No matter what team you play for in the National Football League nor the size of the contract you sign, every dollar that you earn is green. A simplicity that cannot be refuted, players tend to make the best move for themselves, and that is dependent on the amount of money in the contract more often than not. While this fact disturbs fans and franchises that value loyalty from their beloved players, it is ultimately wrong to criticize a player for making the choice that most fans would have made in a heartbeat. Nevertheless, when has that stopped the critics from formulating personal opinions on what players “should have” done? Never.
The recent signing of Darrelle Revis by the New York Jets is no exception to this ongoing dilemma. The now ex-Patriot and ex-Buccaneer cornerback agreed yesterday to a 5-year/$70 million contract to return to the Meadowlands with $39 million guaranteed over the first three years of the deal. And as much as Darrelle Revis was intended to be a “hot commodity” when he officially hit the free agent market, his decision should be a surprise to no one, Patriots and Jets fans included.
Darrelle Revis has been regarded to as one of the best all-around defensive backs in the league throughout his career. His intelligence in the second level is impeccable, his strength to keep up with bigger receivers is often under-looked, and his versatility to match up in a variety of defensive schemes makes him one of the most coveted players in the NFL. But why stop there when we could compliment Revis for his moves off the field?
There is a reason why Revis has always been in demand. The man with a metaphorical island named after him has always capitalized on the market that surrounds him, consistently taking advantage of financial opportunities that arise no matter what team is placing the offer. Taking all things into consideration, it is a true testament to his playing ability that he was able to sign a a 6-year/$96 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was traded from New York fresh off a season lost to a torn ACL.
Such a contract made him one of the most expensive players in the league, and aligned him with the talents of wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, and defensive end Mario Williams, all of whom agreed to terms on deals exceeding $95 million. Although there was no guaranteed money in the contract, it seems evident that the Bucs understood the magnitude of Revis’s skill set, and counted on him to be one of their cornerstone players as the organization made numerous efforts to revamp its roster for the better. Despite the Buccaneers’ hypothesized success failing to come to fruition, the play of Darrelle Revis symbolized that he had much more to give a team even after his leg injury.
Just hours after becoming a casualty to a string of roster cuts by Tampa Bay after an underwhelming season, Darrelle Revis agreed to take his talents to Foxboro, Massachusetts and join the New England Patriots on a 2-year/$32 million deal. This time was different though for Revis Island. The Darelle Revis signing in New England was merely a cog instead of the ultimate key in the defensive backfield overhaul that the Patriots were reconstructing, one that was also highlighted by the acquisition of cornerback Brandon Browner.
Rather than emphasize a need to be one of the league’s highest paid players, the star cornerback playing on his third team in as many seasons expressed his most significant desire to win for perhaps the first time in his career. And that he did, winning his first Super Bowl championship after just one campaign with Tom Brady and Co. while earning a respectable $12 million for his services.
However, while Revis added a Super Bowl ring to his personal resume, something did not seem to click after the victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Darrelle Revis had finally acknowledged his career in a climaxed perspective, finally accompanying his ability to market himself for financial maximization with a winning culture that he had yet to experience in his NFL career. Nonetheless, his proverbial mindset to exploit his monetary value would continue to overshadow any desire to win again or elsewhere. But to add transparency to the argument, there is nothing wrong with that. Every move that Darrelle Revis has made has been financially beneficial and secure to him. Not only has he been a top notch talent on the field, but his camp has always proved to be a top tier team in getting him the most money possible.
To be fair, Darrelle Revis has consistently backed up what his contracts have dictated. Each one of his deals have meant to him what they represent to every other player – that they are worth it. And Mr. Revis feels that even though he will be on the wrong side of thirty by the start of the 2015 season, he is worth it to someone. That someone just happened to be the team that drafted him fourteenth overall in 2007, the New York Jets. New England Patriot fans will be justifiably bitter, and New York Jet fans will rightfully rejoice. But to Revis, it does not matter how others react. As long as he keeps the correct color flowing through the bank, he as every reason to believe in his value no matter what team he plays for, even one with the same jersey colors as the opportunities that he continues to exploit.
“Follow the money.”
“Nobody loves your money like you do.”
We have heard them all.
Apparently, so has Darrelle Revis.
Written by Alex Floch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Featured Image via www.thesource.com.
I am currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Growing up in a sports family, I have formed a distinct love for the industry. I enjoy writing about sports in my free time and hope to one day be able to pursue it as a career.