KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs needed help in their leaky defensive backfield.
Darrelle Revis was ready to provide it.
So the AFC West leaders signed the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback on Wednesday, a surprising midseason move involving a big-name player. Revis played for the New York Jets last season, but his massive salary cap number combined with a decline in performance led to his release in late February.
Still, the Chiefs were desperate to find a cornerback to play opposite Marcus Peters. Terrence Mitchell, Kenneth Acker, Steven Nelson and Phillip Gaines have all failed to hold down the spot.
“He’s ready to go now,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a conference call with reporters. “He was coming off the wrist (injury) and that he had last year, you know — this is when he was ready to go. We felt the same way. So it was a nice, mutual agreement that took place and here we are.”
Reid did not rule out Revis playing Sunday against Buffalo, either.
Four days is typically a quick turnaround for a player to get acclimated to a team, especially one that hasn’t played a snap since the end of last season. But Revis has a few things going for him: He has a vast amount of experience from which to draw, he is already familiar with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s system having played for him with the Jets, and the Chiefs really have nothing to lose.
They enter the game with the 28th-ranked pass defense in the league, hemorrhaging more than 250 yards per game. That includes a 417-yard performance by Oakland’s Derek Carr a few weeks ago.
“We’ve had some young guys trying their hearts out and doing a nice job for us, too,” Reid said. “It’s a win-win. You get a veteran guy and you have some young guys that will continue to grow.”
Perhaps coincidentally, the Chiefs visit the Meadowlands to face the Jets on Dec. 3.
Revis at one point was considered the best cornerback in the league, picking off 29 passes over 10 seasons with the Jets, Buccaneers and Patriots. He won a Super Bowl ring with New England.
He parlayed that into a five-year, $39 million contract to return to the Jets, but a wrist injury slowed him down a couple of years ago. Revis struggled most of last season, looking as if the 32-year-old had lost a step for the first time, and the Jets made the decision to let him go.
He’s spent the past summer and fall keeping in shape.
“He’s been around awhile. He looks great physically,” Reid said, “but time does that, time will take a step away from you. But he’s a smart guy, knows how to play the game and that becomes important at this point in his career. I’m not telling you he can’t still run, he can run.”
Good enough to help the Chiefs (6-4), who had dropped four of their past five?
“Darrelle is a proven player in this league and we are excited to add him,” first-year Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in a statement. “He’s had a Hall of Fame career and his leadership and playing experience will be valuable to our defense.”
That may be where he is most beneficial: His experience. The Chiefs have little veteran presence in their secondary after safety Eric Berry was lost to a season-ending injury.
“You’re talking about one of the all-time great players at that position,” Reid said. “It’s just a matter of getting him back in the swing of things and seeing where he’s at. He’s excited to be here. We are excited to have him. I would think his role would be to step in and be a starter.”