With the NFL season kicking off Thursday night for the Pats and Chiefs and the rest of the league Sunday and Monday, excitement is everywhere. Teams have been finalizing their rosters, and ready to get their seasons underway.
However, there are two former Pro Bowl players that we at F.F.I. are particularly curious about, who aren’t going to be playing for anyone this weekend. But, as we posed in the headline, have we seen the last of former Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson, and former Jets/Bucs/Pats defensive back Darrelle Revis?
Let’s start with Jackson, who’s 2016 ended prematurely with an ACL injury early in the season. As he was in the final year of his original five year free agent deal, the Bucs simply put him on injured reserve and did not choose to re-sign Jackson this off season.
Jackson is 34 years old, and has been in three Pro Bowls, but clearly his final two years in Tampa Bay his productivity dropped off dramatically. That was in part because, Bucs star Mike Evans became the favorite target of new QB Jameis Winston in 2015/16 having two monster years.
Still, a source familiar with Jackson’s intentions told F.F.I. this summer that he was staying in shape and waiting for the phone to ring, especially towards the end of training camp. Despite having a lucrative career financially (his Bucs contract paid him $55 million), and having multiple business interests in the Tampa Bay area, Jackson has never officially announced he’s retired.
Yet, he’s not on a roster as the season begins. We are left to wonder whether he will continue to wait for that call or will announce, for now, that he’s done.
Meanwhile, Darrelle Revis is in a different spot currently, for a couple of reasons. One, he’s just turned 32 in July (two years younger than Jackson). And two, after the Jets released him from his second tour of duty with them this off season, he is still owed $6 million of the $39 million guaranteed by New York for not playing this fall.
That’s right, $6 million to not play.
But, there’s a catch to it: the Jets are off the hook, if Revis signs with another team. No “off set” language would even give him a part of that.
So, while he’s been working out in South Florida, Revis doesn’t have to take a deal with anyone at this point to get paid significantly.
We wrote previously that the Dolphins might very well be interested in Revis’ veteran presence, knowing the AFC East intimately, and the fact he would be an upgrade over some of their players.
Since that time, the Dolphins lost DB Tony Lippett to a season ending achilles injury during a camp practice, and the team has grown frustrated with Byron Maxwell’s struggles in the secondary.
Will they call Revis? Would they be willing to pay him the $6 million he’s got coming to him from the Jets? At the moment, it doesn’t look like either are a priority.
Revis has made seven Pro Bowls, been named All Pro four times, and won a ring with Patriots in 2014. He has accumulated at least $70 million in guarantees and yearly salaries in his career. So, money is not a problem.
However, if Revis has the desire to play another year, he likely will have to say goodbye to the Jets guarantee.
Only Vincent and Darrelle know the truth about whether they want to continue.
All we know is both have not announced they’re retired and the season is here.