March 10, 2015 was a day of jubilance for the New York Jets. Darrelle Revis, the star who somehow got away, was officially a Jet again.
He was shipped away to Tampa Bay by the infamous John Idzik in 2013 and won a Super Bowl with the arch-rival New England Patriots the next season. Sure, the reunion came at a premium price of $70 million over five years, but it was still a moment to celebrate.
It’s truly amazing how things change. Not even two years later, it seems like the Jets should part ways with Revis for good.
No, this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the alleged incident involving Revis, for which he is facing four felony charges, including robbery and aggravated assault. It’s an assessment of Revis’ second stint in New York as a whole. It’s an admission to the realization that the Jets overpaid for a 30-year-old cornerback.
The move at least looked defensible in 2015, when Revis picked off five passes and was still a respectable No. 1 cornerback. However, some might never forget his putrid game against Sammy Watkins in Week 17 of the 2016 season, a performance that partially cost the Jets a playoff spot and turned out to be an ominous sign of things to come.
“Revis Island” completely deteriorated in 2016 as regression truly took its toll. The once feared cornerback was picked apart regularly by receivers and abused by quarterbacks who wouldn’t dare challenge him a few years ago. He intercepted only one pass and was rated 66th at his position by Pro Football Focus.
The fact of the matter is Revis isn’t a semblance of the player he was during his first six seasons in New York. He clearly isn’t worth the $15.3 million he’s set to make in 2017 and he probably won’t take a pay cut. He’s admitted that his body is breaking down. Moving him to safety might make sense, but it isn’t the best solution for a defense that lacks playmakers in the secondary.
The Jets are in need of a rebuild and are even more desperate for wiggle room financially. They’d still owe Revis $6 million in guaranteed money, but they’d free up $9.3 million by letting him go before March 10, which ironically is when they’ll owe him a $2 million roster bonus.
The latest altercation definitely doesn’t help his cause. Revis was accused of knocking two men unconscious in Pittsburgh after one of them recorded an interaction with him on his phone. He turned himself in to Pittsburgh police last weekend and is set to appear in court on Thursday. Whether he’s found guilty or not, the distraction, PR disaster and potential for additional discipline from the NFL makes Revis more expendable.
Revis will go down as one of the best to ever wear the green and white. He should wind up in the franchise’s Ring of Honor, and perhaps even the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s Revis’ past that makes this free fall incredibly difficult to digest.
But there’s no time for sentimentality for a franchise as undignified as the New York Jets. “Revis Island,” is now nothing more than a mirage.