- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Sometimes relationships reach a point where there is no going back. The partnership is too fractured. Too much baggage and too many ill feelings make things unworkable.
Under no circumstances should Revis be in a Jets uniform in Week 1. Both sides are past the point of no return in their strained relationship.
The Jets began the offseason by keeping Revis in the dark. Then, they said they weren't actively shopping Revis but were willing to listen to offers for all players. This approach to trading Revis upset their best player and pushed him farther down the Gang Green ledge.
"This hit home," Revis recently said in a video interview with Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson. "This definitely hit home, especially being one of the best players out there and come to find out you’re getting shopped. It really hits home. But my main focus is it really doesn’t matter where I be at, I know what I can do. I’m confident in what I do. . . . whether it be there with the New York Jets or if it be with another team, I have to do what I have to do and play ball.”
Revis certainly is not without blame. Both sides contributed over the years to this impending split.
Revis has been all business with the Jets from the day he was drafted in the first round in 2007. He's had three contract squabbles in that span -- once as a rookie, and also in 2010 and 2012. Twice the Jets reached a resolution with Revis. But last summer, perhaps tired of this trend, they held firm and failed to renegotiate with Revis. Each instance had to cause some level of strain on their business relationship.
It's apparently at a point now where Jets owner Woody Johnson has little interest in going through another tough negotiation when Revis becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014. Revis, if healthy, could command an average salary of $12 million to $15 million per year with his next deal. The Jets would be hard-pressed to pay that kind of money to one player, and would be better off getting an attractive package of draft picks in a trade to rebuild the roster under first-year general manager John Idzik. Revis is the only strong bargaining chip New York currently has in the trade market.
Last season was an eye-opener for the Jets. Revis went down in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins with a season-ending knee injury. The defense was expected to fall apart. Coach Rex Ryan had built his entire scheme around Revis’ ability to shut down half of the field each week. However, Ryan proved again that he is a very good defensive mind by keeping the Jets strong on that side of the football.
Ryan masterfully adjusted his scheme without Revis, and the Jets finished eighth in total defense in 2012. Most notably, they also were second against the pass without Revis, allowing just 189.9 yards per game. They allowed 201 passing yards per game in 2011, with Revis playing a full season.
That is when it clicked for the Jets that no player is irreplaceable, even Revis. Life without "Revis Island" on defense wasn't so bad. Antonio Cromartie had another Pro Bowl season, and former 2010 first-round pick Kyle Wilson was ready to step into the starting lineup. The Jets got plenty of practice playing without Revis, and proved they still can be a top-10 defense.
Perhaps the biggest impact in trading Revis would be on Ryan. The embattled Jets coach is entering his fifth season and a must-win year. The Jets have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, and he probably has to end that streak this year to keep his job. Trading the team's best player would make it more difficult on Ryan.
However, other than Ryan's job security, there is no reason for this Revis-Jets marriage to continue. There are too many holes on this team for New York to be a contender. If he stayed, Revis simply would be wasting another year of his career with a Jets team headed nowhere, and he would be unhappy in the process.
It’s going to be a long and difficult rebuilding process for the Jets. But that process will move faster if the Jets stop holding on to the past and step forward without Revis.