INDIANAPOLIS - The Jets could have made an issue out of the $6 million in salary they still owe Darrelle Revis in 2017, and tried to withhold the money due to his recent legal troubles. But according to a team source, the Jets have decided to let the issue - and the money - go.
That decision, to pay Revis $6 million next season even though he'll officially be released on Thursday, avoids what surely would've been a legal - and perhaps public relations - nightmare for both sides. The Jets did due their "due diligence" and investigated the possibility of withholding the money, according to a team source, as they surely would've done with any other player.
But after investigating the language in his contract and looking at all the information available to them from his recent arrest in Pittsburgh, the Jets decided not to pursue the matter.
The possibility existed, of course, because of the late-night street fight that Revis got into back on Feb. 13. He was later charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor and faces another court hearing on the matter on March 15.
There was language in Revis' contract that seemed to indicate that the incident could allow the Jets to get out of any future financial obligations. The language, confirmed by NFL sources, said that Revis could be considered in breach of contract if he's fined or suspended by the NFL or by the Jets for "conduct detrimental" to the team, if he's punished for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy or if the Jets believe he does anything they "reasonably" believe will "adversely affect or reflect" on the franchise.
The vague phrasing of that last part would've been the Jets' opening, since the NFL likely wouldn't have stepped in until a legal resolution. But it would've been difficult for the Jets to claim Revis adversely reflected on the franchise since, through his lawyer, the cornerback has professed his innocence and claimed to be the victim in the incident.
Had the Jets tried, the NFL Players Association almost certainly would've stepped in and joined Revis in his fight - first through arbitration, and then likely through the courts. And that likely would've been a long, ugly battle, much like the one when the Atlanta Falcons tried to recoup bonus money from quarterback Michael Vick in the mid-2000s after Vick was convicted and imprisoned for his role in a dog-fighting ring.
That court battle lasted two years, and in the end the Falcons lost.
For $6 million, and with uncertain legal standing, the fight wasn't worth it for the Jets.