MoNY Sports: Darrelle Revis and The NY Jets Together No More?

Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports had a column today where he states the Jets are in danger of losing Darrelle Revis forever.  While I do not disagree with the overall theme of the column, I do however, from my layman’s view, disagree with the reasoning.

“If the Jets can’t bridge the gap between what they are offering Revis and what he believes they promised him at the end of last season, he’s not showing up, period.”

Does anyone really know what the Jets promised Darrelle?  We are all know that the Jets told Revis  that they would redo his contract and make him a Jet for life and that he has outplayed his contract.  But did they promise to make him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL?  Did they promise him a specific guaranteed amount?  I highly doubt any numbers were promised when the season ended.  If they were than Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets lost all their negotiating power and I think they are smarter than that.

“Revis believes the Jets have toyed with him by making their initial overtures so public. If this had been done privately, Revis would have shown up for training camp even if a new contract hadn’t been agreed upon.”

Would he have really shown up for camp?  Nobody knows but I would tend to believe he would have still held out.  He held out as a rookie to get the contract he now doesn’t like.  He knows his uncle held out a full year, and his demands were met (after being traded).  Plus the history of his agents and the NY Jets practically dictated that he would hold out.  We all saw on Hard Knocks Tannenbaum get off the phone with Darrelle’s agents and say that was the first non-contentious conversation he has ever had with them.  And the relationship goes back some years, as they represented Pete Kendall and Chris Baker. Not to mention that the other high profile, ugly holdout right now is Vincent Jackson, who is represented by the same agents.

Jason Coles states it took him 30 seconds to figure that Revis wants $160 million.  We all know what he wants.  But this is a negotiation.  Both sides start at what they believe is warranted and then meet in the middle.  The Jets also have to take into account other factors, such as the signing of Ferguson and Mangold (subsequently signed to long term deals with the team).

“Schwartz and Feinsod crafted a brilliant contract for Revis the first time, one so good that no other team has ever done it since. Schwartz and Feinsod know leverage and they have certain principles.”

Now, I do not know the particulars of Revis original contract, but I do know he is scheduled to make around $1 million this year and, according to the article, $21 million over the next three years.  He is underpaid when you look at the one year figure, but he averages $7 million for the 3 year period.  That is still underpaid for his skills, but Revis keeps mentioning the $1 million figure.  And you have to remember, Revis and his agents held out for this contract.  The majority of his money was front loaded.  They knew years ago that he would make $1 million on 2010.  If I was running the team I would be weary of giving a high value contract with some years at minimal money just for this reason.  The player can claim they are underpaid but ignore the fact that they made most of the money already.

And I believe that once the season starts the leverage all belongs to the team.  They control the rights to Revis.  If they fundamentally disagree on the value, they can dig in their heels and hold out till the team feels the contract is fair.  The team goes on.  The team keeps playing.  They will not be as great as they can be if Revis holds out the year, but they will still be very good.  Revis will sit out and lose the year.  He will lose the money for this year and 1 year off his football life. And sitting out will cause him to lose a year towards free agency eligibility.  And there is the potential that the players will be locked out by the owners in 2011 and no football would be played.  So is he willing to sit out two years, potentially three if the jets want to be spiteful?  And if he did, I highly doubt that he would return the same player.  You can’t lose two years of your football life and return as the best defender in the game.

“Gilbert learned that great players get great money even if they miss an entire season. This year alone, No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford got $50 million guaranteed even though he was coming off an injury-marred season in which he barely played. Likewise, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jermaine Gresham were both first-round picks this year despite barely playing last season in college.”

Another fundamental part of the column I disagree with is the comparison of Revis’s original contract with that of 1st round rookies of this year.  You can’t compare the contracts.  1st round pick contacts increase dramatically each year.  Why do you think The NFL is wants to institute a rookie cap.  Because the salaries are outrageous for people who have never played a down in the pros.  If a #1 pick doesn’t work out, the team is set back for years.  If Sam Bradford turns into nothing more than a backup for St Louis in the next couple of years, would they be able to go out and draft another early 1st round QB and pay him top money when Bradford is already guaranteed $50 million.  Darrell, drafted in 2007 at #14, held out and eventually signed a 6 yr $30 million contract with $16 million guaranteed.

Lets compare him to the #1 picks, as Coles does.  The following are the contract values of the #1 picks since 2007:

YEAR     PLAYER                          CONTRACT VALUE        GUARANTEED VALUE

2007        Jarmarcus Russell            $61M                                    $32M

2008        Jake Long                          $57.75M                               $30M

2009        Matthew Stafford             $72M                                    $41.7M

2010        Same Bradford                  $78M                                    $50M

You can see the spiraling costs of the 1st pick.  And the increase in the value of the #1 pick causes all following picks values to increase as well.

In the end, this may end badly for all interested parties.  The Jets may not have their best player on the field for their Super Bowl run this year (and it is looking more and more like he won’t be here).  Darrell may miss a year of income and playing time.  The Jets could force him not to play for 3 years.  If Darrelle forces a trade, the Jets could trade him anywhere.  And to be spiteful who’s to say they don’t trade him to a perennial non contender and his languishes there.

So the best option for all involved is to go into a room, lock the door and not come out till a new contract is settled.  How does $150 million over 10 years with $40 million guaranteed sound?

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