Updated, 8:25 p.m. ET
The New York Jets today completed a trade that was in the NFL ether for months as they have traded cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In exchange for Revis, the Jets will receive the Bucs' pick in Thursday night's Round 1 of the NFL draft, 13th overall, plus their fourth-round selection in 2014, which will become a third-round pick if Revis is on the Bucs' roster on the third day of the 2014 league year.
The Jets also have their own pick, No. 9 overall, in Round 1. The Tampa Bay first-round pick gives them four of the first 72 picks and eight selections overall in the draft, being held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27, at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Owner Woody Johnson, general manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan concluded a conference call before 7:30 p.m. ET with reporters on the trade. All expressed the sentiment that as difficult as it was to trade a player of Revis' stature, the deal was in the best short- and long-term interests of the Jets.
"It was a decision we deliberated on for quite a while," Johnson said. "I know it's important to our fans. It's important to us. We wanted to come up with a decision that was best for the New York Jets. That's the decision we arrived at. I think it was the correct one."
"It was never our intention to proactively go out and shop Darrelle," Idzik said. "It was never our goal for him to leave the Jets. On the contrary, we wanted Darrelle to remain a Jet for the long term, ideally. Tampa reached out and expressed a sincere and sustained interest in Darrelle. As things go in the NFL, there's a lot of kicking the tires, a lot of speculative discussions in regard to trades. As you get closer to the draft, those talks become more real. That's what happened here.
As soon as the Buccaneers made an offer that the Jets could seriously consider, Idzik said, "We came to the conclusion that this was the best thing to do for the Jets at this time."
Several factors came into play in formulating the Green & White decision, the GM said. One was the compensation Revis and his representatives were seeking compared to what the Jets felt they could offer.
"We're not going to comment on anyone else's deal, much less our own," Idzik said of the extension that the Bucs and Revis reportedly agreed to as part of this blockbuster transaction. "It became abundantly clear to us that his value was such that we just wouldn't get there."
Idzik also said Revis' ongoing rehab from his torn ACL from Week 3 of last season "definitely muddies the water" in regard to both the Jets' timing in trying to decide on signing the player to an extension and in the compensation other teams might be willing to offer in trade.
And the compensation the Buccaneers offered, while not the three picks that were being rumored for weeks, was impressive enough. By a popular NFL draft trade value chart, the 13th pick of this draft and a pick that could become the Bucs' third-rounder next year is valued significantly higher than, say, last month's trade of WR Percy Harvin from Minnesota to Seattle for a one and a seven this year and a mid-round pick next year.
Said Johnson of the potential makeup of the 2013 Jets, "I think we have some young players that will be better, and we have the opportunity to pick up some very good players in the draft. I'm extremely optimistic."
Ryan had a similar take on the trade, even though it involved the departure of a multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro player whom the Jets' fifth-year head coach has lauded as the best cornerback and one of the best players in the game.
"Darrell was an outstanding player for us," Ryan said. "He gave everything he had to this organization, he was a tremendous player. I don't take back one word I've every said about Darrelle Revis. But make no mistake, as I said when I took this job five years ago, we will play great defense. The standard we've set as New York Jets will not be diminished. We believe we will have an outstanding defense this year and in the future."
There quite possibly could be some outstanding overall defense and pass coverage in particular being played all over the MetLife Stadium field on Sept. 8, the opening day of the season. The NFL's schedulemakers rolled the dice on this trade being made, knowing that the AFC East teams play the NFC South this year. Jets-Bucs was penciled in for Week 1 a while ago and then chiseled into stone when the league announced its regular-season schedule on Thursday night.
While the NFL is AOK with the deal, Jets fans are of at least two minds. One side is unhappy about leaving Revis Island. Another side knew that such travel plans were a distinct possibility and further understood what the return in draft picks and salary cap benefit would mean as the Jets moves forward toward 2013.
And the team's triumvirate on the conference call this evening certainly shared some of that bittersweet emotion.
"The New York Jets are extremely grateful to have had Darrelle on our roster for six very memorable years," Idzik said. "He's a great player, he gave us everything he had, he was great in the community. Again, all the factors we had to weigh, we felt this was the right thing to do, first and foremost, for the Jets, what we have to do as a team. We feel this will benefit Darrelle as well. We wish him well in Tampa and for the remainder of his career."
With the ninth and 13th overall picks, the Jets have the opportunity to spend two first-round picks in a draft for the seventh time since the AFL and NFL held their first common draft in 1967. And it could be only the second time they make two of the first 13 overall picks. Here are the Jets' top two picks in which the drafts in which they made at least two first-round selections since 1967: