It’s extremely difficult to fathom that a player of Darrelle Revis’ caliber could actually be difficult to unload. But such is the case when considering his big contract demands amidst a stagnant free-agent market, a flat salary cap, injury concerns and an ego many perceive to be bigger than the metaphorical island he inhabits. With a narrow trade window closing, the Jets could find themselves stuck with a disgruntled corner aversely playing out his final year of a contract.
The only logical reason for a team to trade for Revis would be if it couldn’t wait a year to bid for his services on the open market. It’s not clear why a team would be compelled to give up so much just to get a player a year earlier when it can use this season as a test to see what type of corner Revis is post-injury.
It’s not as if trading for Revis rather than waiting will be a benefit financially. Whoever is willing to bring him in this year will almost certainly have to agree to a contract extension before the trade is finalized. Revis seems cemented in his own worth, expecting to get paid in the neighborhood of $15 million a year regardless of his injury. Waiting for him to hit the open market cannot possibly inflate his going rate considering he is already asking top dollar.
This seems to be a major roadblock for teams who may have otherwise been interested in trading for Revis. Perhaps this is a case of a player’s ego and greed overshadowing his talent. It’s no secret he has built a reputation of being very difficult to please financially; holdouts have become routine with Revis since his rookie season.
If a team happens to be interested in renting Revis for a year, it wouldn’t make much sense considering his asking price, which appears to be somewhere in the ballpark of a first- and second-round draft pick. This is what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly offered, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Another obstacle standing in the way of team interest for the best cover corner in the league is his knee problems.
The cornerback position inherently demands a great deal of a player’s knees. Sudden reactions, changing directions and optimal speed are all necessities in order to play the position at an elite level. Frankly, most teams are not sure if Revis will ever be the same player he once was.
Conventional wisdom says that cornerbacks are a high-risk position for production drop-off after a big, long-term contract.
Former general manager Bill Polian spoke about this phenomenon on a segment of ESPN’s NFL Live. He believes cornerbacks tend to play with more reservation and less physicality after getting paid big. Apparently, complacency is a bigger risk for cornerbacks than other positions.
In any case, Revis has at least proven he can play at a high level for a top-tier salary.
But is a team willing to gamble a costly contract figure on a post-injury Revis? Not likely with the current salary-cap freeze that has already dried up the market for tons of capable free-agent veterans. Many are still looking for homes and would work for a fraction of the cost.
Without another team seriously in the mix to bid for Revis, the Jets are left with little leverage to negotiate. The smart thing for John Idzik Jr. (the Jets' new general manager) to do at this point would be to just take what he can get, which appears to be the Buccaneers’ first- and second-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Idzik has apparently been holding out in the hopes he can nab their first-rounder in this year’s draft instead, which would be the 13th pick overall.
The Buccaneers also appear willing to pay Revis the $15-16 million he’s demanding per year. The offers for No. 24 aren’t likely to get any better than they are right now. If the Bucs drop their offer, as strange as it sounds, Darrelle Revis may become the best player nobody wants. “Revis Island” is beginning to look more like Easter Island.