Sunday, April 21, 2013
Reaction: Revis, Jets are splitsville
By Rich Cimini
Quick thoughts on the The Trade, Darrelle Revis to the Bucs:
1. BOMBSHELL: Wow. Make that, double wow. It had been speculated for a couple of months, but it's still jarring when a player of Revis' stature -- still in the prime of his career -- gets traded. This sort of thing doesn't happen a lot in the NFL. It's sad, really. He's one of the best players in franchise history, a once-in-a-decade talent, and yet he won't finish his career with the team that drafted and developed him.
2. BLAME GAME: I blame everyone. The Jets messed up three years ago when they had leverage and failed to execute a long-term extension, settling for the so-called "Band-Aid" contract and inserting a no-franchise-tag clause in the deal. They also didn't try very hard to sign Revis to an extension before the trade, no matter what owner Woody Johnson says. Is that any way to run a franchise? Blame Revis, too. From Day 1, he was all about the money, always looking for his next big score. He could've accepted a little less, a la Tom Brady, for the good of the team. But he pushed the envelope, demanding that he top the market.
3. COMPENSATION: The Jets didn't exactly squeeze the Bucs. They received the Bucs' first-round pick (13th overall), plus a conditional fourth-rounder in 2014; it can improve to a third-round pick if Revis is on the Bucs' roster the third day of the 2014 league year. And that's it. This is considerably less than what the Vikings received recently for WR Percy Harvin, who netted first- and fifth-round picks 'in '13 and a third-rounder in '14 from Seattle. The Jets would've received a third-round compensatory pick in 2015 if they had let Revis walk as a free agent in 2014. So, basically, they traded him for the 13th pick. As for Revis, he signed a six-year, $96 million contract that includes no guaranteed money. Yes, no guarantees. He'll make $16 million per year.
4. IT'S GONNA BE A LONG YEAR: The Jets are officially in a full-blown rebuilding mode. Revis was the best player on the team (when healthy), and now they're left with four or five very good players and a whole lot of mediocrity. They didn't view Revis as part of the solution; the Jets saw him as their only asset, a bargaining chip, one they hope can accelerate the rebuilding process. It's risky. Realistically, what are the odds of finding another player of his caliber? The way the Jets have drafted in recent years, it's about 1,000-to-1.
4. WOE IS REX: Rex Ryan might have been better off getting fired after last season, because he's doomed in 2013. The Jets have parted ways with 11 starters, counting Revis, a roster strip-down that makes them only a notch or two better than an expansion team. In the big picture, it's the right approach, but Ryan doesn't have the luxury of being able to watch this grow over the next few years. He needs to win ... now. His new boss, GM John Idzik, has hung him out to dry. You have to wonder if Ryan was told this was coming when he received word from ownership that he'd be back for 2013. Ryan has partly responsible for this mess -- he had input into personnel decisions under GM Mike Tannenbaum -- but this still qualifies and cruel and unusual punishment.
5. DEFENSIVE FALLOUT: The good news is, the Jets still have an above-average cornerback tandem, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, both of whom are signed for two more years. Cromartie emerged as a legitimate No. 1 corner after Revis' injury, which -- this sounds weird -- made Revis expendable in the eyes of the Jets. The bad news is, they unloaded a unique talent, a shutdown corner with the rare ability to eliminate the opponents' No. 1 receiver. That played perfectly in Ryan's defensive philosophy, giving him more freedom to blitz. He'll have to adjust, shifting the focus to the front seven. He needs pressure players, and it's imperative they find a top-notch pass-rusher in the draft. No pass rush and no Revis equals bad defense.