INDIANAPOLIS — Cutting Darrelle Revis was difficult, but in the end, dollars and cents outweighed personal ties and a big name.
Coach Todd Bowles insisted he has no regrets about the Jets’ decision to give the cornerback $39 million guaranteed to return to the team two years ago. But Revis’ high salary and declining play made it easy for the Jets to release him this week.
When asked about the five-year, $70-million deal the team gave Revis in March 2015, Bowles said, “I think it was a good idea. I think it was a good call at the time. Obviously, he didn’t play as well this year. Neither did anybody else. But he’s a good football player. And that doesn’t bother me at all.”
The reunion with Revis was shortlived. A wrist injury affected his physical style of play in 2015, and his subsequent offseason surgery greatly diminished his on-field production last season. The decision to release him was a no-brainer, considering his $15.3-million salary-cap charge and the $9.3 million the Jets will save with his release.
Bowles also said Revis’ arrest and legal troubles had no bearing on his release. Revis is facing four felony charges stemming from his alleged involvement in a street fight in Pittsburgh on Feb. 12.
“It’s shocking,” Bowles said Thursday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine, “because I know the man. Forget the football player. I know the man and I know he’s a good character and a good guy. Sometimes you get caught in situations that things happen. I don’t really know what happened or whose fault. I just know the guy.”
The Jets could have asked the 31-year-old cornerback to take a pay cut or switch to safety this season — an option that Bowles acknowledged was discussed. But they decided moving on was the best move.
“Obviously, if somebody hasn’t played the position before, it’s a discussion, and we don’t know if he can or he can’t,” Bowles said of Revis, who has expressed interest in possibly playing safety in the future. “But it came up in conversation. Trying to move a guy and project a guy from a corner to a safety with that kind of salary is kind of tough, too. It’s just part of the business side of the organization.”
Besides replacing Revis, the Jets must settle on a new starting quarterback. Bowles said youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg will have “a chance” to compete for the job in 2017, acknowledging that it’s “possible” that his future starter is on the roster. But the Jets are considering all of their options, including drafting a quarterback in April or signing a veteran.
“We’re looking into it,” said Bowles, who left the Combine immediately after his interview to tend to a family matter before he returns tomorrow. “I can’t say we will or we won’t. But we have our eye on a few people.”
The Buffalo News reported Thursday that the Jets are one of three teams that would be interested in signing Tyrod Taylor if the Bills decide to release the 27-year-old quarterback. Mike Glennon, Colin Kaepernick and Brian Hoyer also are potential free-agent options for the Jets.
As for now, though, one thing is certain about their quarterback situation. “Right now, we’re unproven,’’ Bowles said. “But free agency hasn’t started and the draft’s got to come around.”