Milliner Is Charged With Filling Largest Shoes In 5 Boroughs And Beyond

By Jason Keidel
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The logic is flawless.

Banish your best player after one surgery for someone with five surgeries.

Draft a cornerback because you have a need at cornerback, but you only have the need at cornerback because you jettisoned one of the five best ever to play the position.

Give the replacement millions in guaranteed money, when the exponentially better player in his prime didn’t get a dime guaranteed.

Based on the CBA and players drafted near Dee Milliner’s spot over the last few years (Ryan Tannehill, Aldon Smith, Mark Barron, etc.), he will get around $8 million guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus — a little more than half of his overall contract.

Sure, Darrelle Revis is essentially assured the first two years of his Tampa Bay deal ($32 million), but he would only be paid big cash if his cachet were still intact. We all know teams take a flame thrower to the back end of any contract. In essence, Revis signed a $48 million contract, as most of us would be stunned if he were still the league’s best cornerback in four years.

I love Jets fans who say that Revis is overrated, that cornerbacks are overvalued because they can only remove one receiver against four-wide sets, but then they laud the franchise for taking a cornerback with the first pick.

“Idzik killed it!” we hear. People are really saying that.

And if you really think Milliner and Sheldon Richardson are two of the four best players in the entire draft (according to the Jets), then, well, insert punch line here. Like Mike Francesa said, they took two solid players who are still variables. You’ll have to decide if that was worth losing Milliner’s famed, inflamed predecessor.

It’s nothing against Milliner, but he’s charged with filling the largest shoes in the five boroughs and beyond. Marshall Faulk talked about it on Thursday, that there will be inordinate pressure beyond simply playing in NYC. No one is more aware of Milliner’s college pedigree than yours truly.

I started signing SEC fight songs long before it was universally anointed as the best conference in the country. Drafting a Nick Saban stud is always prudent, even if Charley Casserly told Boomer and Carton this morning that Milliner was overvalued because this draft is weak. This isn’t about the picks, per se, as much as it is the people who picked them.

The Jets wear a splintered crown. They lost Revis because the owner wanted him gone. They have Rex Ryan because the owner wants him. And perhaps they spent the first two picks on defense — surprise! — because Ryan wanted them.

Not one accomplished GM would have taken the Jets job because his power is marginalized before he begins. A GM’s first task is to build a nucleus, which begins with men in headsets — not helmets. And it starts with the head coach. But the HC of the NYJ is ensconced in his post.

You almost pity Idzik, who must gut the team he inherited, but is forced to keep one paw in his pocket. He was ordered to trade Revis because he made the shampoo heir’s hair stand at the negotiating table.

Idzik was gelded the day he opened the door, ordered to remold a moribund roster with a fraction of the traction normally afforded a newly-minted boss. Does anyone doubt that he would have fired Ryan on the spot if he could? Does anyone doubt he will in nine months after the Jets tank again?

In a few hours you’ll be buried in your mancave, snacks scattered across the couch, a cold can of Friday night glued to your palm. Many of you would like to forget Revis, or at least the notion that a transcendent talent like Revis was on your team a week ago and now no longer is.

Fair enough. It is time to move on.

But it’s hard to be honest about the present if we can’t be candid about the past — which, as William Faulkner said, isn’t really the past.

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