There's a reason that New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has earned the nickname "Revis Island". Since joining the NFL in 2007, he's become one of the most dominant defensive players in the league. His former teammate Damien Woody went on ESPN's "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd on Friday and proclaimed Revis "the best all-around player that I've ever played with. Even more so than Tom Brady". Wow. When this news broke, it's probable that Bengals Nation salivated at the prospect of him donning stripes. Cincy Jungle's Josh Kirkendall quickly shot down the notion that the Bengals would go after him.
Though Kirkendall is likely correct, and evidence is beginning to back him up in the forms of reportedly interested teams, we still think that this move would make sense on a lot of levels for the Bengals. You'd have to consider a few things: the Bengals' salary cap situation, the player's fit in the defensive system, the need and state of the position group, and the cost it would be to trade for a player like Revis.
As it has been well-documented, the Bengals have a lot of cap space to work with this offseason. A large portion of that space will be eaten up by contracts of their own in-house free agents like Andre Smith and/or Michael Johnson. Two other big extensions that the Bengals need to look at this year is with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, and those will likely be a bit costly. Keep in mind that the Bengals can't look at extending A.J. Green and/or Andy Dalton until after the 2013 season ends, per the new CBA.
Regardless, if you count what will be owed to the contracts of their 2013 rookie class, the Bengals have roughly $48 million in salary cap room, per ESPN's John Clayton. As it is right now, Revis' salary is hovering around $6 million for 2013 and his total cap hit would be $9 million. It could be tight, but if there's one thing that the Brown family does well, it's manage the books--they can make it work, financially. Especially if they were able to work out an extension with Revis, which no doubt would be the preference--otherwise, Revis would be in Cincinnati on a one-year rental.
As for Revis fitting into the Bengals defensive scheme, he is a match made in heaven for defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Zimmer loves his corners to be able to be physical, play man coverage and tackle well. Revis encapsulates all of those. When Asante Samuel was on the trading block, many Bengals fans wanted him. The fact of the matter is that Revis is a much better fit for Zimmer's scheme than Samuel is/was. Keep in mind that the decision of the Bengals' 2007 first round pick came down to Revis and Leon Hall and the picture is getting clearer. All in all, Cincinnati has yet to fully recover from the loss of Johnathan Joseph in the 2011 offseason, but landing Revis would make everyone forget about that debacle.
The Bengals are unsettled at cornerback going into 2013. Dre Kirkpatrick, their first round pick in 2012, was out of commission with a couple of injuries throughout the year, as was fellow rookie Shaun Prater with his own knee problem. Brandon Ghee has been a disappointment since his entrance in the league and then you have Adam Jones and Terence Newman, both entering free agency. Revis would be a most welcomed addition to the group as it currently stands.
No doubt, the cost of Revis will be high. Still, the Jets won't be getting a first round pick for Revis, with a second round pick and one later likely being the cost. The Bengals have two picks in the second round this year, thanks to the Carson Palmer trade in 2011, so they have surplus ammunition. Additionally, this team needs some veteran leadership which Revis would provide. Ironically though, Revis is younger than most of the corners that the team had on its roster last season in Jones, Newman and Nate Clements. Simply put, Revis brings talent and veteran leadership to a young Bengals team, while also providing a younger and more talented alternative to the players that the Bengals have been trotting out there of late.
The Bengals have the resources and the need to make a sensible move for Revis. Therefore, I'm inclined to agree with Kirkendall in that it won't happen. The Bengals don't make these kind of huge moves and they have traditionally valued draft picks far too highly to trade high ones. At some point in the near future, we hope that the Brown family will take the plunge and create a big splash in something like a trade for Revis. Forgive us if we're not holding our breath until then.