The Revis Sweepstakes
One of the hot story lines not involving the upcoming Super Bowl revolves around New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets appear to be fishing for a potential trade offer to move the 27-year-old star and his lofty contract expectations.
According to various reports, here are the specifics: The Jets are currently scheduled to be roughly $19 million over the salary cap next year. Revis is currently a $9 million hit on the cap and trading him would be a $12 million hit in dead money for 2013. Retaining him may cost less now, but he would essentially walk out the door as a free agent after the season and provide the Jets nothing in return.
Revis is due $3 million in base salary in 2013 and additional $3 million in bonus money. The Jets have a clause in the contract which will not allow Revis to hold out, since if he did, Revis would be locked into a yearly $3 million salary from 2014-16. Naturally, he would not want to hold out since he could earn significantly more by simply playing elsewhere. He also has the power (player option) to void the contract after the 2013 season, allowing him to enter free agency at that time. The Jets were already shopping for a trade before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury so that makes it very clear they do not plan on extending his contract. Furthermore, Revis has recently announced that he wants a blockbuster contract worth at least as much as Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams' deal. That agreement was for six years, $96 million ($16 million per year) with $50 million guaranteed. There is another clause in the contract which does not allow the Jets to use the franchise tag with him.
With all this in mind, there couldn't be a worse time to trade the four-time Pro Bowler. He is coming off injury, has a history of tough negotiations, and only has one year left on his deal with no guarantee he will re-sign. Needless to say, New York and brand new general manager John Idzik is in a tough spot.
A number of teams are reportedly interested in trade talks, such as Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, New England and Buffalo even though it is highly unlikely the Jets would trade him to a division rival. New York's asking price is a first and second round pick to obtain "Revis Island."
Trades of this magnitude do not come along often in the rigid financial waters of the NFL. At best, there might be one per season. Acquiring arguably the best defensive player in the NFL would transform a franchise, especially if he can return healthy and still play at an elite level.
Idzik, who has been on the job for only a few days, will have his hands full this off-season and if he plays this right, he could secure his job for years. On the other hand, trading away his best player for peanuts because of the previous regime's awful salary cap management may spell disaster for this already waffling franchise.