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Giving Up Picks to Get Revis Makes Sense for Green Bay

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COMMENTARY | Green Bay would have the best offensive and defensive player in football. It isn't hyperbole to suggest that the Aaron Rodgers/Darrelle Revis combination would be on par with the Brett Favre/Reggie White combination during Green Bay's run in the 1990s. It might even be better.

If the New York Jets are serious about a potential deal with their All-Pro cornerback, then the Packers make sense. CBS' Mike Freeman is reporting Green Bay's name as one coming up repeatedly in talks with personnel around the league, although there will be plenty of teams in on Revis.

Green Bay is entering Aaron Rodgers' prime. Clay Matthews is already a force and there are some young, talented players at key positions like Casey Hayward and Randall Cobb.

But Darrelle Revis is the definition of a game-changer, the only true shut-down corner in the NFL when he's healthy. Put him on one side of the field and believe me, he'd give the Packers defense that extra half-second they need to bring opposing quarterbacks down.

He immediately makes Green Bay's pass rush better and in a division with Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and potentially Greg Jennings - if, God forbid for Packers fans, he followed Brett Favre's lead to Minnesota this offseason - Revis' skills would be needed on a weekly basis.

With Revis, you can leverage Charles Woodson into taking less money because, frankly, the team wouldn't need the once-great defensive back. Sure, Woodson plays safety now, but he's on the field because this defense lacks impact players and he is one of the most versatile players on the roster.

You can put Revis anywhere and he's locking that part of the field down. They don't call him "Revis Island," for nothing.

Ted Thompson doesn't like parting with high draft picks, preferring instead to acquire and hoard them. But Revis is better than any player Green Bay could hope to get in this draft. He's probably better than almost any sum total of players.

If this were the NBA, Green Bay would - and should - be willing to swing a multi-player deal of sorts, with three or four draft picks to get Revis.

The window in the NFL is small. Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers, and B.J. Raji are all due for new contracts in the next two years and while you assume Rodgers is going to be re-upped imminently, the acquisition of Revis could make one of the defenders less valuable to the Packers.

Green Bay certainly would have the leverage to say, "You don't like our offer? Great, we don't need you as much as you think."

Revis' can be voided in 2014 and you'd expect he will want a new deal if he is traded. You wouldn't expect Green Bay would trade for Revis with no intention of extending him, but it might have to be at the expense of Raji or Matthews, with Raji being the more likely candidate to get pushed aside.

The Packers have a Super Bowl offense, particularly if DuJuan Harris can continue to grow as a player and the offensive line can stay healthy.

Defensively, Tramon Williams hasn't played up to his 2010 level and it was his pairing with Woodson and Sam Shields that made the Green Bay defense so ferocious. They could cover anyone.

With Sam Shields re-emerging after a rocky 2011 season, and Casey Hayward looking like a future star in the slot, the Packers could put Revis on the other team's best receiver and use Shields opposite with Hayward in the slot to form what would be the best group of corners in the league and that doesn't even include Tramon Williams, who can still play.

I don't know how likely it is to expect Green Bay to make a bold move this offseason. It's not the Ted Thompson way and we've heard the Packers be mentioned on big names before: Marshawn Lynch, Randy Moss, Tony Gonzalez and others. It's tough to know how much was fire and how much was fake smoke.

But all of the aforementioned players came with more risk. They were older, had dubious histories, etc.

Revis, if he can pass a physical and appear healthy, is worth giving up a first round pick, or multiple picks, to get because Green Bay is ready to win now. At just 27 years old, Revis has plenty left in the tank and since his game has never been predicated on speed, there is less of a concern about his skills diminishing with age.

Green Bay will be reducing, or eliminating Woodson's cap number next year moving forward, along with Greg Jennings and probably A.J. Hawk.

Revis already signed a four year deal worth $46 million, with $32.5 million in guaranteed money through 2014. Greg Jennings' deal was worth an average of $9.2 million per year and Woodson is set to make $10 million next season. Woodson won't be back without a significant reduction in that number.

Hawk is due to make almost $5 million in 2013 and seems likely to be a cap casualty given his play. Basically, the loss of both Jennings and Woodson more than covers the money Revis would command, and cutting Hawk could open the door for a Woodson return at a much more reasonable price.

In other words, there will be money to spend in Green Bay. Whether the Packers would re-negotiate a new deal with Revis right away or not is superfluous to the fact that he'd be under contract for at least two seasons. After the 2013 season - Thompson likes to get extensions done at least a year in advance - the Packers could re-evaluate their options.

Luckily, they already have favorite contracts for Jordy Nelson and James Jones, plus Cobb on a rookie deal, leaving the core of the offense intact.

Ted Thompson likes to fill his roster through the draft, but remember early in his career he signed guys like Ryan Pickett and Charles Woodson. Making a trade of this magnitude would be a huge step out of character for a man who loves to build through the draft, but in a sense he still is: he's using his draft picks as assets to get one of the truly uniquely dominant players in the game.

That's worth the risk and the picks. It also makes Green Bay so much better defensively that they'd have to be considered one of the favorites for years to come.

Peter Bukowski lives in New York and has been covering sports since 2007. He is an award-winning television and newspaper reporter. Follow him on Twitter @BukoTime

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