Go ahead, New York Jets fans. Take a deep breath; everything is going to be just fine. Your savior has returned.
After a prolonged and tense trip to "Holdout Island," all-star cornerback Darrelle Revis is back for a four year, $46 million deal with Gang Green. The deal, agreed upon in principle late Sunday night, includes $32 million in various guarantees and will still allow Revis to become a free agent during his prime.
Revis, who said he was prepared to hold out the entire season, announced his return via his Twitter account late Monday night. "I'm comin home baby!!! Revis Island LET'S GO," he tweeted shortly after midnight, thereby removing the dark cloud which had engulfed Jets nation.
Revis and his agents had originally sought a deal that would make him the highest paid cornerback in league history, surpassing Nnamdi Asomugha's three-year, $45.3 million deal with the Oakland Raiders, but the two sides remained at an impasse for nearly seven months until Monday's deal was negotiated. Although Revis is not technically the richest cornerback in the league, his new deal should keep him content for at least the next four years. More importantly, the deal ensures that the Jets will have their best player come week one against the Baltimore Ravens.
"This is an intermediate step to what we hope will be an entire career of Darrelle as a Jet," said Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum in an impromptu conference call with reporters. It was an intermediate step that seemed like it would never happen.
Until last weekend, it seemed as if Revis would hold out well into the season. As a result, Jets head coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson took their "talents" - as LeBron James would put it - to south Florida to work some last minute magic. It was described as a tense and heated negotiation in which the always-candid Ryan at one point threw a "tantrum" and stormed out of the negotiating room. In the end, Ryan got his man and just in time, too.
Since their surprising playoff run that ended in a trip to the American Football Conference championship game, the Jets have been surrounded by nothing but buzz. Ryan will be the first to say that for the 2010 New York Jets it's Super Bowl or bust. So you can imagine why having the best defensive player threatening to skip out on whole season kind of put a damper on things, especially while in the white-hot spotlight of the HBO series "Hard Knocks."
The Jets did more than just talk during the offseason, however. They also acquired former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, future hall of famer LaDainian Tomlinson and long-time Jets nemesis Jason Taylor in hopes of capturing their first Super Bowl title since Joe Namath did it back in 1969. Yet without Revis, all of the acquisitions and hype seemed to be for naught.
Last season Revis became the definition of a shut-down cornerback, recording 54 total tackles with six interceptions and a league high 31 passes defensed. He single handedly took away the opposition's top receiving threat, leaving the likes of Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens all stranded on a place known only as "Revis Island."
Now that Revis is back in the fold, the responsibility falls on sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez to control the offense, as well as on Ryan to bring to the field all the hype he's generated off of it. One thing is for sure, though: Whether Ryan wants to admit it or not, Revis is the key to the Jets' Super Bowl hopes, and with his arrival the last piece of the puzzle appears to be in place.
Some of Revis' teammates jokingly razzed him upon arriving at the team facility, clapping and bowing before him while citing the return of "Revis Christ." Despite just how sacrilegious that may seem, it is clear that the Jets' messiah has returned just in the nick of time.