The benefits will be obvious. Darrelle Revis instantly will improve Tampa Bay's pass defense, perhaps elevating the Buccaneers into one of the better units in the game. Revis, along with fellow newcomer safety Dashon Goldson, will make a difference.
That is, if Revis is healthy and returns to being the cornerback who earned the moniker Revis Island.
Let's assume that's the case. Even if he's healthy, however, there are questions and concerns about this deal and what exactly it will mean to Tampa Bay's win-loss total.
It's easy to look at Seattle and the moves it made and envision the Seahawks as a title contender (again). They upgraded their pass rush. They improved their already stellar secondary. San Francisco, too, might have made itself better already by picking up dangerous receiver Anquan Boldin.
The Redskins will need to work hard to keep pace with both teams, especially after their inability to land a starter in free agency. Their trick is to develop their own talent and hope that other players, notably linebacker Brian Orakpo and end Adam Carriker, are healthy.
But what about the Bucs, coming off a 7-9 season? They sent a first-round pick this year and a conditional fourth-round pick next year (that likely will be a third rounder) to New York. Then they gave Revis a six-year, $96 million contract. None of the money is guaranteed, but it's almost a lock Revis will spend at least two years with Tampa Bay.
And here's the problem: The Bucs still have a big issue at quarterback. According to NFL.com, Bucs coach Greg Schiano isn't sold on Josh Freeman. He shouldn't be; Freeman would look great one game and lousy the next. His numbers are solid. Freeman threw 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, but in the last three games of the season he threw nine picks and two touchdowns. And in the last six games, five of them losses, he tossed six touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
In the NFL, you address problems when you have a chance. That's what Tampa Bay did with Revis, the game's best corner pre-ACL injury. He will have an impact. The question is, will it be enough? At this cost, it had better be.
- John Keim