The Jets front office managed to go from Public Enemy #1 within their own building to the student body’s most popular over night. A day after cutting veteran fullback Tony Richardson, the Jets finally announced a deal with CB Darrelle Revis, ending a 35-day holdout. Revis’ deal replaces his current deal, which was for three years, $21 million, all guaranteed. His new deal is for four years, $46 million with $32 million guaranteed. A nice bump up for Revis, although far from the 10-year $100 million+ that he was seeking.
Before getting into Revis, it’s important to go back to the Richardson release. The Jets drafted John Connor out of Kentucky, and he has impressed the coaching staff since day 1. However, that shouldn’t necessitate the cutting of a popular leader in Richardson. Connor still has a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do. The Jets could have kept both, with Connor playing special teams and occasionally spelling Richardson (imagine having a great FB all game, fresh from beginning to end). Instead, they are banking on Connor being able to handle the full load himself. Let’s hope that he doesn’t hit a rookie wall, because the Jets run game will suffer immensely for it.
Also keep in mind that the Jets aren’t exactly saving a ton of money with the move, and it’s not like Richardson’s release allowed them to sign Revis. They are not linked. Richardson was set to make less than $1 million, which is nothing compared to Revis’ deal. One idea floating around is that the Jets will sign him back after week 1, thus making his salary non-guaranteed money. This seems to be a popular tactic this season for the Jets, as rumors indicate that they intend to do (or at least consider doing) the same with Laveranues Coles and Adalius Thomas.
The fact that two players were quoted as calling the move "Terrible," and “f------ ridiculous" should be all you need to know.
But back to Revis. The deal was becoming an absolute necessity if the Jets wanted to maintain their Super Bowl hopes. The pre-season showed that after Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, the Jets are fairly thin at corner. Not a big deal with Revis involved, because who needs top talent at the #4 and #5 spots on the depth chart? But without Revis, suddenly you’re starting a rookie (Wilson) and giving significant playing time to one of those suspect corners. Obviously this is still a possibility if Cromartie or Revis get hurt, but you can’t blame the front office for injuries.
The offense has sputtered throughout the pre-season, making the need for a dominate defense stronger by the day. With pass rusher Calvin Pace out for several weeks due to a broken foot, the D was already planning on limping into the season without its best pass rusher and its best corner. Fortunately, the latter has been taken care of. This allows Rex Ryan to call more blitzes without worrying about his man coverage, thus lessening the loss of Pace.
Are the fans happy that Revis is back? Of course. He’s the best corner in the game. At the same time, his other “core four” contract seekers took different routes to their deals, and thus are still on the fans’ good side. While D’Brickashaw Ferguson got his deal early, Nick Mangold and David Harris entered camp without new deals and play physically demanding positions that can result in an injury at any moment. You can’t say the same about Revis, yet he held out while they continued to practice and hit everything just as hard as if they had billion dollar deals in place. While Mangold eventually got his, Harris will play the season on the final year of his deal. The bottom line is that Revis will be welcomed back with open arms, but at the same time the shine of his Jet halo has lost a lot of its luster. If Revis struggles and doesn’t at least match his 2009 performance, the fans will let him know how they feel.
And speaking of struggling, should we expect Revis to be his dominant self right from the start, or will he need a few weeks to get back into form? He claims to have been training and working out on his own during the entire holdout, but that’s not exactly the same as pre-season action. The first two games are huge for the Jets, coming against playoff contenders in Baltimore and New England. Both teams feature strong passing attacks, and the Jets will heavily rely on Revis to come up big for them. There’s no time to work off the rust. Without Revis, and based on their poor pre-season (which players will tell you time and again is not a true measure of their capabilities), the Jets were tempting an 0-2 start. Now that he’s back on the roster, there are no excuses. They need to at least start 1-1.
It’s been a crazy few days for the Jets, and GM Mike Tannenbaum can be both proud and regretful o this Labor Day. Proud that he finally has Revis walking into the building, but regretful that it included a 35-day holdout and hopefully, he’s already regretting the Richardson move. And if he’s not, I’m guessing that after a few games, he will be.
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