What is the best cornerback in the NFL worth in a trade?
We're starting to finally get our answer to that question.
A source "close to the negotiations" between the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tells Peter King of Sports Illustrated that the Bucs likely would be willing to give their first- and second-round picks in the 2014 NFL draft for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
That sounds like very good compensation, gauging by the trade value of other cornerbacks that have switched teams of late. Revis is definitely a better player than Antonio Cromartie; also, take into account the question marks around his knee rehab.
The Jets hoped to get the Bucs' 13th overall pick in this year's draft along with a future pick, but those hopes may be misplaced if King's inklings are accurate:
Three things are apparent in the wake of the NFL meetings in Arizona, where nothing got done between the Jets and Bucs on the Revis front: Tampa Bay is the only serious bidder for Revis. The ball is in the Jets' court on what to do next. And the Bucs aren't going to go much further, if at all, to try to get Revis.
So, essentially, Tampa Bay's offer is take-it-or-leave-it, and they're the only ones interested in a trade.
This may be the only option, but it's not a bad one at all. As good as Revis is, it's not likely he's going to command anything more than what the Bucs are offering.
Another problem the Jets might have is that while the Bucs play in a difficult division, they have a lot of talent on defense. Adding Revis to a group that includes safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson, defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller, and linebacker Lavonte David could have the Bucs defense looking fearsome, even despite losing defensive end Michael Bennett.
If that were the case, the Bucs' pick may not be as high as the Jets would like it to be.
King also brings up a good point: The trade deadline isn't until October, and Revis' value isn't going down between now and the beginning of the season.
The way I see it, Jets general manager John Idzik has two options: take what he can get while he can get it and trade Revis before the season, or let Revis prove he can still play at a high level and move him during the season.
The former leaves open the possibility that the Bucs picks won't be as high as they'd like, or that the Jets might not squeeze every last drop of value out of Revis' talent.
The latter would give the Jets an opportunity to gauge what that pick will be worth, but in doing so, Idzik should be convinced that his value will go up when teams see him play.
Ultimately, however, the fact that Revis is in the final year of his deal means teams will probably not be willing to give up a king's ransom to get him for only a portion of the season, only to turn around months later and make him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained first-hand or via team press releases.