In the end, Darrelle Revis preferred to play for a coach he once called a “jerk” than for a general manager he branded a liar.
What does that make Revis?
The New York Jets-Revis relationship and the Jets-New England Patriots rivalry took another crazy turn Wednesday night with the news that Revis Island is moving to the Bay State. Less than four hours after he was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the star cornerback ran to the Hoodie in New England, agreeing to a one-year, $12 million contract with the Patriots.
It surely is a nightmare for Jets Nation, seeing one of the best players in team history join forces with the Evil Empire to the northeast. It was a brilliant move by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, doling out a steep, but not-so-outrageous contract for one of the top corners in the NFL -- a move that has Jets fans asking, “Why didn’t we sign him?”
Don’t beat yourself up. It was never going to happen. Not ever.
Revis never wanted to return to the Jets; it was always the Patriots. He started thinking about the Patriots a year ago, when his bitter divorce from the Jets became imminent. It took him a year to reach his desired destination, enduring one miserable, but profitable ($16 million) season in Tampa, but he’s in position now to haunt the Jets, collect a bunch of money and maybe reach the Super Bowl.
When his release from the Bucs became inevitable, Revis’ people created a smokescreen, leaking half-truths about how he was “in love” with the idea of rejoining the Jets. They knew it would send the fans into a tizzy, screaming for Revis 2.0. It was a transparent public relations ploy, giving the fan base false hope and creating some leverage against the Patriots.
There was supposedly a discussion Wednesday between the Jets and Revis’ camp, with talk of a reunion. In fact, there were no substantive talks. Revis’ agent reached out to a Jets staffer, believed to be via text -- and it went no further than that. It never got to general manager John Idzik.
And that was the so-called discussion.
The Jets most certainly need a No. 1 cornerback, and maybe they deserve some criticism for not making a push to re-sign Revis. But it would’ve been moot anyway, because Revis Inc. wasn’t about to sign on the dotted line -- unless they offered $14 million. And that would’ve been ridiculous.
Sure, he would’ve listened, but only as a means of squeezing more loot out of the Patriots. If Revis was so in love with the idea of returning to the Jets, why did it take him only three-plus hours to accept the Patriots’ offer?
He didn’t want the Jets. They didn’t want him. Basically, nothing changed from last spring, when irreconcilable differences led to the trade. After the trade, Revis called out Idzik, saying the GM told him “a lie” about the organization’s plans for him.
Make no mistake, the Jets talked internally about Revis over the past couple of days. Coach Rex Ryan wanted him back, of course, but the feeling in the organization was that it didn’t want to take a chance on messing up the positive vibe it created at the end of last season. The Jets have a great deal of respect for Revis the player, but they didn’t want to deal with an annual contract drama from Revis Inc.
That he ends up with Belichick is ironic because, in a March 2012 interview at ESPN studios, he slammed the Patriots’ coach. In a word-association game, he called Belichick a “jerk.” A few weeks later, talking to reporters at the Jets’ facility, Revis piled on, making more unflattering comments about the coach.
And now they’re buds, Darrelle and Bill, united in their desire to torment the Jets. You have to hand it to the Patriots. Less than 24 hours after losing Aqib Talib, they replaced him with a better cornerback.
Revis wasn’t Revis last season -- “He looked mortal to me,” a longtime personnel executive said -- but he was coming off ACL surgery. He should be a better player in 2014, and you know he’ll do something to make Jets fans want to throw up in their beer cups.
Such is the Jets-Patriots rivalry. The Jets stole Bill Parcells and Curtis Martin, and the Patriots got Belichick and now Revis.
Jets fans have a right to be sick over this, but there’s no reason to be mad. They made a decision a year ago to abandon Revis Island. They’re happy with the early results. As for Revis, he’s turning into the most expensive rental in NFL history, a millionaire mercenary.