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Re-working Revis' deal could solve Jets' cap woes, but it's risky

The Jets could reduce Darrelle Revis' $17 million cap number, but it could hinder them down the road. AP Photos/David Drapkin

`Thoughts, observations and notes on the New York Jets:

1. Money man: When a team wants to restructure a contract to create salary-cap room, the top candidate usually is the player with the biggest cap charge. For instance: Miami Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum mentioned last week he might restructure Ndamukong Suh ($28.6 million cap number). For the Jets, the top man on the totem pole is Darrelle Revis ($17 million), who, like Suh, signed a mega free-agent deal last offseason

I believe Revis is amenable to re-working his contract, which has four years and $54 million remaining (including $23 million fully guaranteed). There's no downside for Revis -- he gets his money, no matter what -- but it would be a double-edged sword for the Jets. They could save a ton of cap room in 2016, allowing them to re-sign their key free agents and be active in the free-agent market. They'd be all-in for '16. The negative is they'd be pushing money into the back end of his deal.

Let's say they converted $16 million of his $17 million base salary into a signing bonus. Revis' 2016 cap charge would be lowered to $5 million, saving $12 million. That's big. The downside is the bonus would be pro-rated over the final four years, increasing his cap charge by $4 million in each year. His number in 2017 would balloon to $19.3 million. It might not be the smartest strategy, considering his age (31 next season). Right now, they have the ability to walk away in 2018 without a cap hit. That changes if they restructure.

The Jets can explore other avenues before approaching Revis, money-saving methods with no strings attached. They can save $8 million by releasing Antonio Cromartie, and they probably will ask D'Brickashaw Ferguson ($14.1 million) to take a pay cut. The biggest money saver would be a tag-and-trade with Muhammad Wilkerson, but you'd also be giving up your top defensive player.

The Revis scenario is intriguing, though. They'd get fast cash, but the credit-card bill wouldn't be pretty. A lot of us can relate to that.

2. Future Jets? There's a pretty good chance at least a couple of players from Saturday's Senior Bowl will wind up in a Jets uniform. General manager Mike Maccagnan likes drafting Senior Bowl alums, as we learned from last year's draft. Three of the the Jets' six picks played in the game -- wide receiver Devin Smith, linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and quarterback Bryce Petty. Undrafted linebacker Deion Barnes, who is still on the Jets' roster, also played. This doesn't mean Maccagnan is wary of drafting underclassmen. See: First-round pick Leonard Williams, a 20-year-old junior when he was selected.

3. Bullish on a Bison: There was a lot of buzz in Mobile, Ala., about North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, and you can bet there will be a lot of Jets-Wentz speculation over the next three months. But don't get your hopes up, Jets fans. Unless he gets arrested or starts throwing like Tim Tebow, there's no chance he will fall to the Jets with the 20th pick

4. Broadway Carson: You have to like the kid's moxie. In an interview with the Jets' official web site, Wentz said, "I'm a competitive son of a gun. If I'm not winning or not the best at something, I'm going to work my tail off to be the best. As a team looks for a franchise quarterback, they need a winner. Everyone wants a winner, and I think you're getting that with me." Wentz led the Bisons to a 20-3 record and back-to-back FCS titles.

5. Red-hot Pepper: The Pro Football Focus web site named its coordinators and position coaches of the year, and the only coach on Todd Bowles' staff to get recognized was Pepper Johnson -- and deservedly so. He did a terrific job with the defensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison enjoyed career years, and Williams -- a Day 1 starter because of Sheldon Richardson's suspension -- was one of the top rookies in the league.

6. Special job awaits: Three weeks after firing Bobby April, who has since been hired by the Tennessee Titans, Bowles still hasn't named a new special teams coordinator. Look for that to happen this week. That he waited this long suggests he will hire someone from the college ranks. National signing day is Wednesday, when recruiting ends. The new coach will be the Jets' fifth special teams coach in five years. Welcome to the revolving door, whoever you are.

7. Finding happiness in Denver: Only two players remain from the Jets' 2012 draft, and it could be down to zero by the time next season begins, as both Demario Davis and Antonio Allen are pending free agents. Two players from that eight-man class are on Super Bowl teams -- Stephen Hill (Carolina Panthers, injured reserve) and Josh Bush (Denver Broncos). Bush, a valuable backup safety, was released by the Jets in October, 2014. He harbors no bitterness, and he credits a lot of his success to Rex Ryan, the Jets' former coach.

"I learned so much in Rex Ryan's scheme, just the different ways of blitzing and having different coverages and different packages," he told me. "I learned how to study and pick up different offenses, and that carries over throughout your career."

8. Postcard from Hawaii: Running back Chris Ivory and center Nick Mangold are the only two Jets in Sunday night's Pro Bowl, which is kind of amazing when you consider a record 133 players received invites. The format is flawed, and the league needs to take a hard look at the entire Pro Bowl concept. But here's a prediction: Ivory will have a big game. Defenders don't like to tackle him when the games matter, so imagine how hesitant they'll be when playing at three-quarters speed in a meaningless game.