Commentary

Jets must address Revis' deal soon

As offseason program begins, last thing Gang needs is an unhappy star corner

Updated: April 12, 2012, 12:55 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

Darrelle Revis Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMIRevis, who made $32.5 million over the past two years, will see his salary decrease in the next two.

The New York Jets' offseason headlines have been dominated by Tim Tebow and the locker-room dysfunction that undermined last season, knocking another storyline completely off the radar:

Darrelle Revis' contract.

Revis has two years remaining on the four-year, $46 million deal he signed after a 35-day holdout in 2010, so you're probably wondering why his contract needs to be mentioned at all. Here's why:

That was a "Band-Aid" contract, a short-term compromise after the two sides failed to agree on a long-term deal -- and it was a long, hard, ugly battle. It produced a one-year extension, not a full-blown deal.

"This is an intermediate step to what we hope will be an entire career of Darrelle as a Jet, for him to retire as a Jet and for him to hopefully go to the Hall of Fame as a Jet," general manager Mike Tannenbaum acknowledged at the time.

It might behoove the Jets to take that next step, the big step -- now.

On Monday, the Jets begin their offseason program, the start of what promises to be an eventful journey. With all the potential distractions -- namely Mark Sanchez versus Tebow and Sanchez versus Santonio Holmes -- the last thing they need is additional stress. They should be focused on bonding, healing.

This isn't to suggest Revis will become a headache. But why risk a repeat of 2010?

Revis is only 27 (in July), coming off another great season, and they can't let him play out his deal because it includes a clause that prohibits them from using the franchise tag. They could wait until next year to address it, but that would contradict the spirit of the so-called "Band-Aid" contract.

One or two years are a Band-Aid; three would be stretching it. Not even owner Woody Johnson's family company -- Johnson & Johnson -- can produce an adhesive strip that can hold up for three years.

No doubt, Revis made great money the past two years, a total of $32.5 million -- accomplishing the $16 million-a-year average (the Nnamdi Asomugha standard) he coveted. But his compensation drops to $7.5 million this year and $6 million in 2013 -- a bargain rate for the best cornerback in the NFL.

It's hard to imagine Revis, whom Rex Ryan called one of the two best corners in history (Deion Sanders the other), playing two prime years for a total of $13.5 million.

The financial landscape changed this offseason. Now Revis looks out and sees huge, non-quarterback deals -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (eight years, $132 million max, including $60 million guaranteed) and Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (six years, $100 million max, including $50 million guaranteed).

Revis has to be wondering about his own situation.

The market is more defined than it was two years ago, when the Jets argued that Asomugha's $16 million-a-year deal from the Oakland Raiders -- his old team -- was an aberration. Now, for many reasons, this might be the opportune time for the Jets to lock up their best player and not have to worry about it ever again.

They already know that Revis will fight. Yes, there's a holdout deterrent in his contract -- a no-show in camp triggers a three-year extension, through 2016 -- but that scares Revis as much as a rematch with the Bills' Stevie Johnson. In other words, not really.

There are still five months until the regular season, plenty of time to remove the Band-Aid.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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