Darrelle Revis knows he stank in 2016, but he went into the offseason hoping to convince his bosses he still could be an asset to the New York Jets. He was planning to train harder than ever, take a pay cut and move to safety if that's what they desired. Basically, he wanted to make it hard for them to cut him.
Now he has made it easy.
An ugly night last weekend in Pittsburgh, his hometown, has resulted in four felonies and a misdemeanor charged against the Jets' fading star, including two assault-related charges. It'll be up to the courts to determine what happened at 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of East Carson and South 23rd in the South Side section of Pittsburgh, but this much we know:
One of the greatest players in Jets history, a probable Hall of Famer, is in big-time trouble. He appears to have been involved in a street fight -- to what degree is unclear -- tainting his legacy and embarrassing his team. If the Jets still are mulling Revis' football fate, this may have sealed the deal. This might sound like heresy, but the once-great Revis isn't worth the trouble anymore.
Before this, you could have made an argument that Revis deserved the benefit of the doubt because of who he is and what he has accomplished in his career. No, he's not a $15 million cornerback, the amount he's due to earn in the coming season, but maybe you could have kept him around at a reduced salary. He could have been the elder statesman, helping the franchise as it enters a rebuilding phase. Sure, his man-to-man skills have declined, but he's always been a solid man off the field, never in trouble with the law.
That scenario -- a Revis farewell tour, 2017 -- now seems far-fetched.
A decision on Revis' future is fast approaching. The Jets owe him a $2 million bonus if he's on the roster the second day of the league year, March 10, so they have to act before then. Revis, who has always seen the Jets as an ATM machine, will have to take a massive pay cut to stick around -- if he gets that option. The Jets could decide to simply cut bait, clearing $9.3 million in much-needed cap room.
It won't be easy to swallow because they owe him $6 million, the fully guaranteed portion of his base salary. No owner, no matter how rich, likes doling out that kind of cash to a fired employee. Is there a chance the Jets could get the $6 million voided because of this incident? In theory, they could try to take that approach, but it would be a long process, complicated by the March 10 deadline.
If it happened, it would be a financial break for the Jets. Imagine: They'd be able to dump a diminished player, save $6 million in actual cash and get a cap credit. But don't get your hopes up.
The money is only one subplot to this story, which will have twists and turns. If they keep him, it would be a yearlong distraction for the Jets, and they certainly don't need that, not with coach Todd Bowles heading into a must-win season. Roger Goodell and his disciplinary police will have their say, too, as Revis is subject to a suspension under the NFL's personal conduct policy.
These allegations against Revis are troubling and, in a way, sad. Since returning to the Jets with a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, only a few weeks after celebrating a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots, his career has been stuck in a downward spiral, some of it self-inflicted.
On the field, he showed signs of slippage in 2015. Then came offseason wrist surgery. Then came the acrimonious split with his longtime agents, followed by a lawsuit against them. He showed up to training camp out of shape. Then came his awful performance in 2016, exacerbated by curious and dumb comments.
Revis admitted his body was breaking down, which sounded like he was making excuses. Asked in December about his future with the team, he said, "My thing would be this: Do the New York Jets want to treat my situation with class or no class?"
If these criminal charges stick, Revis forfeits his right to classy treatment.
Once upon a time, the only criticism of Revis was that he was greedy. That seems tame after what has unfolded.