2016: The breaking point, and even perhaps the end of a Hall of Fame career for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. In all likelihood, however, Revis will remain in the NFL come 2017. But wearing Jets Green on Sundays? That’s another topic for debate.
Due $15 million in 2017, the Jets cannot afford to pay an aging corner, whose wheels appear to be falling off the wagon, that much money. Asked in December regarding his openness to take a pay cut, Revis said “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens next year. We’ll see. Lot of things going on. We’ll see. We’ll figure it out,” via ESPN.
Leaving the door open for a possible exit from New York Revis is? Perhaps. But let’s say Revis does take a pay cut, how much is he willing to take and what are the Jets willing to pay him to keep him around (for whatever it’s worth at this point in his career). Let’s say they split the $15 million to $8 million (which is a longshot). Is he still worth that figure?
As of now, Revis is the second highest paid cornerback behind the Redskins Josh Norman. Undeniably, Revis’ game has declined in rapid fashion, but can he still be a capable corner for roughly $8 million? Though he definitely didn’t live up to expectation ($17 million collected in 2016), could a change of position garner himself a roster spot in 2017 with a pay cut.
There’s no doubt in my mind that some sort of change will occur in 2017 regarding Revis. The Jets won’t leave him alone by himself like they did for most of 2016. As far as a change of position goes, will he be moved to slot/nickel back? Or could he be moved to play free safety and the last line of defense for the Jets?
If moved inside to slot he would definitely be the highest paid slot corner even if he takes a substantial pay cut down to $8 million a year. If the Jets feel he’s still an asset inside and comes to terms of agreement on his pay cut, a move inside could be what the doctor ordered for Revis.
He’ll still face some of the league’s fastest and most agile receivers, though, and his lack of fluidity does raise major questions on his ability to cover speedsters throughout the field. Revis has played in the slot (predominately when guarding the #1 receiver who lines up inside), so taking him off #1 targets and placing him on #3 and #4 receivers could definitely do him some good.
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Many Jets fans have discussed moving Revis to free safety. Revis alluded to the move back before the season began. “There will probably be conversations in the future about maybe moving my position to safety,” Revis said per NJ.com, back in August. Head coach Todd Bowles responded to questions about the move saying “It’s something we may talk about in the offseason” via NJ.com.
My concerns with the move to free safety are how Revis would transition to a position that requires deep zone responsibility, not to mention the backbone of the defense. In his prime, Revis was no sit back zone corner. He had receivers locked down under his hands and arms. This season, Revis played much more zone coverage, and as seen from the highlights from the video above, he didn’t look comfortable. His lack of instincts at age 31 were exposed this season and at free safety, it could get a whole lot worse.
Lastly, the Jets could cut Revis. He’s only due $6 million in 2017, so if he was cut, and picked up for $5 million, the Jets would owe the remaining $1 million left. This seems like the popular option for the Jets, who need to get younger on both sides of the ball.
When it’s all said and done, I do think Revis will remain a Jet for likely one more year. From a financial standpoint, it may not make a whole lot of sense but the Jets are desperate for leaders with how corrupt of a season it was in 2016. You might question how much of a true leader Revis was for the Jets this past year, but he’s a former All-Pro and is one of the few players that seems to have gained respect in the Jets locker room.