INDIANAPOLIS - Two years ago, the Jets lured Darrelle Revis back to New York with $39 million in guaranteed money. And for that they got a once-great player at the beginning of a steep decline.
But despite Revis' poor play over the last two seasons, his arrest last month in Pittsburgh, and the Jets' decision to release him earlier this week, Jets head coach Todd Bowles offered no regrets about the team's big investment in the future Hall of Fame cornerback. And even though the Jets still owe Revis another $6 million, Bowles does not think the contract was a mistake.
"No. I think it was a good idea," Bowles said Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine. "I think it was a good call at the time. Obviously he didn't play as well this year. Neither did anybody else. But he's a good football player. That doesn't bother me at all."
It was a popular move at the time when the Jets reunited with Revis, who was coming off an all-pro season and a Super Bowl championship with New England. But it was clear almost immediately that he wasn't the same dominant player he was in his first go-around with the Jets. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015, but he struggled at times in coverage and was beaten too often by middling receivers he used to dominate.
Those struggles became far worse last season -- the worst of his 10-year career.
Speaking for the first time since the Jets informed Revis that they were declining to pick up his 2017 option, Bowles insisted that Revis' play and his contract were the primary factors in the team's decision -- not Revis' arrest last month. Bowles said that he did discuss the possibility of switching Revis from cornerback to safety. But Revis was due $15 million in salary and bonuses in 2017 and carried a salary cap number of $15.3 million.
In the end, no matter his position, that was just too much
"Obviously the business side of it, the dollars and cents in the offseason, that had a lot to do with it," Bowles said. "Trying to project a guy from a corner to a safety with that kind of salary is kind of tough too.
"We talked about (switching positions)," Bowles added. "Obviously if someone hasn't played the position before it's a discussion. You don't know if he can or he can't."
Bowles also wasn't completely sure if Revis, at age 31, could still play his old position at an elite level.
"I don't know," Bowles said. "He probably can. Revis can do anything he put his mind to."
It was obvious that the decision to let Revis go was "tough," as Bowles said -- even in the wake of Revis' current legal troubles. He's facing a court hearing in Pittsburgh on March 15 on four felony charges and one misdemeanor stemming from a street fight on Feb. 13. That was "not at all" a factor in the Jets' decision, Bowles insisted, even though the arrest left Bowles shocked.
"It's shocking because I know the man," he said. "Forget the football player, I know the man. I know he's a good character, a good guy. Sometimes you get caught in situations where things happen. I don't really know what happened or whose fault or anything like that. I just know the guy."