One of the loudest NFL rumors of the offseason was the rampant speculation about New York Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis potentially holding out for a new contract for the second time in three seasons.
Entering his sixth NFL season, the 27-year-old Revis has been one of the most outstanding players in football, at any position, over the last few seasons.
In his first five seasons, he was selected to four Pro Bowls, and three All-Pro teams, and he’s been a legitimate contender for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award each of the last three seasons.
Two seasons ago, as chronicled on the HBO program, “Hard Knocks,” Revis and his agents engaged in a lengthy, testy holdout that literally had Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum pulling his hair out at times.
Despite signing a six-year rookie deal in 2007, Revis and his representatives believed he had outperformed his contract so demonstratively that he deserved the final three years of that deal renegotiated.
To be fair to Revis’s camp, they had a point. And after 36 long, tedious days of negotiations in the summer of 2010, Revis and the Jets agreed to a new contract that should’ve put the holdout talk on the backburner for awhile.
However, Revis and his representatives had been coy at times over the last few weeks and months, seemingly insinuating that they were not happy with the second half of Revis’s four-year, $46 million deal.
During a youth football clinic in his hometown of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Revis said that he wasn’t sure if he’d be at training camp in Cortland. “That’s up to Mike Tannenbaum,” he said, alluding to potential unrest with his deal.
The contract he signed in 2010 was a bit quirky, but it had to be to satisfy both sides.
Revis was paid a total of $32.5 million in the first two years of the deal, and he’s set to make a total of $13.5 million in 2012 and 2013.
It’s no surprise that, like any negotiator would, Revis’s agents would want to get him more money now because of a perceived paycut this season. But that’s what he signed. He got it frontloaded, and he should be satisfied.
Granted, throughout this entire period of speculation about a potential Revis holdout redux, I remained unconvinced. As I wrote in early June, a Revis holdout cannot, should not and will not happen. At least not this year.
I laid it out then, and I’ll lay it out now. All due credit to Tannenbaum and the Jets for putting a de facto anti-holdout clause in Revis’s deal.
If Revis holds out of even a single day of any mandatory team activities, which includes training camp, his deal gets automatically extended three extra seasons throughout the 2016 season, and at very team-friendly figures.
Three option years of $3 million each would automatically vest for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons if Revis were to hold out this year or next. The four-year, $46 million deal would essentially become seven-years, $55 million.
The bottom line is that Revis wants a new contract. He does not want to make a total of $13.5 million over the next two years. But he also doesn’t want to get locked into a team-friendly contract for longer than he has to be.
That’s why any NFL rumors about Darrelle Revis potentially holding out of training camp in 2012 were never truly realistic. Revis will play out the 2012 season and likely renegotiate his deal next offseason.
I expect that Revis will be a Jet for life. But the only way to void those three tacked on years is to be a good citizen and show up to camp on time, and every day. It might not be what he wants, but it’s really his only option.
Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets will call his bluff. If Revis really wanted to hold out and try to put pressure on the team, the Jets would tell him to simply sit out until his contract expires, in 2016, when Revis is 31.
There’s absolutely no chance that Revis would do that, and therefore there’s virtually no chance that he’ll take his chances and hold out this season. Expect to see him at training camp, bright and early, every day.