Thankfully, it’s over. After months of hurt feelings and unnecessary posturing in the press, the New York Jets shipped star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 13th pick in the upcoming NFL draft and a conditional pick next year.
While the fair (sarcasm), unbiased (more sarcasm), and agenda free (no hint needed) New York based media has largely bashed Woody Johnson and John Idzik for their decision to part with Revis, the truth of the matter is that both parties ended up getting exactly what they wanted; for Revis, it was always about getting paid, and for the Jets it was about accumulating more picks to rebuild with.
Revis might very well be the best player the Jets ever drafted, a true “shutdown corner”. For the better part of his six-year tenure with the team he basically toyed with the top receivers in the game and played an integral role in New York reaching the AFC Championship game in consecutive seasons. Despite his scary skills, the Jets had zero interest in meeting his long-term salary demands and couldn’t see the rationale in paying a cornerback such huge dollars for the foreseeable future. Luckily for Revis, the Bucs had the money and the need, and on Sunday they decided to make him the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL history.
In the end for the Jets, it simply didn’t matter how great of a player Revis was for them in the past or will be in the future. It came down to value, and for a franchise that has clearly hit the reset button, they took an offer that made sense for them. Why keep Revis around if: a. you had no desire to renegotiate his current deal and pay a non-qb that kind of baller money, b. chances are he was going to hold out again for a new deal next summer, c. he’s coming off of ACL surgery, and d. with or without him, the odds of the team making the playoffs next year are slim.
That last point is really the tipping point in all of this. Unless you have a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning calling the shots, it is extremely difficult to remain competitive year in and year out in the NFL. Some teams are good at treading water, but most reach the point where they have to break their rosters down and build them back up. The Jets had a good run in 2009 and 2010, but what we have seen from them the last two seasons is a slow, aging roster that was in desperate need of some fresh parts. How many more times did we need to see Bart Scott getting beat on the edge or Calvin Pace failing to put any kind of pressure on opposing QBs (what’s that you say, they decided to bring Pace back?!?!).
Idzik comes to New York from Seattle, an organization that in two years successfully transformed its core by building through the draft and stockpiling young players. He might be trying to use the same model in New York, and in his initial draft as GM he will now have two first-round picks to work with. Of course, finding the next Russell Wilson would help alleviate the grieving process of losing Revis for some Jet fans, but either way Mike Greenberg and the rest need to turn the page and see the big picture. Though Rex Ryan might not be around to see this plan come to fruition, the building blocks are being laid for the Jets to return to relevancy by the 2015 season.
Now, if they could only find a suitor for Mark Sanchez…