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Darrelle Revis traded to Bucs for draft picks

Darrelle Revis looks on before a game against

Darrelle Revis looks on before a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Credit: AP, 2011

Revis Island is heading south.

After months of speculation and posturing by the front office, the Jets traded their best player, three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, to Tampa Bay Sunday.

The Jets, who hold the No. 9 pick in Thursday's draft, will get the Bucs' 13th overall pick. They'll also get a fourth-round selection in 2014 that can become a third-rounder, according to the Jets, if Revis is on the Bucs' roster on the third day of the 2014 league year.

"It was a decision that we deliberated on,'' Jets owner Woody Johnson said during an evening conference call, " . . . and I think it was the correct one.''

Rumors of a potential trade surfaced the night before John Idzik was introduced as general manager Jan. 24. Idzik, on the call with Rex Ryan, said both sides wanted Revis to be a Jet for life, but "it's not as simple as player wanting club and club wanting player.''

There was "a substantial difference'' between how the Jets and Revis viewed his value, Idzik said, and "it became quite evident'' that a long-term extension couldn't be agreed upon.

Revis' agents confirmed that his new six-year deal with Tampa Bay is worth $96 million, which will make him the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history. The Bucs protected themselves against injury by offering no guarantees in the contract, according to multiple reports.

Revis reportedly will get a $13-million base salary plus $1.5-million roster bonuses (due on the third day of the league year) and $1.5-million workout bonuses each year.

Idzik, who called it "a deal of historic proportions,'' said: "Ideally, we would have wanted to wait and see how things played out'' but that the impending draft "sped up the timeline.''

Idzik also said the Jets didn't have "the luxury of time,'' given the uncertainty of Revis' recovery from reconstructive knee surgery in October, and admitted the injury hurt his trade value. Asked if a non-guaranteed contract had been an option for the Jets, Idzik said: "It became abundantly clear to us that . . . we wouldn't get there.''

With the Bucs the only suitor for Revis, the Jets had little leverage. They didn't have the option to franchise him after the upcoming season because of a clause in his contract, so the Jets couldn't risk losing out on compensation if he left in free agency.

The Jets allowed Revis to fly to Florida to take a physical. He left Morristown (N.J.) Municipal Airport on a private plane, reportedly sent by the Bucs, at 11:56 a.m. and arrived at Tampa International Airport at 2:28 p.m. Coach Greg Schiano picked him up, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Hours after arriving at One Buccaneer Place, Revis' agents announced that he had agreed to terms with the Bucs.

"The six years I played for the New York Jets were unbelievable,'' Revis tweeted Sunday night. "I put my body on the line every day & did everything I could to help the team win. I experienced a lot & learned a lot. The memories I had in New York I will keep dearly to my heart. I want to thank all the Jets fans for making me feel welcome.''

Former GM Mike Tannenbaum traded first-, second- and fifth-round picks in 2007 to move up from No. 25 to No. 14 to land Revis. The move paid off.

Thanks to a breakout 2009 season in which he had a career-high six interceptions, Revis solidified his status as a shutdown corner. But the front-loaded four-year, $46-million deal he signed after a 2010 holdout -- viewed as a Band-Aid deal by Revis' camp because it paid only $6 million per year in 2012 and 2013 -- helped set the stage for the trade.

The last time the Jets had two first-round picks was 2008: Vernon Gholston (sixth) and Dustin Keller (30th). In 2006 they selected D'Brickashaw Ferguson fourth and Nick Mangold 29th.

Ryan said the deal didn't come as a surprise because he was involved "in the entire process.'' He said Revis is the best corner in the NFL, "but make no mistake, we will play great defense.''

Now, will Revis be ready to play when the Jets host the Bucs in Week 1? For Jets fans, the thought of Mark Sanchez floating passes in his direction can't be very pleasant.

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