According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, two or three "legitimate buyers" are preparing to make a run at acquiring cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 12.
“He’s gone,” a source familiar with the situation said Tuesday. “This is happening. They’re moving him. They can’t keep him. They’re rebuilding. They’re starting fresh."
Two potential suitors have been identified as the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, who most recently squared off in the NFC championship game.
[Position Statement: Good luck trading Darrelle Revis]
If the Jets are rebuilding, the team they would most likely prefer to do business with the 49ers. Through multiple trades during last year's draft, the 49ers officially have 14 picks in the 2013 NFL draft, including two selections in the third round (their own plus the Carolina Panthers' pick, No. 74 overall) and the fifth round (their own plus the Miami Dolphins' selection). The 49ers are expected to add a 15th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the No. 34 pick overall, when they ship backup quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs when trades are allowed on March 12.
The 49ers are currently pressed up against the salary cap, but will gain considerable cap space when they move Smith, release a few veterans (David Akers and Parys Haralson are two candidates for release) and restructure a contract or two before the new league year begins. That should free up enough cash and cap space to pay Revis, who is scheduled to earn $6 million in 2013, the final year of a four-year, $46 million contract he signed in 2010.
[Related: Niners in pursuit of Jets CB Darrelle Revis]
Included in that $6 million is a $1 million roster bonus, which is due on March 16. If the Jets are indeed rebuilding, they would probably prefer to move Revis before owing him that $1 million payment.
Revis is open to playing for the 49ers, which he discussed in an interview with "The Real Robinson Report", a site created by Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson. However, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the 49ers are not serious suitors for Revis, placing their interest in the cornerback at ".001 on a scale of 1-10".
The Falcons have their full allotment of draft choices and could create a package to acquire Revis to address their need at the cornerback position as Brent Grimes is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent and the team released veteran Dunta Robinson last week. Robinson was released as part of cost-cutting maneuvers that freed up considerable cash ($21.4 million) and cap room (over $17 million) for general manager Thomas Dimitroff to work with this offseason.
Dimitroff has shown a willingness to be bold - he packaged multiple picks, including two first-rounders, to move up in the 2011 NFL draft to select Julio Jones - and could use some of that capital he's built up in Atlanta to add an elite cornerback to bolster a defense that ranked 23rd against the pass in 2012.
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