You can’t blame New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis for wanting to cash in. He was just following in the footsteps of other prime-timers who used monster seasons to fatten their wallets. Houston’s Andre Johnson and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson each flipped the table on their respected ball clubs and demanded coin that better symbolized their worth. Both Johnsons had multiple years left on their current deals, at which they spat and demanded do-overs. Both moves were completely understandable; Chris ran for more than 2,000 yards last year and Andre churned in his third season in four years with 100-plus catches.

So where did that leave Revis? On the outside, looking to cash in. His new four-year, $46 million deal is a bit short of his original asking price of 10 years and $162 million, but it’s reasonable, it’s fair and – for the Jets’ sake – it’s vital.

The NFL has transitioned into an offensive freak show. You have basketball-sized receivers running 40-yard sprints in 4.2 seconds and sporting 40-inch vertical leaps.’
Quarterbacks rifling balls 60-plus yards and tight ends the size of offensive linemen running seam routes. All of this adds up to make Revis’ cornerback spot possibly the most important defensive position on the gridiron. You could argue that premium pass rushers are keys to NFL success, but only two of the top 10 sack leaders last season saw deeper postseason runs than Revis’ Jets squad.

And if we’re going to hand out extensions to Chris and Andre, keep in mind that neither player took a snap in last year’s postseason—unlike Revis who not only took snaps but made play after play in a three-game playoff showcase. The Jets’ Pro-Bowler had a season for the ages and despite not winning Defensive Player of the Year, he may have had the most impactful season of any defender last year. The caliber of players he locked down last campaign were as A-List as they come: Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Marques Colston; Reggie Wayne and Carolina’s Steve Smith were all lost on “Revis Island” at some point last season. The fact that the Jets made the league’s final four behind a 20-pick season from an inexperienced rookie quarterback speaks volumes of Revis’ talents and ability.

A 10-year, $162-million contract might have been a little crazy for my liking but his new four-year deal is right on the mark when it comes to the league’s premier cover guy. I’ll never be in favor of guys banking on major deals after only one great season, but as long as Andre and Chris are surfing the payout wave then the tide should drift toward “Revis Island” as well.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO