INDIANAPOLIS — Darrelle Revis’ run as the NFL’s best cornerback ended years ago. And now, his time with the Jets has ended, too.
The organization announced Tuesday that it has informed the underperforming defensive back of his impending release. Revis, 31, officially will become a free agent when the new league year starts March 9. By releasing him, the team will save $9.3 million in salary-cap space.
“I can’t thank Woody Johnson and the entire Jets organization enough for taking a chance on me back in 2007,” Revis tweeted shortly after the Jets made the announcement official. “I played some of my greatest football in green and white. Jet Nation has always been behind me and teammates. Without all of you, there would be no Revis Island. I love you New York!!!!!!!”
According to a source, the move was “100 percent a football decision” and not related to Revis’ legal battle stemming from a street fight Feb. 12 in Pittsburgh. The team also won’t try to recoup the $6 million Revis is guaranteed, the source said.
Revis, who is due in court March 15, is facing four felony counts, including two for aggravated assault. But it was his struggles on the field that made him easily dispensable. As a result, the Jets got little return on the five-year, $70-million deal (with $39 million guaranteed) they gave him in March 2015.
So rather than move him to safety, as Revis had wanted, the team thought it best to cut bait altogether.
“Darrelle Revis is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Jets uniform,” owner Woody Johnson said in a statement on the team’s website. “His combination of talent, preparation and instincts is rare and helped him become one of the most dominant players of his generation. I appreciate Darrelle’s contributions to this organization and, wherever his career takes him, his home will always be here with the Jets.”
The Jets became his first home in 2007, when they moved up in the draft to take select him 14th overall. He soon emerged as the NFL’s top shutdown corner, earning the moniker “Revis Island” for his suffocating cover skills against the league’s top receivers. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times, and an All-Pro selection four times. He won a Super Bowl in 2014 with the Patriots. But his eroding skills in recent years — and his exorbitant price tag — made him an easy cap casualty.
After recording a career-high nine takeaways in 2015, he made only one interception in 2016.
“Darrelle is the consummate professional and one of the greatest to ever play the cornerback position,” coach Todd Bowles said.
After Revis tore an ACL in 2013, he played one season in Tampa Bay and one in New England before returning to the Jets in 2015.
“When you’re dealing with a player of Darrelle’s caliber, these decisions are extremely hard to make,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “We all have a great deal of respect for Darrelle, and the significance of his time with the Jets cannot be overstated. He provided an example of how a pro should approach his craft and established his place in NFL history as one of the best at his position.”