NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — First, the Belichick tug-of-war. Then Spygate. Now, in the latest example of bad blood between the Jets and Patriots, there’s a tampering scandal centering around Darrelle Revis.
According to a report by ESPN, tampering charges have been filed against the Jets after owner Woody Johnson said last month he’d be interested in Revis, the Patriots’ Pro Bowl cornerback and a former Jet, returning to the team.
The league is investigating and, if tampering is found, will determine how stiff the penalty should be, the report said. Recent examples of tampering have resulted in the NFL stripping teams of low-round draft choices.
During his Dec. 29 news conference to announce the firings of coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik, Johnson was asked about not being able to sign Revis last offseason. Johnson said he didn’t think he could land him, based on his previous experience with Revis’ agents.
“Darrelle’s a great player,” Johnson said. “I’d love to have Darrelle come back.”
The NFL’s anti-tampering policy prohibits “any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player.”
Johnson tried to backtrack from the comments later that day, with the team releasing a statement from the owner on Twitter.
“I misspoke today when I commented on Darrelle Revis,” Johnson said. “I would never interfere in the contractual relationship of a player with another team and should not have used those words. I called (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft this afternoon to emphasize those points.”
Revis signed last March with the Patriots for a deal worth $12 million this season. Revis was selected for the Pro Bowl, while the Jets mixed and matched several players at cornerback on a defense that struggled with its secondary.
The second year of Revis’ deal is a team option that would pay him $20 million next season with a monstrous cap hit of $25 million. So, Revis could potentially become a free agent again if the Patriots don’t renegotiate.
And that could potentially give Johnson and the Jets another chance to bring back one of the franchise’s most successful players.