By Joe Giglio
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The news out of Florham Park and around the NFL that Darrelle Revis is on the trading block shouldn’t come as a shock to Jets fans. Coming off an ACL injury and looking for a lucrative, long-term contract after the 2013 season, Revis is a risk going forward.
And it’s one that new general manager John Idzik must take to move the franchise back into contention.
While any player — let alone one so reliant on legs, speed and lateral movement — coming off a season-ending knee injury would be a question mark moving forward, times have changed. It’s unfair and ignorant to believe that every player will come back stronger from debilitating knee injuries after seeing what Adrian Peterson did in 2012. But it isn’t crazy to think that Revis can do just that.
This isn’t Gale Sayers tearing his knee up decades ago or even Jason Sehorn in the infamous preseason game for the Giants. It’s 2013. Sports medicine is doing remarkable things, especially when it comes to repairing knees and elbows. If Revis puts the work in — which we know he will continue to do — there’s little reason to think that he won’t return at his old form. Further injury is always a concern, especially for someone who’s already had an ACL injury. Just look at Terrell Thomas of the Giants. It can’t be the driving factor behind a deal, though.
When healthy, Revis is the best defender in the NFL. Outside of injury concern, there’s only two reasons an organization would consider moving him: He’s about to become way too expensive or the draft picks received back in a deal could expedite a rebuilding process.
If it’s about money, Idzik and owner Woody Johnson need to sit down and figure out the salary cap and how a player of this caliber can fit in. It’s hard to look the fan base in the eye and tell them you can’t afford a top player when players like Santonio Holmes and David Harris make big money to be less than All-Pro caliber players. If it’s about hurt feelings from former contract squabbles, the organization must buckle down and settle the issue for good.
The idea of using Revis as a major trade chip to acquire top-tier talent in the draft is tremendous in theory, but harder in execution. It’s clear that the franchise needs more talent scattered through the roster. Depth is a major issue at most positions. Building through the draft is a policy that Idzik reiterated several times during his opening press conference at Florham Park on Thursday morning.
On the other hand, building a team on the back of transcendent defensive stars can also expedite the process back to AFC contention. If any two football people know this, they would be Rex Ryan and Idzik. Between the Baltimore defense built on the backs of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and the Seattle defense that Idzik recently helped to construct around Richard Sherman, top-flight defensive stars can change a team quickly.
There’s not an easy answer to the Revis conundrum. Rebuilding an empty Jets roster is the key to the process for the new GM. Starting with the best defensive player in the sport should be the way to go.
Luckily for the Jets, he’s currently on their roster.
Keep Revis and hope he remains a star or trade him for first-round draft picks — What to do? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…