Late Sunday, the news broke that all world cornerback Darrelle Revis was traded to Tampa Bay. I’m a huge Revis fan and wish him nothing but the best, but this was a move that new Jets GM John Idzik had to make.
I know there is a sizable contingent of Jets fans who are opposed to this move, the theory being, why trade arguably your best player on the team. My response? This team is going nowhere. Mike Tannenbaum’s stewardship left the cupboard too bare. This team is in massive rebuilding mode and has needs everywhere. What the Jets need above all else is draft picks to try to start over. Revis was the only real bargaining chip they held. So they traded him for the #13 first round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional 4th pick next year. I wish it could have been two picks this year, but the Bucs were the only real suitor, so at a certain point (read before the draft) the Jets had to pull the trigger.
Revis staying or going would have had little impact on how well the Jets do this coming season. Sure, he might have returned a few pick sixes, but the much bigger priority is rebuilding the offense. The offense is so thin in depth and lacking at playmakers at every turn, you need to acquire bodies to start the rebuild. The Jets will not win many football games with the anemic offense they currently have. They have got to be able to put points on the board. That has to be the focus.
So far, I like what Idzik has done. He let expensive and unproductive free agents and underperformers go in order to clear cap space. He’s made a few cost effective short term deals in free agency that will help for this fall.
His housekeeping has been thorough and efficient. And he’s done a nice job of not handing the media unnecessary controversy. Not easy in New York.
The draft starts this week, but Idzik needs to perform one additional task in his ruthless housecleaning and that is to release Tim Tebow. Make a full, clean break from the previous regime. Tebow’s football skills in no way offset the media distraction and locker room (I believe) schism that his presence brings. Cut him. Eat the rest of his contract. It’s a sunk cost anyway. Idzik has a small window where he can make unpopular moves like this. Do it now. Hit reset with the draft and see how things go from there.
In the meantime, since I am apparently playing armchair GM, I’d see if anyone would bite on my #9 pick and try to trade down. One first round pick at #13 is fine for the Jets. But mostly they need bodies. If he could move down to a couple picks in the second or even third round I’d do it in a heartbeat. I figure the Jets will go defense in the first round. Hard to imagine Rex Ryan not making a passionate plea for one of the available pass rushers. But if Idzik can pick up some additional picks in the later rounds, he can fill out the true needs of this roster.
In my opinion, that means offensive linemen and diamonds in the rough in the form of running back, tight end and wide receiver.
Under no circumstance should this franchise take a quarterback in any of the first three rounds. They desperately need to rebuild the foundation of this football team. It’s not glamourous, nor is it sexy. But if you want to contend, that is the only way forward. Whether the Jets draft a quarterback or not is not going to make a bit of difference in this year’s outcome. This is a team that can at best look forward to a 9 win season (the schedule is much more favorable this year), but more than likely will be a sub .500 team. Hitting a QB home run like Indianapolis and Washington or Seattle did last year with this year’s draft is unlikely. The QB class just isn’t as rich. Some combination of Mark Sanchez and David Garrard can get the Jets through the season.
Rebuilds are brutal for the fans. But if you do it right, you can set the stage for many quality seasons down the road. The Jets tried short cuts the last few years. That doesn’t work when you’re in a division with as smart a front office as New England has.
It’s sad to see Revis and his every Sunday highlights go. But he is in the prime of his career and must take advantage of his best opportunities now, especially coming off of his knee injury. In the meantime, the Jets need to take more of the practical solid steps they have done so far this offseason and try to carefully and cost effectively build a strong foundation for the long term competitiveness of this team. Unless they do that, they will be an afterthought to the Patriots as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady ride together.
So, farewell Darrelle Revis. Thanks for letting all Jets fans spend some quality time with you on Revis Island.
Know that you will be missed.