- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Looking at the Jets and the rest of the NFL:
1. Cancel this Foxborough shuttle: Let's end this notion right now. If Darrelle Revis plays out his contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent, there's no way he'll end up in New England. Tom Brady is the big fish in Beantown, and he'll remain the Patriots' highest-paid player for as long as he's around. It would contradict the Patriot Way to pay another player more than Saint Tom, who, in case you missed it, took a hometown discount last week.
Combining his three-year extension with his two existing years, Brady reportedly averages $14.5 million per year -- below what Revis is seeking. Bill Belichick might feign interest to drive up the price (and tweak the Jets), but he'll never undercut Brady by paying someone else more -- especially someone who once called him a "jerk."
2. Diminishing return: If the Jets get to the point where they decide to trade Revis (which, in my opinion, is how this will end), they need to remember this: In 2007, they traded their second-round pick to switch places with the Panthers and move up 11 spots in the first round, picking him 14th overall. As an asset, Revis has appreciated over time, so the Jets shouldn't settle for anything less than their original investment -- first- and second-round picks.
By the way, Revis was the second DB drafted that year. Can you name the first? Answer below.
3. More Revis thoughts: Trading Revis in the offseason could cost the Jets a quality starter. How's that? Right now, he's counting $9 million on the cap. If he's dealt, his "dead" charge is $12 million. That extra $3 million could mean the difference between re-signing a free agent like Mike DeVito or letting him go. In other words, you lose more than a premier cornerback if you trade Revis.
The counter argument: If you wait until the end of the preseason to trade him, the dead charge is $15 million because he will have received $3 million in bonuses by then -- $1 million roster, $1 million workout and $1 million reporting. The Jets would have to leave themselves enough cap flexibility to incur an additional $6 million beyond his current cap figure, and that won't be easy. Let's face it, it's a mess.
CLARIFICATION: I checked with a CBA expert, and it turns out the Jets can spread the cap hit over two years if they trade him after June 1. If they were to trade him after the start of training camp and before the regular season, they'd take a $6 million hit this year -- $3 million for the pro-rated portion of his 2011 option bonus, plus the $3 million he will have earned with the three bonuses. Under this scenario, they'd actually clear $3 million in cap room for 2013, strengthening the notion that it pays to wait. Of course, the downside is they'd take a $9 million hit in 2014 by trading him -- the remaining pro-ration of the option bonus.
4. Draft nuggets: The Jets have met with the top 10 quarterback prospects, according to senior personnel exec Terry Bradway. In an interview with the team website, he said the strength of the QB class will be in the second and third round, although he suspects a couple will wind up as first-rounders. Reading between the lines, this tells me the Jets don't have any quarterbacks with a first-round grade.
Other insights from Bradway: The best values at safety and running back are Rounds 2 to 4. There are 12 to 14 wide receivers who can make significant contributions as rookies. Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan (shoulder surgery), a player linked to the Jets at No. 9, might not be ready until early training camp.
5. Crystal ball: Prediction on the early theme of free agency for the Jets -- exodus. I can easily see them losing mainstays such as DeVito, Dustin Keller, Brandon Moore and Shonn Greene, along with LaRon Landry. Even with the bump in the cap, they're still only about $8 million under. It'll take about $8 million for the draft and restricted-free agent tenders, so they're really operating with no room for spending. They have to make cuts (Tim Tebow) and restructure contracts (Santonio Holmes) to create room.
6. Austin Power: The Jets are trying to decide whether to give RT Austin Howard the first-round tender ($2.86 million) or second-round tender ($2.02 million) as a restricted free agent. Something they should consider: The Ravens, Howard's first team, own the last pick in the second round and could be looking for a left tackle to replace free-agent LT Bryant McKinnie. Howard, almost 26, would be better than any draft pick at that spot, so it wouldn't be a shock if the Ravens explore an offer sheet.
7. Out like Flynn: A lot of folks are saying the Jets should trade for Seahawks backup QB Matt Flynn, but he'd hardly be a sure thing. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, formerly Flynn's coordinator in Green Bay, passed on him last offseason. Chiefs GM John Dorsey, formerly a Packers exec, also passed, as the Chiefs opted to trade for Alex Smith. It tells you something about a player when the people who know him best don't want him.
8. No ordinary Joe: Ravens QB Joe Flacco landed a six-year, $120.6 million contract, the 13th $100 million deal in NFL history. Of the eight contracts no longer active, the biggest actual payout was Brett Favre, who got $54.6 million of a $100 million deal, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Moral of the story: There's a lot of funny money in the NFL.
9. No ordinary Joe, Part II: Three weeks ago, I had lunch with Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, for a story on another client, Stony Brook RB Miguel Maysonet. Linta, describing his penchant for signing small-school players (Flacco came from Delaware), admitted it's a risky way to do business. "It's living on the edge, but I like taking the road less traveled," he said. After his Flacco commission, Linta will be driving that road in style.
10. A poor Reid-option: Alex Smith fits Andy Reid's West Coast offense because of his short accuracy, but let's be real here: The Chiefs gave up too much in the trade, sending the 49ers a second-round pick (No. 34) this year and a conditional pick in 2014. Smith isn't that good, but it's a weak quarterback class. Plus, the Chiefs have a poor track record for drafting passers. The last 10 quarterbacks drafted by the Chiefs never won a game for the franchise, per ESPN Stats. Where have you gone, Len Dawson?
Answer to the trivia question: LaRon Landry, drafted sixth overall by the Redskins.
6dESPN Stats & Information