This morning, a report was published in the Daily News detailing how John Idzik essentially snubbed Revis's agents at the Combine in Indy. Read the full article here, but here's the issue at hand.
The Daily News has learned that the Jets’ contingent, which included GM John Idzik, Rex Ryan and Johnson himself, didn’t meet or contact Revis’ representatives during the combine, fueling speculation that Johnson simply doesn’t want to pay the Pro Bowl cornerback as the team enters a rebuilding phase in 2013.My thoughts on the matter, after the jump:
Pros and Cons -- The Combine is a chance for the Jets to scout and interview prospective players, it's also a very good opportunity for teams to informally meet with agents to discuss players under contract and to skirt the boundaries of free agency. That the Jets didn't meet with Schwartz & Feinsod is telling, but we have to admit it is also smart in some ways. What would the Jets actually gain from such a meeting? More than likely, they meet, say one thing that offends Feinsod & Schwartz's sensibilities and then whatever war crime the Jets committed over shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo's is splashed all over the New York tabs. Revis is under contract, it's still VERY early in the offseason process, the Jets are considering what their long-term move is with Revis, and they are going to try and quietly shop him. What's really to discuss with his agents that wouldn't further antagonize the situation? Potential interested teams will know Revis's contract demands and it's up to the Jets to get what they want from a compensation standpoint. While I do believe the Jets will try their damnedest to trade Revis, I don't think they are going to get the kind of value that they want for the player and as a result, if he is traded, it might not come until June or July. Revis's contract demands will be part-and-parcel of any trade, and his valuation to another team would be directly linked with their ability to work out a contract ... which could prove difficult.
And This Matters Right Now Because ... -- I was just watching the NFL Network broadcast and both Deion Sanders and Mike Mayock basically wanted to know why this is even an issue. Deion said of the situation that while he considers Revis one of the absolute best in the game, from a contractual standpoint he sees the situation as pointless. "There's no leverage [for Darrelle Revis]" said Sanders. "I don't understand that." Mike Mayock was more blunt. "Why meet with his agents?" Mayock asked, then stating "he's under contract."
After 2011, Revis Views His Last Contract As a Mistake -- In retrospect, it's obvious that Revis views his last contract as a mistake, or at least it became a mistake once he entered the 2012 season without a new deal .. something we foresaw at the time of the last deal. Sure, Revis's agents rattled his sabers last spring by alarming the press to a potential holdout. But with a three year extension triggered by Revis holding out, it would have been akin to the player signing his own fiscal death warrant. Revis signed a $46 million four year deal in 2010 that was second only to Nnamdi's at the time and when you look at it over four years, it is still worth more than the current franchise tag for corners in 2013 -- $10.6 million. Revis wasn't complaining leading up to 2011 when he earned $25 million in a single season, but it didn't take long for him to quietly start squawking. It's obvious that Revis saw the deal as a two year deal ($32.5 over first two years) which would then send him on the $16 million per annum fast-track. When that didn't happen and the Jets ignored his 2012 holdout scare, Revis's course for 2014 free agency was set. Unfortunately, any chance at getting a deal re-done this offseason was ruined by Revis's injury, Mark Sanchez's implosion, and the firing of Mike Tannenbaum. As for us fans? It's going to be a hard fought campaign of contractual brinksmanship between now and March 2014.
Juxtaposing Brady -- I know that no one wants to read it and I don't even want to write it, but while the Revis saga is going on, Tom Brady is taking contracts more comparable with more favorable cap figures than those of Mark Sanchez AND Ryan Fitzpatrick. How am I supposed to not compare the two situations?
Define "Greatest" -- In my opinion, Darrelle Revis is the greatest cornerback since Deion Sanders. He might not get the picks and returns that Deion did, but his play changes game plans for opponents. He is able to negate a team's top target ... a player generally responsible for 1/3 of the passing game of most high caliber offenses and with his play he can also diminish another 1/3 by rolling coverages away from Darrelle. What he does is immensely valuable and I would much rather have him on my team than not. But now that it's been six seasons, it's clear that for him to be the greatest, he also needs to be paid like he is the greatest. The problem with Revis is that his demands are stratospheric. Currently, the other top cornerback is Nnamdi Asomougha, earning about $12 million per year on (in an aside, congrats to Aso on fooling not one but two teams into stupid contracts) average and whose deal the Eagles now realize is terrible. So while Nnamdi's deals over-inflate the value of the market, it's still fair to say that Revis is easily worth in the $13-14 million per year range ... still far outstripping players in his grouping. Nope, instead of focusing on being the highest paid player at the position he and his agents are financially comparing him to defensive ends like Mario Williams or elite quarterbacks. That seems to be a non-starter for the Jets and it's hard to blame them. He is valuable, but is he Peyton Manning level valuable?
The Greater Fool Theory -- It only takes one dumb team like the Bills to overpay a player like Mario Williams. It only takes one tottering owner in Oakland to sign a foolish contract for a cornerback who withers under pressure when games matter. Free agency will be validating and vindicating for Revis, should he get there and I don't doubt that one team who is looking to push the 89% cash cap threshold will make a move to sign Darrelle, but when and if it does happen I don't think it would necessarily reflect the Jets situation and what they should have paid him. Names like the Patriots and Giants are being thrown into the discussion almost as a Pavlovian method to get Jets fans to side with Revis, but I'd be shocked if the Patriots or Giants would pay Revis more than the Jets would pay him ... that's just not how those organizations are run.
Marriage is a Two-Way Street -- In the Daily News article, it states that "Revis has told friends that he wants to help the troubled franchise reverse course rather than go elsewhere." That's a fine and noble sentiment and I think that most fans would love him to stay in New York. But if he wants to stay, then he needs to understand the mess that the Jets are in and that it might take more than just helping them on the field .. it's also going to take some sacrifices elsewhere. Maybe he's ready to make those sacrifices and the Jets are foolishly not allowing him to communicate that fact. Maybe, but it seems unlikely and out of character based on the last six years. For as much communication seems to happen between this player and this team through the media, then there's always that method to get such a message back to the team ...