All Jets fans have heard about the possibility of another holdout by all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis who has been non-committal about attending mandatory training camp. This article is not about player contract comparisons or what Revis deserves or doesn’t deserve. Could bore you with figures about Revis’ contracts and the amount of salary which he has been paid during his Jets career but fact is a holdout by Revis this season could spell the end of his playing time with the green and white.
If Revis were to holdout it would be the third time since being drafted in 2007. Revis originally signed a 6 year rookie contract after sitting out portion of training camp. The nation was treated to his next holdout in 2010, only 3 years into the rookie deal, on the HBO football documentary “Hard Knocks.” The Jets and Revis eventually came to an agreement on a new 4 year contract ending his second holdout.
Now 2 years into this new deal Revis is threatening to holdout again, even though this would add years to the contract and prevent him from potentially becoming an unrestricted free agent, with the Jets having no rights to tag/restrict Revis after the 2013 season. The Jets do not want to get into a “bidding war” over Revis so working out a long term deal before the current one expires does make sense, but here’s what does not make sense.
By holding out this year Revis automatically sets up an adversarial relationship with the Jets. Put your personal feelings aside, all Jets fans want Revis to play this season, but if you’re the Jets front office can you acquiesce to Revis’ demands once again? What would stop Revis from holding-out whenever he is not happy? Revis may believe the leverage of not playing outweighs the risks and the Jets will just rip up his old contract replacing it with a new one thus the additional years become meaningless.
This is a flawed strategy, the Jets would have no choice but to dig in their heels and not give into Revis. They have already set some bad precedents allowing him to “hold the team hostage” and cannot allow it again. Since the Jets will not increase Revis’ salary in 2012, no matter how long he stays away, Revis will have to decide to come back to the team.
If/when he returns, with no new deal, the Jets might have to trade him because the relationship could be too fractured for repair. One would wonder if Revis, now under contract of three more years at a reduced rate as well as having to pay high league holdout fines/penalties, would be motivated to play at the super-high level we’ve seen.
Teams can’t just give into demands nor should they always refuse to work on an unhappy player’s contract. It is really a case-by-case basis but the franchises have to keep the team’s interest in mind when structuring contracts, it is after all a salary cap league. Bottom line, no one player is more important than the team.
If Revis would simple play under the 2012 contract terms he could inform the Jets he plans to play-out the contract and hit the open market if some long term deal isn’t worked out. Now the pressure would be on the Jets to get the deal done prior to the start of the 2013 season not the “lock horns” scenario we’d see with a 2012 holdout.
Players want the security of a long term deal as career ending injuries do occur but there is a time for contract negotiations. Revis has expressed wanting to get a “retirement contract” with the Jets and they would like for this to happen but it just makes sense to do it next offseason.