BOSTON (CBS) — Even with expectations set almost unfathomably low, the New York Jets somehow manage to continue to embarrass themselves.
The latest example came Tuesday night, when Pro Football Talk reported that the Jets filed tampering charges against Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots for the owner’s public comments about Revis.READ MORE: Mask Mandate Changes Anticipated In Massachusetts; Restaurants Wait For State Guidance
In case you missed it, here’s what Kraft said on Monday, per the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe:
“We thought we made a very competitive offer. I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots, we wanted to keep him. We wanted him in our system, and we have certain disciplines. We had hoped it worked out. It didn’t. … As a fan, in March and April, I hate to lose him. But our real focus is what goes on in the fall and winter. … I think we made a very competitive offer. And I must say this, because I see how our situation [has been] with Vince [Wilfork]; that’s the team that drafted him. I don’t know, I think he feels a great commitment there, so we understand going back. We’re sorry he didn’t stay with us. … He’s a great player. The fan in me wishes he were still [with] us.”
“Let me just say this: Bill wanted him. But, I mean … you probably don’t have to work on a budget. When you get a budget, there are certain things you can’t do. We have a budget. In the end, we’ll judge it by what the results are, what happens in wins and losses at the end of the year. Also, it takes two sides. I think each side, in the end, did what was right for them.”
That is it. Those were the words from Kraft spoken about a player who just two weeks ago signed a five-year contract to play for another team. “I wish we kept him, but we didn’t.” That has led to the Jets filing tampering charges.
Of course, this is a tit-for-tat strategy from New York’s second team, a franchise that expends more energy on earning back-page prominence on highly esteemed city newspapers than it does on winning football games in the fall. The Patriots filed formal charges against the Jets back in January after Jets owner Woody Johnson publicly pined for Revis to return to the team that drafted him.
“Darrelle is a great player and if I thought I could have gotten Darrelle for [what the Patriots signed him for], I probably would’ve taken him,” Johnson said in December. “And it was our best judgment to do what we did. Darrelle’s a great player — I’d love for Darrelle to come back.”
The NFL defines tampering as “any interference by a member club with the employer/employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce the person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.” It’s also “any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media.”
This is actually the example which the NFL uses as a theoretical case of tampering: “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.”
That’s almost exactly what Johnson actually said.
Considering Revis essentially had a poison pill in his Patriots contract in form of a $25 million cap hit in 2015, Johnson’s public statement was a comment made regarding a player who was about to be facing a decision: Restructure and take a pay cut to stay with his current team, or head into the unknown of free agency. While you could easily argue that Revis would have opted for free agency regardless, the fact remains that he knew his former boss had plenty of cap room and was eager to start paying him big money.
That’s tampering. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s tampering, and so the Patriots rejected Johnson’s apology and went ahead and filed tampering charges with the league. That “investigation,” as it were, remains ongoing.READ MORE: Flames Rip Through Roof Of Plympton Home
This is the same Woody Johnson, mind you, who favorited a fan’s tweet which called for the firing of general manager John Idzik. Johnson then
lied explained himself by saying that he “needs to be more careful” when scrolling through Twitter and that the favoriting of the tweet was “inadvertent.”
Johnson fired Idzik 13 days later.
So forgive Kraft and the Patriots for not taking him at his word. They knew Johnson meant what he said, and the fact that Revis ended up back in New York lends some credence to their complaint.
But what, exactly, are the Jets now claiming? Less than a week after
Woody Johnson ghost-wrote Manish Mehta wrote a column saying that the Patriots were being whiny and petty for filing tampering charges, the Jets are now upping the ante on the pathetic scale.
Are they suggesting that Kraft, knowing that the bulk of Revis’ guaranteed money comes in the first three years of his deal, was laying the groundwork to swoop in and sign a released Darrelle Revis in 2018, when the cornerback is 33 years old? Is that the case?
If so, the Jets can expect to have their charges be dismissed rather quickly by the league office. (Though, then again, you never know what that league office might do.)
This is a franchise that has given us The Butt Fumble, a franchise that traded two picks and three players in order to draft Mark Sanchez (68 TDs, 69 INTs for New York), a franchise that has not won a Super Bowl since color television was a new phenomenon, and a franchise that just finished off a 73-87 record for the past decade and this upcoming season will employ its fifth head coach since the turn of the century. (Well, make that six coaches if you count the short-lived tenure of Bill Belichick as HC of the NYJ.)
Despite that long and storied history, this act may just put the icing on the cake. As funny as the Butt Fumble might have been — and make no mistake, it was hilarious — it can at least be excused as an unfortunate happening that took place within the frenzied whirl of an NFL play. But this? This was a calculated decision. This was Woody Johnson sitting at a desk wondering how he can really stick it to Kraft, a Patriots owner who was fresh off winning his fourth Super Bowl. It was a conscious, deliberate choice to essentially spin in a circle, tuck the football, and run into the right guard’s giant backside before fumbling away the football on national television.
None of it is an accident. It is entirely intentional.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones and Rich Keefe reacted to the PFT report Tuesday night.MORE NEWS: Exit Renumbering Project Moves To Interstate 495