NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Todd Bowles doesn’t see the big deal the Jets gave Darrelle Revis a few years ago as a bad investment.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the Jets’ head coach said general manager Mike Maccagnan’s decision to give Revis a five-year, $72 million contract, with $39 million guaranteed, was sound.
That’s despite the future Hall of Fame cornerback’s subsequent decline and off-the-field problems, and the reality that his release resulted in $6 million in “dead” money against the 2017 salary cap.
“No. I think it was a good idea,” Bowles said. “I think it was a good call at the time. Obviously, he didn’t play as well this year. Neither did anybody else. But he’s a good football player. That doesn’t bother me at all.”
Revis will be looking for a new team as of 4 p.m. on March 9, the first day of free agency. If there is a silver lining to the end of the “Revis Island” era, it’s that the Jets did save $9.3 million against the cap by releasing the seven-time All-Pro.
The decision to do so was another in a series of moves the team has made this offseason to shed payroll, get younger and put last season’s 5-11 disaster in the rearview mirror. The Jets have also said goodbye to longtime center Nick Mangold, veteran left tackle Ryan Clady and kicker Nick Folk, among others, and now sit approximately $26.3 million under the NFL’s new $167 million cap.
And more moves could still come. The Jets are reportedly mulling what to do with veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall and enigmatic-yet-talented defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.
Revis’ return was supposed to be a coming-home party for one of the greatest players in franchise history. After Revis enjoyed six stellar seasons to begin his career, a much-publicized contract dispute compelled the Jets to trade him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. A year later, he got his Super Bowl ring as a member of the New England Patriots.
But after his option wasn’t picked up by the Pats, the pass defense-needy Jets swooped in and welcomed Revis back to Florham Park like a conquering hero. The plan was for him to resume his shutdown ways and allow the Jets to really only have to defend half the field.
What happened instead was anything but memorable. Revis did fine for the first 10 games of the 2015 season, but things went south in a hurry from there. His trademark blanket coverage was replaced by mere mortal status as some of the better receivers in the NFL started having their way with him.
The situation did not improve in 2016 as Revis, who will turn 32 in July, routinely got torched, and not just by star wideouts. It had become readily apparent that his best days as a cover corner were far behind him. And though the Jets contemplated moving the former first-round pick in 2007 to safety next season, they couldn’t do it and justify his $15.3 million cap charge.
“Obviously the business side of it, the dollars and cents in the offseason, that had a lot to do with it,” Bowles said. “Trying to project a guy from a corner to a safety with that kind of salary is kind of tough, too.
“We talked about (switching positions),” Bowles added. “Obviously if someone hasn’t played the position before, it’s a discussion. You don’t know if he can or he can’t.”
Then came Revis’ involvement in an incident on the streets of Pittsburgh in the early morning hours of Feb. 13. He was arrested for his alleged role in a street fight with two men. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 15.
Bowles insisted that Revis’ legal problems didn’t play a role in the Jets’ decision to cut ties.
“It’s shocking because I know the man,” he said. “Forget the football player, I know the man. I know he’s a good character, a good guy. Sometimes you get caught in situations where things happen. I don’t really know what happened or whose fault or anything like that. I just know the guy.”
When asked if he expects Revis to latch on with another team and get back to being the great player he once was, Bowles said, “I don’t know. He probably can. Revis can do anything he put his mind to.”