Idzik said during a conference call that New York wasn’t proactively shopping Revis, but Tampa Bay had “sincere and sustained” interest. Idzik insisted Revis‘ desire was to remain a member of the Jets and that the team shared that feeling, but the GM said “we ultimately came to the conclusion that this was the best thing to do for the Jets at this time.”
Idzik added that there were several factors that went into the final decision to trade Revis, who coach Rex Ryan reiterated Sunday is “the best cornerback in football.” The main barriers included the distance separating the Jets and Revis‘ representatives on a long-term extension, the time factor with the NFL draft coming up and the “degree of uncertainty” regarding the cornerback’s health.
“Fitting a deal of historical proportions into our short-term and long-term plans is very difficult,” Idzik said.
Revis was New York’s first-round pick in 2007 after then-GM Mike Tannenbaum traded up to No. 14 to draft the former University of Pittsburgh star. Revis quickly established a reputation on the field as a shutdown cornerback, routinely holding wide receivers to quiet games and causing quarterbacks to shy away from his side of the field. He was considered by many to be so dominant at his position that he earned the nickname “Revis Island” for leaving opposing wide receivers stranded.
The trade leaves Antonio Cromartie as the Jets‘ top cornerback, a role he flourished in last season with Revis sidelined by a knee injury. And 2010 first-rounder Kyle Wilson mostly likely would be stepping in as the other starter.
“We’re a football team that has a No. 1 corner,” said Ryan, who said he and Idzik have been “joined at the hip” and he was involved in the decision-making process. “We’re fortunate to have Antonio Cromartie.”
For the Bucs, adding Revis improves a secondary that already includes cornerback Eric Wright and safeties Goldson and Mark Barron. Tampa Bay finished last in pass defense last season, coming within 38 yards of allowing the most yardage through the air in league history.
The 27-year-old Revis was entering the last season of a four-year contract he signed in 2010, and was looking for a big payday. A clause in that deal prevented the Jets from using the franchise or transition tag on him next year, so he likely would have become a free agent in 2014.
Revis was the subject of rampant trade rumors since last season ended as the Jets weighed whether to try to sign him to a contract extension, lose him to free agency next offseason or deal him for high draft picks.
“It became quite evident to us that there was a substantial difference between Darrelle’s view of his value and ours,” Idzik said. “We felt there would have to be a significant change on either side in order to create a path toward reaching an agreeable deal for either side.”
Complicating things was the fact Revis is coming off a serious injury. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last September against Miami, and had surgery the next month.
“It definitely muddies the water a little bit,” Idzik said.
Revis has been rehabbing since, and has indicated in interviews he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Against his former team.