seattle has Marshawn Lynch, who was drafted by the Bills.

  24. Revis is really good, but he isn’t so good to completely change a defense into an ironclad defense. The Jets had just as good a defense without him last year, and the Bucs didn’t improve much with him either. That said, this will be Revis’s and the Pats best chance to win the Super Bowl in quite some time. Jets, Bucs, Pats, and Revis are all happy now. Best thing for everybody.

  25. @6ball. Try to pay attention. You said “Lovie should be subject to the same rules as Schiano. If you start 0-4, let the calls for his firing begin.” I provided facts that Schiano won his first game in 2012 and went 6-4, then lost 14 straight. That’s how he got fired, Einstein. You were saying it was fair to call for firing Lovie if he lost his first four games. Also, did I say Super Bowl for the Bucs? No. Though of course that’s always the goal. I don’t need Wikipedia…I was at every game. Trust me, I know the records. Dude, you go hang out with Johnny Football or something.

  26. jedibob5 is right. A few more players picked up in free agency that made an impact in 2013: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Percy Harvin (impact came in the Superbowl only), O’Brien Schofield. Seahawks picked up all those guys last year and they each played a roll in helping the team make it over the hump and bring home the trophy.

  27. Revis costs $16 mil a year. Verner, Collins, and Johnson all three cost that much…replaced a pro-bowl CB who likes man coverage with another pro-bowl CB who is used to zone. Added two guys up front to beef up the pass rush (Bucs only real D weakness) and you fix a lot of issues without losing much. No dead money at all. Now, Revis spent a lot of extra time, even while in re-hab, with young CBs L. Johnson and Jonthan Banks. That knowledge they’ll keep. He was respectful to all, did a weekly radio show, showed a lot of humbleness (even when Richard Sherman ran his mouth), and played hard…performed. Team mates and reporters thought he was great in the locker room, and always stopped to talk with fans. I didn’t see the issues NYJ fans have.

  28. Giving up a shut down corner was a hard thing to do but his cap hit was enormous . Love was smart releasing him the bucs have too many holes to fill . Should be a much improved team for a very competitive conference .

  29. Why are we interested in what Lovie has to say? He hasn’t won anything yet, and he has much to prove. Deliver the results that you are paid to deliver and then we will listen.

  30. Whatever Dood. I’m not a seahawk fan but you can’t sit there and tell me that Revis is better than Sherman. Now I’m not saying he won’t play better this year but right now, Sherman is the better cornerback Period. Joe Haden is garbage by the way. He would be considered overrated if he did not play for the factory of sadness.

  31. I think TB did the right thing cutting Revis , allowing them to pick up 3 solid players. None of the players individually are better than Revis, but as a group the 3 bring more value to the team than just Revis alone would bring.

    As for whos the top CBs in the NFL I would say 1) Peterson/ 2: Sherman / 3: Revis / 4: Talib / 5: Haden.

    I dont wanna get into the whole Peterson/Sherman debate. Between those 2 both are extremely talented & I think it boils down to what you like in a CB and personal preference.

    As for secondarys I also believe Seattle & Arizona have the 2 best in the NFL. Pro Football Focus ranked Arizona has having the 3rd best pass coverage in the NFL & Arizona still has everyone from last season but they also significantly upgraded their secondary .

    Arizona brought in 6″2 220 pound Antonio Cromartie who has elite speed n length for days. Both PFF & NFL dot com ranked him 8th out of the top 10CBs in the NFL. He excels in press man coverage , jamming receivers up off the line & is excellent in coverage. He struggled a bit last season but thats because he played with a badly sprained hip flexor from week 2 thru 14 which affected his ability to turn , open his hips n run with a WR. I commend him for playing through it, he didnt sit because he knew Rex had no viable option behind him and played for the bettermemt of the team where he could of just sat last year and got a big contract this year especially after ranking as one of the best #1CBs in the NFL in 2012.

    Cromartie is now 100% healthy and has looked stellar in camp. He is also going from being a #1 CB to now being a #2CB in AZ. Cromartie should absolutely dominate #2WRs especially the ones in division. Patrick Peterson is arguably the best #1CB in the NFL & whats scary is the 3x pro-bowler is still developing n will only get better. Arizona DC Bowles absolutely loves having two big, physical , All-Pro pro bowl caliber CBs. Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu has said his knee is at 80% and is quickly getting better with him already running, cutting, n weight strengthening his knee , has been since May. With 2 months until the season starts, Mathieu still has a ton of time with great chances of starting week one. In just his rookie year , Mathieu ranked via pro football focus as the NFLs 3 best CB. He is easily the best slot CB in the league. Had he not beej injured he likely would of been DROY n certainly would of made the pro bowl. Mathieu still earned 2nd team All Pro honors.

    Best case scenario Mathieu is back by week one, or even week 2. Worst case he misses the first 3 games, comes back after the bye week & plays in the 4th game of the yr VS Denver. Arizona not only has depth, but very high quality depth if they need someone to fill in the first 3 games for Mathieu. CB Jerraud Powers was Arizonas #2 CBlast year and was very solid n above average as a #2CB. At 5″10 though he is much, much better suited on the inside n ranked as a top corner last timd he played slot CB. Justin Bethel coming off his 1st Pro Bowl is pushing both Cromartie n Powers for playing time. Arians n the staff is very , very high on Bethel and are extremely pleased w/ his improvment goimg into this season. Guys 6″1 1/2 with elite 4.31 40 speed, very fast 3 cone, and 40 inch vertical jump he is every bit as athletic as Peferson & Arians thinks Bethel will be one of the leagues top CBs. I definitely see him getting playing time.

    At Free Safety Arizona has two very good free safetys. FS Rashad Johnson is excellent in pass coverage & is excellent in coverage. 2nd year FS Tony Jefferson is a beast as well. He was projected as a very solid mid 2nd round draft pick last year & looked at as being extremely good in coverage coming out of College. He got a lot better each week last season n was playing extremely well by the end of the season. He is going to make a big leap forward in year 2 now that he has the defensive system down pat. At a hair under 6ft n 220 pounds he is also extremely stout against the run and is a thumper hard hitting safety that also can play FS. Arizona also went out & drafted SS Deone Bucannon in round one to fix the middle of the defense against the pass. The 6″1 1/2 220 pound Bucannon was the hardest hitting safety in the nation coming out of College. Bucannon is bigger, faster , with more tackles, TKFL, INTs , PDs, and FFs than Pryor, Dix, Ward etc. He has elite speed n excellent sideline to sideline speed posting a 4.41 40, 36.5 inch vert, 125 inch brooad jump n very fast 6.96 3 cone. He was the combines top performer among safeties in the 40, bench press, vert jump, broad jump & 3 cone drill. Bucannon finished his collegiate career with 384 tackles, 13.5 for loss,15INTs, 25 passes defensed n 7 FFs. Best among safeties. He is absolutely elite stopping the run & is very good in coverage but also has room to grow in coverage. Arizona is going to use much like SEA does Chancellor I think except Bucannon has far more potential covering the pass with loose hips, ability to plant his foot n change directions on a dime. He is going to be a very fast hard hitting safety for AZ .

    Arizona finished 2013 ranked by pro football focus as having the 3rd best pass coverage in the NFL. With all the talent in their secondary, with excellent depth to boot among the among up grades they made I really think AZ pushs for title of the best secondary in the NFL.

  32. Revis wasn’t Revis with the Bucs. We all thought Schiano was using him incorrectly when in reality he was protecting Revis.

    I think with the Pats, he’ll be back to the normal lockdown corner he’s always been.

    Lovie comes from the Tony Dungy tree of the Tampa Two. You need a dominant undertackle, an edge rusher, a speedy, playmaking will linebacker, a hard hitting strong safety and a good, playmaking zone corner.

    The Bucs have Gerald McCoy at UT, Lavonte David at WLB, Mark Barron/Dashon Goldson at safety and Verner to fill those crucial roles.

    The big question is can Johnson be that edge rusher. He was solid in Cincy but had a down year last year. He needs to be that Simeon Rice to make this defense a Top 5 unit.

    Look, there’s always a place for Revis on any team – but Lovie got guys that fit his system and perhaps rounded out the unit. Having Revis is great – but they were 4-12 with him. Letting him go and increasing the talent level of the roster gives them a chance to be relevant in the NFC South.

  33. Lovie, Incredibly intelligent. The bucs traded a 1st round pick which the jets spun into arguably the top rookie last year ( SHELDON RICHARDSON) and a 4th round pick for what a 1 year rental on a 6 win team? Sounds genius. That is a great return on your investment. NOTHING. I understand that when taking over you start fresh but that is clear incompetance. Revis was coming off a major injury and in year 2 he will be the stud he was before. Not arguing that lovie is not an excellent coach but he does not have the resume to be evaluating talent and coaching. He can only coach one system the Cover 2 and that shows me he cant adapt to a guy of Revis’s talent. Revis at 16 million is overpaid but the guy is lights out. Look at the numbers Andre Johnson and Calvin put on him when with the jets. They were completely shut down. The Bucs do have a nice young core but they need to let Glennon start and not a journeyman like Mccown. Glennon showed a lot of promise and Martin which is his bell-cow missed almost the whole season. Otherwise I like the bucs roster and Lovie is a much better coach than Schiano but will it translate?

  34. “If, for instance, Revis significantly outplays Verner — signed one day before Revis’ departure — the Bucs will find themselves open to criticism.”

    Criticisms by idiots. You just ignored the entire point of the decision. The Bucs have Alterraun Verner and an additional $10 million they spent on other upgrades, all for Revis. So if Revis significantly outplays Verner, and Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins both bust, then sure, fire away with the criticisms. A comparison of only the two corners misses the entire point.

  35. It seems to me that everyone forgot the reason the jets got rid of revis is cause he was hurt.not lack of playing ability.also thats y aherman is the so called best db.now this is the year where we will all find out who the best db is.they both get to play on teams that may see each other in the sb.my edga goes to revis cuz he lines up against the best receiver all the time.sherman does not.revis island came about because he(revis) did not want over the top help and he never had 2 all pro safeties for help like sherman..hes shut down more receivers than he got burnt.he played out of his elements in tampa and is still considered top 5..wit that said we’ll see how these 2 dbs fair when the season starts.sherman is a beast he had more pics sea defense as a whole is 10x better than tampa but revis was right there wit sherman and he was hurt playin tampa 2 when he’s a man press type of guy.all im saying is judge when they are both @100%..then and only then will we all see whos the best

  36. In all conversations about players in sports: 3 nickels never equals a quarter. Stars/great players win in this league. The Pats finally fixed the defense. Haven’t felt this good since 2007, when the Pats were by far the best team in the NFL, but just didn’t get it done in the big game.

  37. Second year off an ACL and Belichick coaching Revis. Good luck NFL.

    List all the players and spew everything you want. TBay comes in last in their(good)division.
    That’s why the win total in Vegas is 7. Who’s the QB again? Lovie’s a good DC, not a head coach. Revis helps the Pats to the Super Bowl.

  38. First off @kashadills, Lovie didn’t make the trade – that was Schiano and Dominik. He didn’t care what the Bucs gave up in the past. As far as he was concerned, by cutting Revis he got a boatload more cap space and his 4th round pick was upgraded to a 3rd rounder. Sure you lose the talent of the player but Lovie’s defense doesn’t need elite corners. Just good ones, which they got with a much cheaper Verner. Add a stud edge rusher and a solid LT and you’ve upgraded two areas and kept another solid while improving your draft position.

    @tedmurph, Tampa will finish no worse than 2nd in the NFC South. If you don’t recognize, you soon will. With that said, Revis should do fine with New England. He’s still a great player.

  39. A 4-12 team is gonna turn it around and finish ahead of Carolina(12-4 last yr) and an improved Saints team(11-5 last yr) with a new coaching staff and McCown @QB. I love the offseason. We’ll see who recognizes what.

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