By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
Darrelle Revis is arguably the greatest player the Jets have ever drafted, often brought up as one of the most dominant corners to ever play football. Seeking a contract in the range of about $16 million per year, Woody Johnson and the Jets front office are ready to part ways.
The team currently has numerous holes to fill and limited cap space, which will most likely lead to Revis departure via trade. Reality hurts, especially when it involves shipping off your best player who happens to be in his prime. It’s time to look ahead and find some optimism in the New York Jet’s future.
The Jets currently have holes all over both sides of the ball. Their in dire need of two outside linebackers and two safeties. Offensively they’ll need to add at least one guard, tight end, and running back. This isn’t even taking into consideration question mark fill ins such as Kenrick Ellis starting at defensive tackle, Demario Davis at middle linebacker and Santonio Holmes successfully returning from a lisfranc injury.
The current equation the Jets must solve is how to fill these holes with limited action in free agency, which leads to one solution: The NFL Draft. Trading Revis now technically costs the cap ($3m net loss per nyjetscap) but would clear him from the 2014 cap. More importantly is the compensation the Jets receive, which currently is the biggest question mark.
Revis is an elite talent coming off an injury that has long term ramifications. If the Jets wait to deal him after he begins running and he appears to be making progress, his value is a first rounder at the least. If the Jets choose to deal him within the next few days, his value is most likely a second round pick this year or a first rounder in 2014. It’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s the cold hard truth.
Let’s assume the Jets fetch a second rounder, how would the roster shape up? It’s quite simple where Revis plays, as Antonio Cromartie is the number one corner and Kyle Wilson moves out of the nickel into the number two spot. Wilson was drafted as a nickel corner, a position he never even played in college. At the least he would be a solid option playing the outside and having Isiah Trufant slide into the slot (he’s actually been quite impressive). A later round draft pick should be used on a corner for depth and competition in the third and fourth corner spots.
At number nine the Jets might be sitting in the perfect position to take the draft’s best corner in Dee Milliner out of Alabama. Milliner is a wonderful prospect with great speed to back up his elite coverage skills. Although he’s certainly worthy of being taken at nine, the Jets need to look at the bigger picture here: Bolstering the pass rush.
You don’t have to be a genius to realize a solid front seven makes the secondary much better and vice verse. Antonio Cromartie is a true shut down corner playing in a man to man system ideal for him. If the Jets can find an edge rusher at number nine that can be an impact player, there’s no need to worry about the side opposite of Cromartie. Cromartie doesn’t need the safety help over the top, making life a lot easier for Kyle Wilson.
With an edge rusher playing next to Muhammad Wilkerson (arguably the best defensive tackle in the league not named JJ Watt) and Quinton Coples (poised for a huge role with Mike Devito’s departure to KC), the Jets pass rush would look quite promising. For instance, the 49ers Aldon Smith led the league in sacks as an edge rusher. He plays next to premier defensive linemen Justin Smith, a player that brings the same impact Mo Wilkerson can. These types of defensive linemen set up one on one match ups for the edge rusher, except Wilkerson played with Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace (Combined they had less then 6 sacks this year, Aldon Smith had 19.5).