The New York Jets have climbed up to the number eight spot in team defense this season including the third best team against the pass. This is a remarkable stat considering they have been without their best defensive player for the majority of the season. Darrelle Revis was lost for the season in a week three win over the Miami Dolphins. Revis only played in two games since he missed the second game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a concussion.
Revis is the best cornerback in the game and arguably the best defensive player the team has ever had. Rex Ryan predicated a lot of his defensive schemes based on the fact that Revis would take out the best receiver on the opposite team. Since Revis has been out, the Jets have played more zone coverage than ever before which has limited their amount of blitzing.
The biggest surprise this season has been the play of Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie has seamlessly taking over the top cornerback spot and has been shutting down the top receiver all season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Cromartie has only allowed 42.2% of passes thrown his way to be completed so he’s well on his way to the Pro Bowl.
Former first round pick Kyle Wilson has also stepped up his game this season as he’s moved into a starting role. Wilson was slow to adapt to the NFL game but seems more comfortable as the season has progressed. He has already tied his career high in tackles this season with 41. He was one of the worst corners in the league last year in YAC (Yards After Catch) according to Football Outsiders.
Being that the defense hasn’t lost a stop without Revis, the question becomes what does the team do with him? He will count $9 million against the cap next season. It’s well documented that he’s had two contract hold outs in his career and the potential for another could be close.
I feel if you can move Revis you should do it. Yes, he’s the best player on the team but you can’t afford to pay a cornerback top money. How many teams have won a Super Bowl with a shutdown corner? This hasn’t happened since Deion Sanders was playing. You can look at the New York Giants as a perfect example. They have a weak secondary but they can afford this because their front seven is so good specifically the defensive line.
In today’s NFL you need to be able to put pressure on the quarterback. Ever since Ryan took over the Jets in 2009 they haven’t had a pass rusher that has consistently been able to beat his man one on one. Actually they haven’t had a true pass rusher to close out a game since John Abraham. Is it possible some team thinks they are one defensive player away on the back end to win a championship? Will someone take a chance that Revis can return from injury and be the same player? What is Revis worth? The Jets front office has a tough decision to make at the end of the year.