That was Darrelle Revis’ answer to the query of whether he’ll still be an elite shutdown cornerback after his season-ending ACL tear.
The real question is whether Revis thinks he’ll be a Jet in 2014. While the owner of the coolest island property this side of the Mason-Dixon line didn’t get asked that, he was asked about whether he thinks he’ll have to prove himself before the Jets give him a new (and likely record-setting) contract.
“Probably, probably. Every year you’ve got to come in here and prove yourself,” Revis said.The real problem is not Revis’ recovery, nor is it the front office’s willingness to shed old grudges and loosen the purse strings for the best player in franchise history (sit down, Joe). The issue is that this injury shifts the momentum in this fractured relationship from Mike Tannenbaum and company to Revis and his agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod -- agents that have a history of clashing with the Jets’ front office and for using whatever momentum/perceived advantage they have in their client’s favor.
“I’m sure it might raise people’s eyebrows about how I’m going to look when I come back. I’m OK with that; I wouldn’t expect anything less. I’m going to do what I do. I’m going to work hard. I’m going to come back. I’m going to treat it like any other offseason.”
Just like the Jets were right to hold out on any sort of contract offers this past offseason, Revis’ reps likely won’t be in the mood to talk this summer. They know any sort of deal before Revis plays again puts their client at a disadvantage. Revis’ agents know that with modern medicine and their client’s work ethic (and desire to get that record deal), Revis will be back and they’ll want him to be paid like the top defensive player in football. However, given the timeframe of the injury and the recovery, Revis is unlikely to start playing like that until somewhere after the first quarter of the 2013 season.
So now we’re looking at Revis returning to play with one year left on his deal and the Jets unable to use the franchise tag. Revis’ team will see free agency and a league-wide bidding war on the horizon and if the Jets want to talk contract during the season, they’ll have to account for that extra money. Advantage: Revis.
So now the Jets are faced with two realistic options. One, they can begin preliminary talks during training camp and overpay for Revis once he shows he hasn’t lost a step during the 2013 season. Or, they can let this process get to the open market and, given their precarious cap situation, likely be outbid by a desperate team (see: Williams, Mario).
I don’t think a new front office solves this issue either. Yes, it may help the relationship with Revis’ team, but it won’t change the way they view this contract. Regardless of whether Tannenbaum is still in charge next year, the Jets will either be faced a contract that is an eventual cap killer (no matter how deserved it might be) or they’ll have to face losing their best player and the team-killing PR hit that comes with it (something they are loathe to do).