When the New York Jets traded Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, it was the culmination of years of nasty negotiations between the star cornerback and owner Woody Johnson. Gang Green's needy, nerdy owner consistently hated getting shown up by the star he needed, and Revis wanted to get paid like the star he was. Two years removed from back-to-back AFC championship appearances, Johnson decided enough was enough. He handpicked a GM (John Idzik) who shipped Revis off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a draft pick.
What followed for the Jets were two disastrous seasons in which they shed payroll without adding any players of value, and bet big and mostly lost on young QB Geno Smith. Idzik turned out to be a one-man gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight, a befuddled mess of a manager who unable to convince the toothy New York media that he had anything like a plan for the team.
In the meantime, Revis had a great year in Tampa Bay, followed by a championship season with the New England Patriots. If one could declare a winner of the divorce between Revis and the Jets, is there really any question? Yesterday, he won again.
By giving Revis the gargantuan contract, Jets owner Woody Johnson and new GM Mike Maccagnan aren’t necessarily fixing their team. The Jets lack a quarterback (this doesn’t help), a running back, and depth on either side of the football. But what the deal does accomplish is buying back Jets fans trust, giving them a recognizable and beloved name to root for.
Revis jumped at the five-year, $70 million deal (including $39 million guaranteed) because it’s a truly ridiculous NFL contract for a cornerback. He’d be stupid not to take it. As much as Revis loves New York, it’s just not likely that he’ll be winning Super Bowls again any time soon. But in classic Revis fashion, it looks like he’s won again. He got to be a winner and make the money he deserves. Now he’s just got to hang back and watch opposing quarterbacks torment every other defensive back on the Jets.
Photos by Joe Camporeale/USA Today