By Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
The popular belief these days is Darrelle Revis will get traded, but not before he shows that he’s 100 percent healthy and once again capable of being the best cover corner in the NFL.
But that was before the San Francisco 49ers decided it was best to get their hands on virtually every pick in the upcoming draft.
The Niners have but one true weakness and that’s in the secondary. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco abused them in the Super Bowl. You can make a case that if they had suited up someone with game to cover Anquan Boldin the Niners would have beaten the Ravens rather easily and added another Vince Lombardi Trophy to their already impressive collection.
It now appears the 49ers know full well what they need to do — meet the Jets’ steep asking price for Revis, a player that could very well keep the status quo going in the NFC for several years.
San Francisco is expected to have an astonishing 15 picks, including compensatory selections, in April’s draft. Considering the exceptional way the Niners have done business of late, they are in the very enviable position of being able to add the kind of depth that could keep them ahead of the hard-charging Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West for the time being. And that’s without trading for Revis. However, in this world of win-now, especially when you have the ultimate defensive weapon at your fingertips, why leave anything to chance?
The Niners would be nuts not to pull the trigger. That is if they truly believe, as I do, that medical science and Revis’ work ethic will get him back to being the all-world force that he was. If they believe all of that and can offer a contract that would make Revis happy, something that is doable despite this player’s Herculean appetite for money, well, you’d have the NFC’s best team already basically become unstoppable.
There are many out there who are holding on to this hope that the Jets will keep Revis, but with each passing day it looks more and more like they won’t. General manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan didn’t exactly extinguish the flames of fear during their press conferences at the NFL Combine. Sure, they said Revis is this and that and important to what the Jets hope to accomplish during their rebuilding process, but they never flat out said he’s not available. They left the door open somewhat publicly, when in reality it has been wide open privately for a very long time.
And while the 49ers could offer their first-round pick, No. 31 overall, the first of their second-round picks, No. 34, and other selections later to acquire Revis, the Jets have to be smart here and not necessarily jump at what appears to be the most attractive deal on the table.
The Jets need Idzik to call his former employers in Seattle and gauge their interest, because the Seahawks could have as many as 12 picks with compensatories and must know that their rivals adding Revis would be the type of blow that could take years to overcome regardless of how good Pete Carroll’s bunch is or figures to be going forward.
If the Seahawks were to get into the game and somehow land Revis at the expense of some combination of a player (corner Brandon Browner comes immediately to mind) and picks, they’d have maybe the greatest secondary on paper in NFL history, when you consider it would also include incredible talents in corner Richard Sherman, Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas and safety Kam Chancellor.
I’d like to see Colin Kaepernick try to navigate that minefield.
So the idea here if you are the Jets is to get the 49ers and the Seahawks, if both are truly committed to the Revis way of life, into a room and play them off each other, because if Idzik were to do this and come out with an incredibly deep haul, he’d earn currency for quite a while with right-thinking Jets fans who know Revis has to go. And for those who would remain upset the Jets traded away arguably the greatest player in franchise history, well, they’d eventually get over it, because they’d eventually come to the realization that this team has a billion holes to fill and little money at this point to fix the problems. The draft must be the answer until more of these absurd contracts come off their ledger. The sooner the non-believers get that through their thick skulls, the better.
Having San Francisco and Seattle try to one-up each other is a great way to turn a very good package into an immortal package, and whatever it potentially ends up being will only hasten the Jets’ plan of becoming relevant again.
The Jets have more pressing needs to worry about than a player in Revis that, despite all of his talents, they went 8-8 with two years ago. What about last season you may wondering? Yes, the Jets went 6-10 basically without Revis, but they did not allow a single 100-yard receiving game. The Jets’ main issue was on the other side of the line of scrimmage. They had the worst offense in football, and everyone knows it.
A ton of draft picks and some stealthy salary cap maneuvers will begin to change that.
Idzik is definitely a mystery man at this point. I think he has the moxie and intelligence to do what is necessary, mostly because he seems hell bent on not repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Tannenbaum. The Jets going forward won’t be about the big splash, nor will they attempt to throw money at problems by backloading everything and dealing with it later.
That philosophy did work initially, but we’ve all seen the mess that approach makes later when that 20-something with potential turns into a 30-something with deteriorating skills and a gigantic price tag.
Idzik just has to play this Revis thing out until the last possible second, leave no stone unturned and play the games all good GMs play when one of their star players becomes available.
Get in touch with San Francisco. Hang up and then call Seattle. Ignore the posturing both are sure to display, because in the end the Jets have Revis, who could very well be the final piece for both of them in a race to a Super Bowl title or two.
Which one wants him more? That’s for Idzik to find out and exploit.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
What’s the minimum return you would take in a trade involving Revis? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …