13 Sep 2010
by J.I. Halsell
On the surface, the new deal for cornerback Darrelle Revis seems to be a win-win for both player and team. Revis got his big payday and the Jets got their shutdown corner back in time for the regular season. But the amount of money the Jets gave to Revis may have set a terrible precedent for the future, with Revis and other players.
On his rookie contract, Revis had 2010-2012 remaining with $20.5 million practically guaranteed. On his new deal, over 2010-2012, Revis will make $40 million with $32.5 million reportedly guaranteed. The important measure for agents and teams trying to determind the value of a contract is the new money for the player versus the additional years for the team. With that in mind, over the 2010-2012 seasons, the Jets are giving Revis an additional $19.5 million. When you add the new year of 2013 and the $6 million Revis will earn then, the Jets will essentially pay Revis $25.5 million of new money to get one additional year under contract.
Whether they started the talks or not, the Jets faced the problem of a player who wanted to hold them hostage despite having three years left on his deal -- not one, not even two, but three. The precedent has been that players get new deals when they have one year left, and occasionally when they have two years left, a la Patrick Willis.
The Titans faced a similar problem with running back Chris Johnson, who, like Revis, is considered the best player at his position in the NFL. To put a Band-Aid on the situation, the Titans moved his $1.25 million year five escalator into this season in the form of a signing bonus, but they didn't give him any new money.
Prior to his extension Revis was due roughly $500,000, $5 million, and $15 million in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. Applying the Johnson solution to Revis' contract, the Jets could have moved the money around so that he received the $15 million in 2010, $5 million or so in 2011 and under a million in 2012, with a wink-nod agreement that a new deal would be consummated prior to the 2012 season.
I am not saying that the Jets didn't think of this solution, or even propose it to Revis, but the team should have called Revis' bluff instead of giving him so much money for so little in return. Revis is clearly a difference maker on the defense, but the Jets could have gone forward with former Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie, who is in a contract year, and 2010 first-round pick Kyle Wilson. Perhaps Rex Ryan, worrying about the expectations on his team, pressed the issue and pressured the team to get a deal done.
Now Jets players like Mark Sanchez or Shonn Greene could look to redo their deals after 2010, and there's no guarantee that Revis won't want a new contract in 2012. It's almost certain that he'll get a new deal by 2013. If Revis was willing to hold out with three years and $20.5 million remaining on his rookie deal, then he won't think twice about holding out again prior to 2013 when he's due only $6 million. Sure there's the issue of his 2014-2016 years voiding if he doesn't hold out, but if he was willing to hold out with three years remaining on a deal, then he'll surely hold out with four years remaining on a deal, rendering this voidable provision toothless.
So kudos to Neil Schwartz and Darrelle Revis for getting something for nothing, and I'm guessing the Jets front office may be disappointed in the deal. During the Revis saga, we heard about the anomaly that the Nnamdi Asomugha contract is on the cornerback market; going forward, we'll be referring to the Revis extension as an anomaly as well.
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