When a players’ knee buckles and he suffers a non-contact injury, that usually doesn’t end well. That’s what happened to Jets cornerback Darelle Revis yesterday during his team’s comeback win over Miami, and the worst possible result was assumed last night when it was reported his knee is “loose.”
Now that’s been confirmed, and Revis is out for the year. The loud noise you heard was the detonation of a season.
The implications of this for the Jets are numerous, and devastating. The most obvious area impacted is the secondary, where the risk-taking Antonio Cromartie now becomes the No. 1 cornerback, and some combination of Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster (most likely and primarily Wilson) is the next domino to fall. So the Jets will be relying on two players who’ve made a combined 14 starts (all by Wilson, a first-round pick) while each playing three seasons.
That doesn’t even begin to assess the drop off in talent, which is massive. Pro Football Focus rates Revis as the game’s best corner, a claim which feels like far more fact than claim. Through three games the Jets have four interceptions, and they’re allowing just 218.7 passing yards per game while playing with a secondary that hinges on the presence of Revis and his ability to shut down half the field.
Last year, they ranked fifth after giving up only 201.7 yards per game. How far did that number jump two weeks ago when Revis missed the Jets’ loss to Pittsburgh due to a concussion? Ben Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards with two touchdowns. The entire defense is structured around Revis and his ability to make the opposition’s top receiving option useless, and do it mostly on his own with little or no help. The impact of his absence then includes how every receiver is covered, and it also stretches to the run defense, with Rex Ryan normally confident in his top corner’s ability to survive and thrive all alone on Revis Island, leaving him by himself in man coverage so that the front seven can crash and focus on the ball carrier.
Then there’s the off-field concern. It was only just over six weeks ago when Revis was giving serious thought to sitting out for a portion of training camp, and forcing management to give him a new contract only two years after he did the same thing and signed a four-year deal worth $46 million. The problem? Most of that money was front-end loaded in the first two years of the deal. Revis will make $4.5 million this year, and then only $3 million next year. To get a gauge of what he would like to make and probably should be making, we can turn to Philly’s Nnamdi Asomugha, who will be paid $15 million next year.
This is a prime example of why players hold out, and why Revis probably should have held out in August. He’s still only 27, which is relatively young for a cornerback, and if Adrian Peterson — who plays a far more brutal position — can rebound this quickly and be trucking people less than a year removed from his ACL tear last January, then Revis should have no problem. Jamaal Charles is another example, as although he’s further removed from his tear, it’s still remarkable that in the year 2012 with its gizmos and whatchama call-its, a running back can have 288 all-purpose yards (including 7.1 yards per carry) almost exactly one year after ripping apart a major knee ligament.
So Revis should be fine for next year and beyond, which could actually present a new set of challenges for the Jets, and their efforts to keep the league’s best corner happy. Revis will likely be quite confident in his health as training camp approaches next July, and he’ll care so very little about whatever leverage he’s lost due to the injury. In fact, that may motivate him even more to sit out in protest, knowing that he’s one more knee buckle away from being useless, and never getting paid again.
Do the Jets make him demonstrate his health? Or do they cave, feeling confident in Revis’ youth?
From a fantasy perspective, enjoy the free air space, anyone who owns any offensive player on the Jets’ remaining schedule. It’ll start with a tame passing offense in Week 4 with the Jets hosting San Francisco, but then the list of remaining notable quarterbacks and wide receivers on deck gets fun:
- Week 5: Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson
- Week 6: Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne
- Week 7 and 12: Tom Brady, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker
- Week 13: Larry Fitzgerald
- Week 16 (championship week): Philip Rivers, Robert Meachem, Malcom Floyd
The two most appealing matchups are the two that involve everyone’s favorite goat lover, Mr. Bundchen. Even with a healthy Revis last year, Brady still passed for 650 yards over two games while averaging nine yards per attempt, and maintaining a passer rating of 109.6.
The Jets’ season won’t end well now, and those two games especially won’t. But your season — Brady or Lloyd or Welker owner — may have just become much more profitable with two upcoming dates against a Revis-less secondary.