As of this morning, Jets owner Woody Johnson, new GM John Idzik, and coach Rex Ryan are in Indianapolis evaluating draft prospects. Also in Indiana was agent Neil Schwartz, who represents several players, most notably the Jets’ All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Yes, the Jets brass has a great deal on their minds as the draft approaches, and yet they found time to meet with agents of Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, and Santonio Holmes. But they have not found time in their busy schedules to talk to Schwartz about their plans for Revis.
Last week Idzik was quoted as saying, “We’ve always wanted Darrelle as part of our team. That has not changed.” (I love that “always” and “our team” — before Jan 18 Idzik was with the Seattle Seahawks.” Translated from GM-ese into English: “That could change.”
A few days ago Ryan said at a press conference, “Could there be a trade? Yeah, anybody could be traded. But do I expect there to be a trade for Darrelle Revis? No. But that doesn’t mean something couldn’t come up.” Translation: “If we can get something good for Revis that would save us the six million we’re now paying him and the one million booster bonus we owe him as of March 15, and, God knows, the 10 or 12 or even 16 million he’s going to ask for next year when his contract is up, then, yeah, damn right we’ll trade him.”
There’s a lot of issues surrounding Revis, most notably how he’s rehabbing from the torn cruciate ligament suffered last October, but early reports are promising, and Revis is expected to be ready for the starting of training camp.
When he’s whole, Revis may well be the best defensive back — many would say the best defensive player — in the NFL. What he is without question is the best player on the New York Jets. And when any team schemes for a way to deal its best player in his prime — Revis is 27 — it means only one thing: they don’t expect to win anything in the coming season so they may as well cut some costs.
The thing is, New York sports fans are not accustomed to hearing this. But they’re going to be. From here on in for the next few months you can expect to pick up the paper or go online to find out that every New York team is ditching its best guys. Precedents have definitely been set. Last year, the Mets let Jose Reyes go after he won the batting title (and, granted, he lost 50 points off his batting average last year with the Florida Marlins but was probably still one of the two or three best the all-around shortstops in baseball), then this year they waved bye to R.A. Dickey after he won the Cy Young award, all in the name of fiscal responsibility.
The Yankees left their starting catcher, Russell Martin, who hit 21 home runs last year, out on the doorstep because they couldn’t outbid the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then they lost their ace closer, Rafael Soriano, who posted 42 saves, because their pockets weren’t as deep as those of the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, the Giants walked away from their leading rusher, Ahmad Bradshaw, and long-time defensive end, Osi Umenyiora.
Reyes and Dickey both signed with the team that looked to be just one or two players of making championship run, the Toronto Blue Jays. So did Soriano, who you’ll probably see in the World Series in October. It’s a pretty a good bet that Bradshaw and Umenyiora will have similar good fortune. And so, probably, will Revis, just before St. Patrick’s Day weekend when that one million dollar check is due.
And so New York professional sports continues its steady drive towards sports mediocrity. The Knicks, so far, are resisting the temptation to cut players and increase profits, but the year is young.