Are the Jets Better Off Without Revis?
On November 4th, Twitter user @Jason_Owen tweeted at Revis, “Back in the good old days when @Revis24 played for a team that mattered. Wonder if 12MM per and Rex as coach has any merit vs Schaino & 16MM”. Revis responded simply, “naw 16 is better”. The controversy continued when Revis later complained of harassment from Jets fans on Twitter to the New York Post. He said Jets’ fans were bitter about his departure and that he was not “money hungry”.
Before I delve into the details of Revis’ departure and also revisit his Jet tenure, I want to make it clear that Revis is undoubtedly the best cornerback in football and will continue to hold that title for the foreseeable future. But make no mistake about it – Revis cares about one thing and one thing only: Revis.
When’s the last time you heard a professional athlete openly say they did not mind losing? At the time of Revis’ affirmation that he would sacrifice wins for dollars, the Buccaneers were 0-7. Aside from playing on a winless team (until this past Sunday), it was widely reported Revis was unhappy with head coach Greg Schiano's coaching style. Not only is Revis willing to tolerate losses, but also playing for a coach whose style and scheme he doesn’t agree with. Despite his tremendous skill, this is a player the Jets should be happy has moved on.
Over Revis’ Jet career, the truth that’s only seen in hindsight is that Revis showed his true colors, but fans were too enamored with his talent to see it. He held out 3 times in 5 seasons, including once before he had even played a single game. Revis’ uncle, former defensive end Sean Gilbert, had a clear influence on him. Revis has called Gilbert his mentor many times, and the pair’s get-paid-at-all-costs attitude stems from Gilbert’s own NFL contract issues. Gilbert held out for the entire 1997 season over a contract dispute with the Redskins and claimed that God appeared to him in a dream, showed him a check for $5 million, and told him that he shouldn’t take a penny less. The bottom line between the Jets and Revis was that if the Jets did not give him the money he wanted, he was out the door – plain and simple. It was always about the money and only the money.
Rex Ryan has taken a team that no one believed in and turned it into a viable playoff contender. He’s done it by getting his young team playing hard and playing together. The main piece of the haul from Revis’ trade was Tampa’s first round pick in this years’ draft, which turned out to be defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (13th overall). Richardson has been an integral part of the Jets’ dominant defensive line and early candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Jets also will get Tampa’s third round pick in next year’s draft in addition to several compensatory picks for their losses in free agency. After ridding themselves of the contracts of Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes at the end of the season, the Jets could have an estimated $25 million in cap space. For a team that needed to rebuild after last season, giving in to Revis' demands to the tune of a six-year, $96 million contract would have been foolish. However it’s only recently that Jets fans are seeing exactly how foolish it would have been.
All NFL fans have heard Vince Lombardi’s famous words, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. Lombardi imparted his immortal words in 1959 on the first day of Packer’s training camp - except he didn’t. Lombardi later admitted he was misquoted and his original words were, “Winning isn't everything, the will to win is everything”. This is a will Revis just doesn’t have in him.