By Tom Krasniqi
Whenever a new regime takes over, significant changes are likely to be made. After all, the Buccaneers were 4-12 last season. But Bucs fans probably didn't expect changes to take place at this level.
Sources tell WDAE the Bucs will release cornerback Darrelle Revis on Wednesday if they can't trade him by then. If Revis is still on the team's roster on the third day of the new league year, the Bucs will have to pay Revis a $1.5 million roster bonus and they would have to surrender a 3rd round pick to the Jets in this year's draft as opposed to a 4th rounder. The new league year begins Tuesday afternoon at 4pm, which is the start of the free agent signing period.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the Bucs have been trying to persuade Revis into restructuring his deal, which pays him $16 million per year. That's more than $6 million more than the next highest paid corner. Revis has refused to such a pay cut. Since the deal has no guaranteed money, the Bucs would shave the entire $16 million off their cap. That would give Tampa Bay more than $40 million in cap room to go shopping in free agency.
A league source says the team "searched high and low for a trade partner" once it became clear that Revis would not restructure. A trade doesn't seem likely at this point. What team would give up anything of value when they know the Bucs will cut bait on Wednesday?
New head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht would likely use the cap space to upgrade the trenches. Expect the Bucs to make a heavy push for DE Michael Johnson, who's considered the top pass rusher now available. Tampa Bay is also looking for a DT to pair with Gerald McCoy. Jason Hatcher and Henry Melton are believed to be targets. As for the offensive line, the Bucs have been linked to left tackle Anthony Collins as well as guards Shawn Lauvao and Uche Nwaneri. The Bucs are looking to completely revamp both lines so expect multiple signings on each side of the ball.
As we've been mentioning here for weeks, the Bucs will also make a play for WR/PR Dexter McCluster. His signing could come as early as Tuesday. Devin Hester is the fallback option but it appears the interest between the Bucs and McCluster is mutual. New Bucs special teams coach Kevin O'Dea coached McCluster last year in Kansas City.
Fasten your seat belts. Changes are coming. No, make that big changes are coming. Keep it locked on 620am WDAE and 95.3FM for breaking Bucs news and stay informed on twitter by following us at: @620wdae and @TKras for the latest.