NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Revis Island is relocating again. And the hottest rivalry in the AFC East just got even more interesting.
Darrelle Revis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with the New England Patriots just hours after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dumped him in a cost-cutting move.
The three-time All-Pro known for stranding opposing receivers in man coverage was traded from the New York Jets to Tampa Bay just last year.
The Bucs released Revis on Wednesday after efforts to trade him and his $16 million annual salary.
“It was a tough decision. He’s a very good player,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said during a news conference introducing four of the five free agents as he and new coach Lovie Smith push forward with plans to overhaul a team that went 4-12 last season.
Some Jets fans were clamoring for Revis’ return to the franchise that drafted him 14th overall in 2007. Instead, he’s joining up with their fiercest rival.
Cutting the 28-year-old Revis saved the Bucs a $1.5 million bonus that the five-time Pro Bowl selection would have been due if he remained on the roster. It also freed additional space under the salary cap, which the team intends to use to try to improve a roster that has several glaring weaknesses.
“We’re not trying to build slowly,” Smith added. “We were a 4-12 team. There’s a lot we have to do.”
Revis was obtained in a pre-draft trade from the Jets last spring, a deal orchestrated by former coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik that cost the Bucs a first-round draft in 2013, as well as a fourth-rounder this year.
If Revis had remained on Tampa Bay’s roster at 4 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been due the bonus and the 2014 pick the Bucs sent to the Jets would have become a third-rounder.
Revis was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he joined the Bucs and was given a six-year, $96 million contract. Despite not being 100 percent physically, he appeared in all 16 games and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl last season, when he had two interceptions, a sack and two forced fumbles.
“Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season,” Licht said.
“We have specific ideas regarding the best way to build this defense and, while you never like to lose a good player, we believe this is in the best interests of our team moving forward,” the GM added. “Darrelle was a true professional here in Tampa Bay and we wish him continued success in his career.”
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