Two years ago, the Jets signed Darrelle Revis to a four-year contract worth $46 million, $32.5 million of which was guaranteed. They did it in early September only a few days before the opening weekend of the 2010 season, after Revis protested by holding out for all of training camp.
Two years ago, the Jets thought they had constructed a hold-out proof deal that paid Revis $32 million over the first two years, and then only $13.5 million over the next two. There are also three voidable years at the end of the contract, technically making it a seven-year deal. But the promise made to Revis was to keep those years voided if he plays ball and doesn’t hold out, and then he’d get paid again that much sooner.
That’s not how the NFL works from a players’ perspective. In fact, that’s never been how the NFL has worked from a players’ perspective, with careers short, and the window to make money brief. Revis has already pocketed over 70 percent of his contract, and what’s left isn’t near his value. He wants more, and thinks that he needs more, especially after the contract given to Nnamdi Asomugha last summer.
Asomugha signed a five-year deal with the Eagles worth $60 million, and there isn’t a significant drop off in pay at any point in his contract. While Revis will make $7.5 million this year and then a meager and painfully average $3 million next year, Asomugha is sitting comfortably with $11 million this season, followed by $15 million in 2013.
That’s a massive gap, especially since Revis is coming off of a much better season than Asomugha. That’s why he’s still speaking cryptically about holding out this summer and sitting comfortably on his couch during training camp. If and when that happens, the Jets can’t act surprised. Not even a little bit.
Revis has been asked the hold out question throughout this offseason, and each time he’s batted it away with a non-answer. The fact that he was even available to reporters was a positive sign. He attended all of the Jets’ offseason workouts, and did so amicably.
Yet he still won’t confirm or deny an upcoming hold out. While speaking at a charity event yesterday, Revis said that it’s not up to him when he gave his latest non-answer to the the hold out question.
“I don’t know. That’s up to (general manager) Mike Tannenbaum. I really don’t know.”
Translation: I have leverage, and I know it.
Revis is unquestionably the best shutdown cornerback in the league, and without him it’s a drop down for the Jets to Antonio Cromartie, a talented and fast corner who’s also a risk taker, and can get burned often. We’re at just the beginning of a passing era, and this past season Revis allowed just 41.2 percent of throws in his direction to be completed, according to Pro Football Focus, the X’s and O’s gurus who ranked him fifth overall in their top 100.
Pro Football Focus also wrote these glowing words:
Last season Revis was thrown at 85 times, but he allowed only 35 receptions and a single touchdown. Quarterbacks throwing into his coverage had a rating of just 45.6, and he got his hands to (either intercepted or defensed) 20 passes. Throwing at Revis was not a productive way to move the football, but teams forced it anyway.
The Jets need Revis, and he knows they need to pay him like the league’s best corner. He has leverage, and in about six weeks we’ll find out if he plans to use it.