The Jets reportedly committed serious tampering violations two years ago.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets were fined $100,000 for tampering with Darrelle Revis two seasons ago after owner Woody Johnson said publicly that he would love to have the cornerback, who was still with the Patriots at the time, back in New York. Apparently Johnson’s comments were only a fraction of the violations committed by the team.
Johnson’s comments came in December 2014, roughly one month before Revis and the Patriots won the Super Bowl and nearly three months before the official start of free agency. According to a report from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Jets officials communicated with Revis about a deal at the Scouting Combine in late-February 2015. They allegedly used burner phones and had secret meetings with Revis to hammer out a deal before the start of free agency, which wasn’t until March 9. Here’s more:
Johnson’s words at that December press conference became the face of the tampering that ultimately prompted a $100,000 fine, but back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion.
Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team’s landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.
Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.
Obviously, that would go far beyond Johnson’s seemingly innocent comment about wanting Revis back with the Jets. NFL investigators questioned Jets officials about possible tampering, and the only thing we ever heard about publicly was the punishment for what Johnson said.
If you remember, the Jets actually fired back at the Patriots a few weeks later by filing petty tampering charges of their own. You can read more about that here.
While plenty of teams bend the rules when it comes to tampering and the official start of free agency, the Jets got off easy — both with disciplinary action from the league and in the eyes of the public — if they were holding secret meetings with Revis and making sure to leave “no paper trails.” Let’s just say if it were Bill Belichick and the Patriots doing that, we likely would have heard a heck of a lot more about it.