Two years after bringing home Darrelle Revis with the richest contract in franchise history, the New York Jets have informed their former Pro Bowl cornerback that they will release him on March 9, the start of the league calendar.
The announcement, made Tuesday night by the team, came as no surprise and culminated months of speculation. Revis, 31, suffered a sharp decline in skill and was scheduled to count $15.3 million against the 2017 salary cap.
Revis' ouster came 11 days after he was charged with four felonies, including aggravated assault, stemming from his alleged role in a street fight in his hometown of Pittsburgh. He is due in court March 15 for a pre-trial hearing.
His legal issues didn't factor into the team's decision to release him, a source said, adding that it was "100 percent football related." The Jets are in rebuilding mode, and sources said the organization had decided weeks ago to release Revis.
In a span of four days, the Jets parted ways with Revis and center Nick Mangold, two of the most accomplished players in franchise history.
Revis took to Twitter to thank the organization.
Revis won't go away empty-handed. Per the five-year, $70 million contract he signed in 2015, he is due a $6 million guarantee for 2017. That amount can be defrayed by what he makes in 2017 from another team.
The team won't try to recoup the $6 million, a source said. Revis' recent arrest fueled speculation the Jets could try to contest the guarantee. The team performed its obligatory due diligence on the matter, studying the contract language, but decided not to pursue the matter.
The Jets cleared $9.3 million in cap space by cutting Revis.
Revis had indicated a willingness to accept a pay cut, but one was never offered. He also offered to switch to safety, but the Jets never gave serious consideration to that idea, a source said.
"Darrelle Revis is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Jets uniform," owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. "His combination of talent, preparation and instincts is rare and helped him become one of the most dominant players of his generation. I appreciate Darrelle's contributions to this organization and, wherever his career takes him, his home will always be here with the Jets."
Revis returned to the Jets in 2015 after winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. It was hailed as one of the biggest acquisitions in team history -- he received $39 million fully guaranteed -- but the second marriage failed to live up to expectations.
He made his seventh Pro Bowl in 2015, but Revis wasn't the same player last season. He admittedly reported to training camp out of shape, and he was embarrassed on several occasions in coverage.
"Darrelle is the consummate professional and one of the greatest to ever play the cornerback position," coach Todd Bowles said.
Revis, a first-round pick in 2007, ascended to stardom early in his career and became known as the premier cornerback in the NFL. His ability to dominate top receivers launched the "Revis Island" moniker.
"When you're dealing with a player of Darrelle's caliber, these decisions are extremely hard to make," general manager Mike Maccagnan said. "We all have a great deal of respect for Darrelle, and the significance of his time with the Jets cannot be overstated. He provided an example of how a pro should approach his craft and established his place in NFL history as one of the best at his position."
Revis also became known for his contract problems, and a bitter dispute led to his trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. The Jets received a first-round pick from the Bucs, which they used to select defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.