The New York Jets, fresh off an exhaustive hunt for new general manager John Idzik, will explore options to deal star corner Darrelle Revis this offseason, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Revis, whose contract voids after the 2014 season, is set to earn $6 million in 2013 (between salary and bonuses), and owner Woody Johnson has strong reservations about the ability to extend Revis's deal, the sources said. Johnson has expressed his desire to attempt to land value for Revis now, rather than risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent a year from now, most likely seeking as much draft-pick compensation for him as possible.
The Jets are very much in transition mode, they have cap issues moving forward and are trying to embark on a rebuilding process after firing former long-time general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Revis, who missed almost all of last season after suffering a torn ACL, engaged in a long holdout in 2010 that resulted in a contract extension that was more of a Band-Aid than anything else.
Revis signed a seven-year deal then that voids to a four-year pact, thus making him an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season. The deal also precludes him being hit with the franchise tag or any other such mechanism. Johnson has made it very clear he would like to pursue a means to reap rewards for Revis now, sources said, and it is likely to be an immediate part of Idzik's initial job duties.
Revis is considered by many to be the best defensive player in the game. And with pass rusher Mario Williams earning $60 million guaranteed from Buffalo a year ago, Johnson understands how financially restrictive it would be to retain Revis. His team desperately needs young, cheap, impact players to help reposition the team for the future, with 2013 a year of transition.
Revis is the only real trading chip that he has. Knee injury or not, there would be no shortage of teams interested in securing his services and no shortage of rebuilding teams sitting on massive cap space in 2013. The Jets are also likely to be hard-pressed to retain free agents like tight end Dustin Keller, running back Shonn Greene and defensive tackle Mike DeVito, though they will make a push to retain DeVito, sources said.
Getting Revis signed to an extension would be a possibility to remedy this situation, but the sources said Johnson has established his desire to move the star corner if he can secure fair value in exchange.
Dealing Revis would incur a $9 million cap hit due to some option-bonus prorations involved in the contract -- thus Revis would count an additional $3 million against the cap than he is currently scheduled to -- but the Jets could navigate that relatively easily according to sources familiar with their cap situation, via a restructuring or by releasing a veteran. The team is using 2013 as a year for cap and budgetary housecleaning to get situated for the future. It stands to reason that come 2014, both Revis and head coach Rex Ryan, are gone.
For more on Revis' situation, tune into Inside the NFL on Showtime Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.