PHOENIX - Jets fans may be delighted to see Darrelle Revis back in green and white, but the man who signed him to a five-year, $70-million contract offered a decidedly more tempered reaction to taking Revis away from the defending Super Bowl champions.
"I'm happy. We're trying to get better every day. I think he makes us better,'' team owner Woody Johnson said Monday in his first public remarks since signing Revis on March 10. The deal included $39 million in guaranteed salary.
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Johnson was quick to add that he doesn't consider Revis a savior or anything more than a piece to the puzzle of the Jets' roster. Sure, he's delighted to have him back, but the owner knows a single player can't change the face of his franchise.
"He's one player,'' Johnson said of the four-time All-Pro cornerback. "One player can't lift a franchise, maybe with the exception of a quarterback. But even a quarterback, you have to have a team around you. You have to have protection, receivers and all that other stuff.''
Are the Jets that much closer to being Super Bowl contenders with Revis? Johnson chuckled and said, "When we get it, I'll tell you.''
The Patriots have filed tampering charges against the Jets because Johnson said he would "love Darrelle to come back'' at a season-ending news conference on Dec. 29. The owner declined to comment on the charges or the NFL's investigation.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who also declined to comment on the tampering investigation, said the Patriots "wanted to keep [Revis]. We wanted him in our system. They are the team that drafted him. I think he feels a great commitment there, so we understand his going back and we're sorry he didn't stay with us.''
Johnson said he has yet to speak with Revis but plans to reach out in the near future. What will he say?
"I haven't decided yet,'' Johnson said. "He might say something to me.''
The Jets had a chance to sign Revis last year after he was released by the Buccaneers, but they stayed out of the bidding and saw him sign with the rival Patriots. Johnson declined to second-guess the decision to stay away from Revis last year, although it was widely reported that general manager John Idzik didn't want to sign him.
"I'm not going to go back,'' Johnson said. "It's a different time. We're going to concentrate on looking ahead. Hope and opportunity. Hope and change.''
Johnson set the stage for hope and change by cleaning house in the offseason, firing Idzik and coach Rex Ryan and replacing them with Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles. Maccagnan already has made a series of aggressive moves -- trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall and signing free-agent cornerbacks Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine. But Johnson isn't ready to make any determinations about Maccagnan or his additions.
"It's too soon to evaluate,'' he said. "We'll go into training camp as we move on and see how it all plays out. Every year is a new year. You have to do a good job in putting it all together. We're looking for the best players and the best fit for what Todd's looking for and what his coaches are looking for and Mike's evaluations.''
As for what the coaches are looking for in a quarterback, Johnson wouldn't make a commitment to incumbent Geno Smith.
"That's something we're going to look at,'' he said. "We've got from now until the start of the season to address every position, not only quarterback. We're going to have competition at every position. We're going to have competition, and hopefully that will bring out the best in the quarterbacks and all the positions.''
The Jets have the sixth overall pick and will consider Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. "We haven't made that determination,'' Johnson said. "Geno's probably way ahead of [Mariota] at this point, whether you guys have skepticism on that or not.''
More moves to come, and more optimism on the way. Enough for Johnson to believe they've closed the gap with the Patriots?
"We're trying to get us better rather than focusing on someone else,'' Johnson said. "If we get better, we do our job, everybody does their jobs, we get lucky with injuries and we play the kind of game that we all want to play, I think we'll be OK.''