TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parted ways with cornerback Darrelle Revis, releasing the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Wednesday after being unable to trade him and his $16 million annual salary.
The move saved the Bucs a $1.5 million bonus that Revis would have been due if he remained on the roster. It also freed additional space under the salary cap, which the team intends to use to continue an overhaul of the roster under new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.
Revis was obtained in a pre-draft trade from the New York Jets last spring, a deal that cost the Bucs a first-round draft in 2013, as well as a fourth-rounder this year. If Revis had remained on Tampa Bay’s roster at 4 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been due the bonus and the 2014 pick the Bucs sent to the Jets would have become a third-rounder.
Revis was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he joined the Bucs and was given a six-year, $96 million contract. Despite not being 100 percent physically, he appeared in all 16 games and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl last season, when he had two interceptions, a sack and two forced fumbles.
The two-time All-Pro’s release came less than an hour after the Bucs confirmed free agent quarterback Josh McCown had agreed to terms of a two-year contract, a move that reunites him with Smith.
A career backup, the 12th-year pro is coming off the best season of his career with Chicago. McCown started five games in place of the injured Jay Cutler for the Bears in 2013, going 3-2 and finishing the year with 13 touchdown passes vs. one interception.
McCown was a third round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2002. He spent the past two seasons with the Bears, including 2012 — Smith’s last year in Chicago.
McCown, who turns 35 in July, will compete with second-year pro Mike Glennon for the starting job. Glennon started 13 games as a rookie for the Bucs, who fired former coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik after a 4-12 finish left Tampa Bay out of the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
Smith and Licht were hired in January and are using free agency to reshape the roster. In addition to signing McCown, the Bucs landed defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and tight end Brandon Myers on Tuesday, the first day team could complete deals.
Improving the pass rush is a majority priority, and the signing of Johnson to a five-year, $47.5 million contract addresses that need. Verner received a four-year, $26.5 million deal and becomes a capable replacement for Revis.