The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Darrelle Revis Wednesday, according to multiple reports. The Buccaneers had until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to move Revis off their roster and prevent the 2014 draft pick they owe the Jets from escalating into Round 3 from its current Round 4 standing.
Revis still had five years and $80 million left on the six-year contract he signed with Tampa Bay last offseason, after the Jets and Buccaneers agreed to a trade. However, none of the $96 million invested in Revis with that contract was guaranteed, which meant that Tampa Bay had to take on no extra dead-money charges if it cut or traded the 28-year-old Revis.
If there were any mystery left about Tampa Bay's plans for Revis, it was put to rest within the opening hours of free agency when the team signed CB Alterraun Verner to a long-term deal. He was viewed as a better fit for the new defensive system set to be implemented by new head coach Lovie Smith.
Yet that said, Revis' release is rather unprecedented. He rebounded from a season-ending knee injury in 2012 to deliver a dominant 2013 for the Buccaneers, reasserting himself as one of the top two or three cornerbacks in all of football. As such, he should have no problem drumming up interest in free agency now that the Buccaneers have wiped the slate clean with regard to his salary. Revis is free to sign with any team immediately.
New England figures to be one of the first in line. The Patriots lost star cornerback Aqib Talib to rival Denver on Tuesday, putting them in the market for a proven No. 1 option at that position. Revis certainly qualifies, though several other franchise would love to bring him on board.
Despite being one day late to the free-agency party, Revis will stand as the top available cornerback on the remaining market and arguably one of the best players available period. GALLERY: NFL players in need of a new team