Darrelle Revis' long and sometimes stormy tenure with the Jets has officially come to an end.
The Jets released the 31-year-old on Thursday, on the first day of the NFL's new league year. It was "100 percent" a football decision, according to a team source, and not at all related to his recent legal troubles in Pittsburgh.
The decision also wasn't a surprise, given the $15 million he was scheduled to make in 2017, combined with his age and his declining skills which were so obvious last season.
Despite all that, Jets owner Woody Johnson still hailed Revis as one of the greatest Jets of all.
"Darrelle Revis is one of the greatest playres to ever wear a Jets uniform," Johnson said in a statement released by the team. "His combination of talent, preparation and instincts is rare and helped him become one of the most dominant player of his generation. I appreciate Darrelle's contributions to this organization and, wherever his career takes him, his home will always be here with the Jets."
Revis was due a $2 million roster bonus on March 11 and was scheduled to make $13 million in salary this season -- $6 million of which was guaranteed. His cap number was set to be $15.3 million and the Jets will immediately clear $9.3 million of that off their books - more if he signs with a new team, since his salary with them will offset his cap hit with the Jets.
That's a significant savings, so finances surely played a part in the Jets' decision, but so did Revis' miserable 2016 season - one of the worst of his career. It was so bad that the Jets were expected to cut Revis even before he got into a late-night fight in Pittsburgh on Feb. 13. That fight resulted in four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against Revis.
Complicating his situation heading into free agency is that he's not due back in court until March 15.
Long before that incident, Revis had made it clear that he hoped to return for at least one more season with the Jets - the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2007 draft, 14th overall. Though he was a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team all-pro at corner, he even conceded that it might be time for a late-career switch to safety. He also hinted at the possibility of accepting a big pay cut.
Revis and coach Todd Bowles did discuss a possible position switch after the Jets' 5-11 season, but Bowles apparently wasn't sold on the idea. In the Jets' announcement, Bowles said only that "Darrelle is the consummate professional and one of the greatest to ever play the cornerback position."
Revis was dominant at his position through most of his career, establishing "Revis Island" as a place even the best NFL receivers hated to visit. He had 19 interceptions in his first six seasons with the Jets before former GM John Idzik traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. He spent one year there before winning a Super Bowl with New England in 2014.
The next offseason he returned to New York with a five-year, $70 million contract that included $39 million in guarantees. Revis and the Jets were thrilled by the reunion, but almost immediately it was clear he wasn't the same player. It got so bad last season that he was booed often by Jets fans and became a frequent target in the press.
Still, it doesn't sound like the unhappy ending soured Revis on his Jets experience.
"I can't thank Woody Johnson and the entire Jets organization enough for taking a chance on me back in 2007," Revis said in a statement posted on Twitter. "I played some of my greatest football in green and white. Jet nation has always been behind me and teammates. Without all of you, there would be no Revis Island. I love you New York!!!!!"