Tannenbaum's departure signaled the beginning of a rebuilding process that eventually would signal the end of Darrelle Revis in a Jets uniform. Sunday was the day.
The Jets traded the three-time All-Pro cornerback to the Bucs for Tampa Bay's first-round pick (13th overall) this year and a fourth-round pick that can become a third-rounder in next year's draft. The deal continued a roster gutting overseen by new general manager John Idzik. He's the one left to clean up the salary-cap mess he inherited and go about the business of retooling a Jets team that will need plenty of time to be competitive again.
Trading Revis was the latest in a series of moves to untangle the web of confusion left behind after last season, and it was the right move for Idzik. Even if it pained him to deal the team's most talented player. "There are multiple factors involved in a move of this magnitude, so it's not taken lightly," Idzik said. "It's not as simple as player wanting club and club wanting player. Fitting a deal of historical proportions of short-term and long-term plans is difficult."
The timing was right for everyone: The Jets knew it would take upward of the $16 million-a-year deal he wound up signing to hold on to Revis long-term. With so many other needs at so many other positions and with so little salary-cap flexibility, it simply didn't make sense to invest that much money.
The Bucs were desperate for more help to patch the holes in the NFL's worst secondary, and Revis -- as long as he recovers from an ACL tear suffered last season -- will go a long way toward addressing that need.
In the end, the Jets got back as much as they could have hoped for, considering how limited the market was for Revis. Nobody wanted to invest heavily in a big-money contract and trade high draft picks for a cornerback coming off a serious knee injury.
Revis himself had to settle for less than he might have wanted. Sure, he got the six-year, $96-million deal he was looking for, but there was no guaranteed money -- a stunning development considering how good a player he is. But that's the price he paid for agreeing to a deal coming off a major injury. In essence, he's year-to-year in Tampa.
So if you think the Jets didn't get enough for a player of Revis' caliber, think how you'd view the Bucs if they gave up a first-rounder this year and a potential third-rounder in 2014 for a player they let go well before his contract was up. And if Revis does do well in the next year or two, don't believe he won't do to the Bucs what he did to the Jets twice before: engage in a protracted and bitter holdout.
Clearly, there is risk on all sides. The Jets settled for less than they might have if Revis had been healthy and they had the franchise tag to work with. But they do get a prime draft pick this year and a solid pick next year in return for a player for whom they would have gotten only a compensatory draft pick after next season. And the Bucs get another important player to address their biggest weakness without having to dole out a huge signing bonus.
In the end, though, there's no final judgment to be made on the trade until we see whom the Jets draft with the 13th pick and how well he plays.
But considering the alternative -- one more year with Revis on a rebuilding team with little hope of re-signing him at an affordable price -- the deal Idzik wound up getting was worth it in the long run.
"When we made this decision," Idzik said, "we felt like it was the best for the short-term and long-term success of the New York Jets. We're going to get some very valued players on our roster that will help us in the years to come."
As long as he makes the right choices on draft day.