FOXBORO -- Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis’ level of play is in freefall.
When the Jets last played 10 days ago, Revis got lit up by Titans wideout Kenny Britt for 98 yards on five catches. In the first half. Britt finished with seven catches for 109 yards. A parade of receivers has exploited the once-great corner this year. He has two passes defensed and no interceptions to date.
This isn’t what the Jets expected when they signed Revis to a five-year, $70 million deal that included $39 million fully guaranteed and $48 million over the first three years. After just 23 games (Revis played 14 last year and has played nine for the 3-7 Jets), Jets media is already analyzing just how costly it will be to the team if it throws Revis overboard after the season.
Revis and the Patriots, of course, had a mutually beneficial one-year fling in 2014.
The Patriots won a Super Bowl thanks in large part to the outstanding coverage work of the secondary as a whole all season long. Revis was singularly outstanding. But he also raised the level of play of the players around him. His presence allowed the team to play a much more aggressive style that really hadn’t been done with success since Ty Law was roaming the secondary. And Revis’ willingness to tutor teammates who idolized him imbued players like Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty and, yeah, Malcolm Butler, with a higher level of knowledge and confidence. Revis may have given up a TD in Super Bowl 49 when he was picked by an official, but the case could be made that the butterfly effect of Revis’ presence may have helped Butler have the sack to make the play he did to seal the game.
Revis wasn’t in it for the long haul in New England, though. The two-year, $32 million contract, which included a prohibitive 2015 salary of $20 million, ensured he was a one-year player for the Pats. After Revis earned his ring in February after going through a year of the strict, high-intensity, heavy-workload atmosphere in New England, he hit the free agent market in March of 2015.
It was a bag job deal from the start for the Jets, as a behind-the-negotiations story demonstrated. The post-Rex Jets needed something to invigorate their fans and they weren’t going to be outbid on Revis.
When Revis signed with the Jets, the usual suspects trotted out the four horsemen of the Patriots apocalypse: Cheap, Arrogant, Entitled and . . . Arrogant II
My opinion at the time was this:
Revis was Revis. The Patriots were the Patriots.
If the Patriots kept bidding, the Jets weren’t going to fold.
Still, the “JUST SHOULDA PAID HIM!!!” howling continues from people who, I presume either grew up with the silverest of spoons in their mouths or have the kind of personal credit score only a 2007 subprime mortgage lender would love.
Theirs is a special kind of outrage which is backed by this grade-school logic: The Patriots won a Super Bowl with Darrelle Revis and hadn’t won one in the 10 years previous. Ipso facto…!
These are people who should kneel and thank Wes Welker’s tiny hands for not rendering that argument completely moot. Had Welker caught a certain difficult-to-handle pass in February, 2012 then they’d be without a net.
The Patriots didn’t really have a choice in the Revis matter. They were used as a stalking horse. Credit them for realizing it and pushing away from the table but they chose to not re-sign Revis the same way I chose not to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
With the Patriots set to play the Jets for the first time this season, Bill Belichick was asked about Revis’ level of performance.
Belichick was complimentary. But it was telling that he had to go back to 2015 to cite a play where Revis was Revisy.
“Just go back to our game,” Belichick said. “Had a big interception against us down there. Would never underestimate that player. He’s good. He’s a good competitor.”
Since signing with the Jets, Revis’ off-field timeline has been dotted with foolishness.
Weeks after he signed with the Jets he got in an Instagram pissing contest with a Patriots fan and sideswiped the Patriots along the way. After a 60 Minutes interview, his former friend John Geiger called Revis a pothead, a d***head and several other things that didn’t have “head” attached to them. Feelings were bruised when Revis’ mother was turned away from the Patriots’ ring ceremony. He fired his agents. He’s suing his agents. And he says his body is breaking down.
Be all that as it may, Revis delivered for the Patriots in the one season he was here
Said Devin McCourty, “He was just a great player for us. His ability to do what we asked him to do in a defense that was really tough (was remarkable). To be able to go out there and assign (individual receivers) and really stop them, that was a big part of what we were able to do in 2014 week in and week out. From a teaching standpoint, his knowledge of playing in a couple of different systems and how he viewed the game and how he viewed matchups it definitely helped the whole secondary.”
The Patriots should be thankful for the year Revis had with them in 2014. And eternally thankful to the Jets for making sure they were the ones that won the Revis Sweepstakes 20 months ago.