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, the Jets said the team wasn't actively shopping Revis but was willing to listen to offers for all players. The Jets' 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 with New York 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, New York held firm and failed to re-negotiate 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 with Revis when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014. Revis, if healthy, could command an average salary of $12-$15 million per year next season. 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. New York head coach Rex Ryan built his entire scheme around Revis’ ability to shut down half 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 New York finished eighth in total defense in 2012. Most notably, the Jets also were second against the pass without Revis, allowing just 189.9 yards per game. New York allowed 201 passing yards per game in 2011 with Revis playing for a full season.
That is when it clicked that no player is irreplaceable for the Jets, even Revis. Life without "Revis Island" on defense wasn't so bad for New York. Antonio Cromartie had another Pro Bowl season, and former 2008 first-round pick Kyle Wilson was ready to step into the starting lineup. The Jets got plenty of practice playing without Revis last year and proved they can still be a top-10 defense.
Perhaps the biggest impact in trading Revis would be on Ryan. The embattled Jets head coach is entering his fifth season and a must-win year. Ryan and the Jets missed the playoffs for two straight years, and he probably has to end that streak this season 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 would simply be wasting another year of his career with a Jets team going 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 move forward in the future without Revis.