Now hear this, Jets: Take the deal to end Revis drama now
The long-running Darrelle Revis-Jets drama is about to enter a new stage. Jason La Canfora says the Jets need to end it by trading him now.
It's time for the New York Jets to trade Darrelle Revis. Time to end the charade and take the best offer Tampa Bay has on the table and move on. Do it no later than during the first round of the draft, and preferably before next Monday.
Because that's when this fiasco could take another step toward Ringling Bros. terrain. New Jets general manager John Idzik inherited a mess, and has been charged with the complicated task of sweeping out a circus-like culture that has infected this organization and trying to retool for the future.
Having Revis actually report for the start of New York's offseason program next Monday, and kick-start another media free-for-all, just doesn't seem prudent to me. Take a bounty of second- and third-round picks, as many as you can get, from Tampa if it still won't part with the first-rounder, and move on from a player who seems to have no long-term future in New York.
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To review, Jets owner Woody Johnson wants to deal Revis, arguably the game's premier defender before tearing his ACL this past season, at the right price, and has since revamped his front office a few months back. Revis, a perennial All-Pro corner, never asked for a trade or threatened to hold out this offseason. He is entering the final year of the band-aid deal he signed in 2010 and has been rehabbing in Arizona, and making good progress doing so.
New York's offseason program begins April 15, and, as part of the last Revis contract in an effort to quash any future holdouts, there is language in the deal that requires Revis to take part in roughly 80 percent of the team's offseason program this offseason or risk $3 million in bonuses (he has a $3 million salary this season as well). And, as ESPN.com first reported, the Jets are holding him to the language of the deal. If he wants that $3 million he has to rehab with the team ... all while the Jets try to trade him in a passive-aggressive manner.
The Jets are sticking to the mantra that they aren't shopping Revis but are listening to offers. Everyone in the NFL knows they have been negotiating with the Bucs most of this offseason and that Johnson doesn't plan to re-sign Revis after the 2013 season at what the cornerback thinks he is worth (and the Bucs are prepared to pay; sources continue to affirm a new contract is not the holdup with this trade).
So next week Revis, the team's best player and one of its few remaining leaders, will fly cross country, drop a successful rehab, and then spend the ensuing weeks between now and the draft (or whenever a deal is completed) in an awkward limbo that puts the media spotlight back on the situation, with hordes of media camped outside the team's facility on Revis Watch. Teams are not required to do any formal media events at this time, and last year the Jets conducted only a few media conference calls when offseason workouts began but had no availability at the facility. But if you think that's going to prevent this from being a hot topic around New York, and stop reporters from staking out the place, well, you've never picked up a New York Post.
So, I just don't get it.
According to sources, Revis' camp communicated to the team that he would gladly report on the 15th, undergo any medical testing, meet with officials and coaches, but that, for the good of all parties, he then would return to Arizona until after the draft -- given that if the Jets can't get what they want in draft pick compensation before the draft, the odds of Revis playing a snap of football in New York this season greatly increase. So avoid the sideshow, get the medicals right, and then if there is no deal, he flies back to New York 10 days later and completes his rehab at the team facility (and Revis has no issues with any team doctors -- not even close -- it's more about just continuing to focus on his knee, and letting the trade stuff play out).
The Jets balked.
I suggested to a team source then that, if Revis is going to report on the 15th and be around the team every day from that point on, that the player and Idzik hold a press conference, get it out of the way, proclaim Revis would be a Jet in 2013, and move on -- and that's a scenario Revis wouldn't have a problem with, from what I gather. I was told that if the Jets did that, it would differ from what they have said all along about this affair, that they were listening if people were calling. Just remember, they're not really trying to trade him, right?
Obviously the team knows a deal could well be completed between now and April 26, and having that press conference could end up backfiring. I get that much. But what's another few days of Revis rehabbing in Arizona going to hurt? And will it look any better in the locker room to have him report next Monday, and then get dealt a few days later? Is that any less awkward?
Revis isn't going to risk $3 million to avoid another uncomfortable situation not of his own making, sources said, so you can be damn sure he'll be flying to New York next Sunday -- assuming he is not on Tampa's roster by then -- and then, well, let the stakeouts begin.
The Jets aren't saying much about the situation at this time, with Idzik focused solely on the draft (which makes total sense), and the team sticking to its stance that it will listen to offers, etc. The Jets aren't offering much in terms of explanation, though some have suggested they don't think the media reaction will be that crazy, pointing out the facility is closed to reporters this time of year anyway.
I heard rumblings this might be Johnson's way of showing Revis who's boss, and making a point (the only logical conclusion to some), and the team source said this was a management decision and not an ownership one.
Regardless, I don't know why now, at such a tenuous point for the franchise in trying to break free from the chaos of 2012, and at a time when it has been engaged in trade talks to ship its best player away, why it would want that player in the facility eight hours a day for the next 10 days while continuing to explore options to deal him. Really? And while he is doing well in Arizona and on a good program that team doctors haven't expressed any concern about to the best of my knowledge.
I'd tweak the contract language to mandate, say, attendance at 60 percent of the offseason program knowing full well Revis isn't going to skip out -- he wants the $3 million, and obviously holding out now coming off an ACL repair doesn't make sense -- and give him the wiggle room to stay away until after the draft. Then have the big (phony) Kumbaya press conference April 29 if a trade hasn't been made and Revis reports then.
(The media blew everything out of proportion. We never had any intention of dealing him. There were only preliminary talks. We never initiated anything, we only listened. We love Darrelle. We hope he's a Jet for life. You know, that press conference).
Trust me, Revis knows what's been going on, and, on the odd chance he is part of Gang Green in 2013, this next episode about to begin next week isn't going to make him feel any better about it. Both sides knew what the deal was back in 2010 when they concocted this contract to end his holdout and create a Hard Knocks ratings bonanza. They knew if they couldn't get a new deal done before the 2013 season, then, with the Jets sacrificing the ability to franchise him, things could get weird. And they have. And, again, Idzik is just walking into this mess, and I believe he will prove to be a steady hand to help lead them from the abyss.
I'd reconsider this particular stance, however, between now and whenever Revis is set to board that plane to New York. Let him be, just as he kept a low profile a few weeks back when the ownership meetings were in Phoenix.
Let this play out between now and the draft, and avoid further fanning a combustible situation for a fan base that has been through enough angst and drama already.
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