Darrelle Revis was once the most feared cornerback in the NFL, but the free agent hasn’t been eagerly pursued since being released by the New York Jets in February.
New information is coming out that may shed more light on the why behind this lack of interest.
“ESPN.com contacted officials from four different teams — a head coach, a team executive, a personnel director and a scout — and the consensus is there’s no market for Revis because of a significant decline last season and whispers about his commitment,” Rich Cimini wrote Monday.
It’s easy to understand why teams might question Revis’ commitment to the game. Last year, his effort (if you can call it that) was laughable at times, and he even admitted he was falling apart physically.
However, since then he says he’s lost weight and is training hard to make a comeback after experiencing his worst season as a pro. Whether that translates to better production on the field remains to be seen.
Cimini said the four he interviewed do think there is still a place for the cornerback in the NFL but noted he just isn’t the same dominant player who owned his own island for so many years.
“He has lost a step with his age and some change-of-direction [ability] with his knee [surgery in 2012],” said the head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I still believe he can do an adequate job at corner. I’m not sure if he has the range for free safety. He used to be a physical tackler, but with age that’s gotten worse, so playing strong safety is out of the question. Let him play corner with some protection and he’ll do fine.”
On top of his tumultuous 2016 campaign on the field, Revis ran into trouble off of it when he was accused of assaulting two men, or at least being a part of the attack. Ultimately, he was cleared of all charges in court and has since been cleared by the NFL, which will not discipline him.
Set to earn $6 million this year, whether he plays or not, Revis could simply opt to retire if he doesn’t receive any interest. This is an option that at least one former teammate wouldn’t be surprised to see happen.
“No, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Jets tackle Ben Ijalana said last week. “He has played at a high level and he’s done everything, including a championship. [He has] all the accolades — all-this, all-that, all-world. If he retires, I’d respect that decision. If he still wants to play, I’m watching him.”
However, another former Jets teammate, linebacker David Harris, doesn’t think this is an option Revis would consider at this time.
“I think he’ll keep playing,” Harris said. “I think he has a lot of football left in him. He didn’t have his best year last year, and he knew that. I’m sure somebody will pick him up. He knows too much about the sport and he’s too good a player to be finished.”
It’s going to be fascinating to see where Revis ends up playing in 2017. Based on everything he’s said in recent months, we don’t see him retiring.
At the same time, we also don’t see him inking a contract that anyone can view as lucrative. After setting the standard by which all other top-end cornerbacks aim to match in terms of compensation throughout his career, his fall from grace this past year has been a major story we’ll continue to follow.