It is too soon to know how the case against Darrelle Revis will be adjudicated after Thursday’s announcement that he faces charges including robbery, terroristic threats, conspiracy and aggravated assault in connection with an early-morning fight in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
But it’s not too soon to wonder if this will hasten the departure of the 31-year-old cornerback from the Jets.
Even before reports about the fight surfaced and the charges were announced by Pittsburgh police, Revis was on thin ice. He is coming off the worst season of his career and has openly conceded that his body is beginning to betray him.
Now that he faces an assortment of charges stemming from an incident in which two men were knocked unconscious, the Jets may have reached the tipping point in deciding what to do with him moving forward.
These are some serious charges leveled at Revis, and while it remains to be seen whether he will be found guilty of any or all of them, the fact that he now is embroiled in what could be a lengthy legal process does not bode well.
We may get a more definitive idea of exactly how the Jets will handle his situation by March 10, the date Revis is due a $2-million roster bonus as part of the five-year, $70-million contract he signed before the 2015 season.
If the Jets decide that his physical decline and the added complication of his legal problems are not worth continuing with him, they could decide not to pay the money next month and thus end Revis’ second run here.
And who could blame them?
If he does stay with the Jets, Revis, who has outlived his usefulness as a shutdown cornerback, might be asked to make the transition to safety. But if that does happen, who knows if Revis, who has played his entire career at cornerback, can be a viable option there?
Other great cornerbacks have morphed into terrific safeties — Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson and Ronnie Lott are three of the best examples — but there are no guarantees that Revis can play at a similar level.
In fact, it seems like more of a crapshoot to move him now.
Revis was symptomatic of a roster that got old in a hurry, and with a major re-do in order for a team coming off a 5-11 season, the aging cornerback doesn’t fit in with a team needing to get younger in the defensive backfield.
That he faces charges and sought medical attention after Sunday’s fight don’t augur well for a player in such a tenuous situation to begin with.
Again, we make no assumptions about whether he will face legal consequences in connection with what happened. But the NFL’s brand of justice is much more open-ended than the legal system, and even if Revis is absolved of any and all charges, the league reserves the right to discipline him under its personal-conduct policy.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has wide latitude in dispensing punishment for players who face charges, and guilt or innocence in a court of law doesn’t necessarily determine whether he acts. That means there is a very real possibility that Revis will face a suspension.
It’s impossible to know how Goodell might act, given that there might not be a final resolution of the case for at least several weeks, if not longer.
But given all the circumstances surrounding Revis — both on and off the field — it won’t be a surprise if he has played his final game for the Jets.