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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

If Darrelle Revis is available, Jets should be all in

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Darrelle Revis clowns around

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Darrelle Revis clowns around with teammates during warmups before a game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 1, 2013. Credit: AP / Bob Leverone

The Jets are tantalizingly close to having a shot at bringing back Darrelle Revis, a signing that would solve so many problems all at once and give the kind of morale boost in Florham Park that only a handful of players are capable of providing.

Getting Revis back from the Patriots works at almost every level, with almost no downside.


The Jets desperately need cornerbacks, and Revis is one of the best in the league.

Which team will Darrelle Revis play for in 2015?

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With all that salary-cap room, they are in position to make a big-time signing, and there is none bigger than the cornerback who became a star with the Jets before being sent on his way two years ago by former general manager John Idzik.

And the Jets need to close the gap between them and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, so what better way than to take away one of New England's best players and add him to their own roster?

Revis still could re-sign with the Patriots, and there would be no shame in that for the 29-year-old All-Pro cornerback, who is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and could add another Super Bowl championship or two if he remains one of Tom Brady's teammates.

But Revis also is a savvy businessman and knows that his leverage will never be higher now that the Patriots are unwilling to give him the $20 million due on the two-year contract he signed last year.

Revis knows that the Patriots are bidding against the Jets -- and possibly the Bills, as Rex Ryan has made no secret of his affection for his former cornerback -- and that there is a pile of money to be made, especially if he returns to the team that drafted him in the first round in 2007. Despite the acrimony of previous holdouts and complicated contract negotiations involving Revis, most Jets fans would welcome the chance to have him back in green and white.

That doesn't mean that first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan should offer Revis an irresponsibly large contract if he indeed hits free agency today. There are other considerations to keep in mind, such as not setting the bar so high that the Jets eventually lose out on re-signing Mo Wilkerson or other talented young players whose contracts are up soon. But if given the chance, Maccagnan and owner Woody Johnson absolutely need to aggressively pursue Revis.

The Jets are desperate at cornerback after trading Revis two years ago and shunning Antonio Cromartie last year. Idzik's plan to replenish the position with oft-injured Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle ended badly last year, and Ryan had no chance to compete with Darrin Walls, Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson.

Walls and Allen are serviceable players, but certainly not at the level you need from starters. Wilson, a former first-round pick, never panned out, and the Jets will move on without him.

Maccagnan has been busy making inroads with the current crop of free-agent cornerbacks, although blue-chip players Kareem Jackson, who re-signed with the Texans, and Byron Maxwell, who signed a monster deal with the Eagles, no longer are available. But there are solid second-tier cornerbacks such as Philadelphia's Cary Williams, Cleveland's Buster Skrine, San Francisco's Chris Culliver and Cromartie, who has expressed a desire to return to the Jets.

Maccagnan needs more than just Revis, and he is likely to be aggressive in bringing in at least one or two cornerbacks from the open market.

But if he gets Revis, he will have addressed a major need and significantly wounded the Patriots. New England still is the team to beat in the AFC, and the Patriots' re-signing of safety Devin McCourty was a major plus. But losing Revis to the Jets would diminish Bill Belichick's defense while instantly improving Todd Bowles' secondary.

Johnson has professed his desire to have Revis back. He even drew the ire of the Patriots by saying so in a news conference in late December, a comment that led the Patriots to file tampering charges. But even if the NFL finds that Johnson should surrender a draft pick or a few hundred thousand dollars in fine money, it would be worth the penalty if he winds up with Revis.

Johnson is oh-so-close to having a shot at bringing back the star cornerback who gave the Jets so many quality games before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2013. If the Patriots can't close the deal on Revis, Johnson and Maccagnan need to get their man.

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