By Nick Shook
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While an array of Jets quarterbacks — Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith (momentarily) and Bryce Petty — flounder on the offensive side of the ball, a defensive stalwart for Gang Green is again staring at his own football mortality.
Eighteen days after Darrelle Revis admitted he was losing his battle against the undefeated Father Time, he made similar statements after another loss, explaining his struggles with a simple answer and soft laugh.
“Because I’m old,” the 31-year-old Revis said, via the New York Daily News.
“You have bumps in the road,” he said. “Are you going to see a one catch for one yard game? Probably not. I was 23, 24 years old then,” he said, in reference to his performance against Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne in the 2010 playoffs. “That’s just not where it’s at. Can I execute better and do things better? That’s going to come. That’s definitely going to come down the road.”
Over the years, there have been plenty of veterans who haven’t known when to hang it up. More than a handful of players have finished their careers on random teams; even this season, we’ve seen Andre Johnson retire while a member of the Titans, and Arian Foster call it quits while with the Dolphins.
But that’s not the case for Revis, or at least it wasn’t when, fresh off a victory in Super Bowl XLIX as a member of the New England Patriots, he signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Jets before the 2015 season. He’ll have made at least $33 million of the deal in guaranteed money by the time the 2016 season concludes, one in which the Jets are essentially out of serious contention after a 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. He again struggled to cover effectively in one-on-one situations, with Kenny Britt torching him for 81 yards on five catches and an opposing passer rating of 96.4. As Conor Orr wrote after the game, it might be time to speed up the process on considering moving Revis to safety.
The one bit that remains rather peculiar is how public and honest Revis has been about his decline with age. Could he be trying to force head coach Todd Bowles to shift him to safety sooner than the coach might like? This comment on his current pay rate reads more like he signed a lifetime achievement award than an employment contract.
“I think people look at the price tag and not the whole body of work on what I’ve done in this game,” Revis said. “It will be forever remembered. I’m not being cocky about it. The numbers are there. They show. I shut down some of the best of the best playing man-to-man coverage.”
The issue is he isn’t shutting down some of the best, or even some of the average playing man-to-man coverage in 2016. Revis has shown he still has value as a defender, just not in the same way he once did on Revis Island. That’s fine — people get old. But it’s evident, in what is becoming a lost season, that the high-paid veteran needs a change. And it seems he’s asking for it.