Analysis: Jets won’t live to regret passing on Darrelle Revis
It isn’t a nightmare, it isn’t the worst-case scenario and Darrelle Revis signing with the Patriots doesn’t change a single thing for the Jets.
There was a brief time when Jets fans flirted with the idea of a Revis return to the green and white, and why not? Traded away last season to the Buccaneers, Revis was set to be released in what looked to be one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history. The Jets used the first-round pick acquired in the trade on Sheldon Richardson, a player who looks like a franchise cornerstone.
To be able to sign Revis as a free agent just a year later at less money than before seemed too good to be true. Turns out it was.
But Jets fans don’t need to worry. They have emerged from this just fine and all that talk about a Patriots upgrade is overwrought. All that hand wringing about having to face Revis twice in a season is all fluff. It ignores the fact the Patriots did not get substantially better with this deal.
And the Jets still have plenty of room to get better.
With limited funds heading into free agency, New England spent a good chunk of their available money to sign Revis, a player they had to bring in after Aqib Talib went to the Broncos. But the Patriots made a lateral move in bringing in Revis, a player older and more injury prone than Talib. Revis isn’t substantially better than Talib — at best they’re even.
On the flip side, the Jets will still be players in free agency and be able to improve across the board. The same can’t be said about the Patriots.
The Jets have emerged as clear-cut winners from last spring’s trade with Tampa Bay. They have Richardson, who is young and talented and comes at a very good value. There is also that fourth-round pick they are owed from the Buccaneers, a pick which might give them flexibility to move up in this May’s draft. They also opened up salary cap flexibility by not having Revis on their roster. In short, they’ve added pieces bigger than Revis.
The Jets are adding balance and depth to their roster and won’t be as top heavy as years past. Adding Revis at the right price would have been nice — but getting him at a price that would have limited their ability to add other pieces would have been a return to the failed policies that led them to needing to rebuild.
This is not a doom and gloom scenario. It is smart NFL thinking by general manager John Idzik.
In the past, the Jets would have jumped at the opportunity to add Revis. After all, here is a player with mystique and swagger, a big name that could grab the headlines with his contract. But that philosophy kept them in salary cap hell and forced them last year to cut most of their big names and bring in stop-gaps. The ghost of Santonio Holmes haunts the Jets.
Now, with one of the biggest bankrolls heading into free agency, Idzik and the Jets were unwilling to mortgage their future, even for one year, with the signing of a Revis-type player. It might sting for Jets fans to see Revis, a player who rose to prominence in green and white, playing with their rivals in New England.
But it would have hurt fans more to see Revis tying up so much of their cap space and hindering their future.
The Jets will continue to get better, and they will do so without Revis on their roster.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.