Darrelle Revis retired on Wednesday, marking the end an illustrious 11-year career. The last of the shutdown cornerbacks, Revis earned over $124 million in his career; the most of any player in his draft class (included: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas). It was Revis’ unconventional approach to the business side of the game that enabled him to earn money typically reserved for franchise quarterbacks, consistently foregoing secure but less lucrative long-term deals for the largest possible short-term pay day. The strategy worked. Revis retired as the 2nd highest paid defensive player in NFL history (behind Julius Peppers, tied with Suh)
Howie Long-Short: Any conversation about Revis and contracts must start with his uncle and advisor, Sean Gilbert. The Washington Redskins named Gilbert their franchise player following the ’96 season. Gilbert passed on signing the one-year $3.4 million offer, before ultimately sitting out the season. The following summer Washington offered a one-year deal worth $2.97 million (avg. of 5 highest paid players at DE). Again, Gilbert wouldn’t sign a contract; God had told him in a dream not to take less than $5 million. This time though, he argued to the league office that the franchise didn’t have the right to place the franchise tag on him for a 2nd year in a row. Following a meeting between the NFL and NFLPA, Gilbert landed in Carolina (in exchange for 2 1st round picks), signing a massive deal worth $46.5 million. While Revis is often credited as the league’s “savviest negotiator”, remember Sean Gilbert was the brains behind the operation.
Fan Marino: Darrelle Revis is going be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the only question is if he’ll get in on the 1st ballot. Detractors will tell you Revis was only GREAT for 4 seasons, but no one questions Gale Sayers’ worthiness and the Kansas Comet only played in 9 games 5x; greatness is simply valued over longevity.
Those arguing on Revis’ behalf will point to 2009, the single greatest season a cornerback has ever had (Pro Football Focus has confirmed this since ’06). In a pass-friendly league, playing man-to-man coverage, Revis never gave up more than 5 catches or 58 yards in 16 regular-season games; while leading the Jets to the AFC Championship game. Revis’ impact can best be measured by the reception, yardage and TD totals of the league’s best receivers when matched up against him.
Andre Johnson (4-35-0)
Marques Colston (2-33-0)
Randy Moss (4-24-0 and 5-34-1)
Terrell Owens (3-13-0 and 3-31-0)
Steve Smith (1-5-0)
Reggie Wayne (3-33-0)
Roddy White (2-16-0)
Chad Johnson (0-0-0)
I’m looking forward to visiting Canton and watching Darrelle’s enshrinement ceremony in the Summer of ’23. Thanks for the memories #24!
Interested in Sports Business? Sign-up for our free daily email newsletter list, here!