How Eric Decker helped mend the New York Jets’ wound

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The New York Jets took a little bit of a shot Wednesday night when the New England Patriots reeled in all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis.

They struck back.

Just hours after reports surfaced that Revis, the one-time cornerstone of Gang Green’s defense, agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract with the rival New England Patriots, the Jets locked up arguably their top free-agent target and probably the best receiver on the market in Eric Decker.

It was a move that likely helped preserve the sanity of many Jets fans following the Revis developments. After all, it was just a few hours before when the Jets, themselves, appeared to be frontrunners to re-acquire his services. Reportedly, coach Rex Ryan lobbied for Revis, but the higher-ups couldn’t bring themselves to drop $12 million on a player who held out with the Jets three different times before last offseason’s trade.

Some may look at the Revis-to-Patriots ordeal as a fail for the Jets. They need to take a breather.

The Jets had to trade Revis last year. Paying a cornerback $16 million – as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were willing to do – is absurd, and it’s precisely why Revis was shipped out of Florida less than a year later. Meanwhile, New York drafted defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson with the pick it acquired in the Revis trade. You know, that Defensive Rookie of the Year guy.

It’s this simple: If Richardson continues to improve in 2014 and the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl, then it’s kind of a win for the Jets.

Basically, it’s do-or-die for the Patriots. They’ll certainly be able to move some money around for the short-term in order to fit Revis into the budget, but that money has to get moved somewhere, so at some point, it will have financial implications for the team.

Now, the Jets do need a cornerback, but after building arguably the best defensive front in the NFL, they don’t need to be spending that kind of cash on the position, especially at the expense of their wide receiver corps. Ryan has built the defense from the middle out — how championship teams do it.

That said, general manager John Idzik’s next move should, in fact, be to sign a potential starting corner to work opposite Dee Milliner. The team is reportedly hosting former Carolina Panthers defensive back Captain Munnerlyn Thursday. Also, recently released Antonio Cromartie is still out there and very ripe to re-sign, while Dominique Rogers-Cromartie remains unemployed, as well.

With continued progress in the pass rush, any of said players are more than capable of rounding out the defense. Because it’s not Revis’ defense anymore. It’s Richardson’s.

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