Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets must treat future hall of fame cornerback Darrelle Revis like a business, just as he did towards them.
Darrelle Revis is a lot of things to the New York Jets.
He’s one of the greatest players in team history, perhaps the greatest since No. 12. He’s a future hall of famer who’ll skate into Canton wearing the green and white helmet. He is, by most accounts, one of the top three cornerbacks in the history of football.
He’s also a world class businessman.
Three teams, five contracts, and 10 seasons later, Revis has spent his entire NFL career looking for that last penny.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but let’s not revise history. Revis the businessman is as crude as it comes.
Remember the Summer of 2010? It was the magical summer Jets fans were still riding that high of an unexpected AFC Championship Game appearance after sneaking into the tournament with a 9-7 record. Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes were still buzzing around the league. He always dialed up the correct genius blitz while using the best cornerback in the world to literally take away half of the field on his unique island.
Revis, still playing under the terms of his rookie deal, wanted to get paid.
Though he still had three years remaining on his initial 6-year, $30 million deal, Darrelle made it clear to fans and the organization that he would not play for a penny less than he felt was warranted. It led to the bitter feelings as seen in HBO’s Hard Knocks.
It led to Ryan storming out of a mini-meeting after threatening agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, who’d later be terminated by the All-Pro CB. It ultimately led to Revis getting shipped out of town by John Idzik, who many outsiders feel was tasked with the job by Woody Johnson upon his arrival.
Through all the trials and tribulations, how Revis has conducted himself during his 10-year career has been nothing short of respectable. After all, the National Football League isn’t just a game, it’s a business. Players lay their bodies out on the line to put food in bellies and roofs over heads. They do it all in a league that sees a player average just 3.3 years.
There’s nothing wrong with the businessman Revis.
While singing that song, however, Mike Maccagnan and the Jets need to realize business needs to be conducted with the businessman. Upon the conclusion of the 2017 season, either Revis must convert to safety with a team friendly pay cut or New York needs to move on from one of its greatest defensive players in franchise history.
No warm and fuzzy feelings come to those who’ve already created cold and cutthroat sentiments.
The struggling fallen star is slated to make an absurd $15 million in 2017, including a $2 million roster bonus that kicks in on the second day of the new NFL year in March. Mikey Mac already knows he can’t pay Revis this type of dough. No chance he can do it for a below average corner with horrid speed.
Revis’ base pay is $13 million next year, $6 million of which is guaranteed. This means if the Jets cut him prior to receiving the roster bonus in March, they’d get stuck with $6 million against the cap.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 31, 2016
Six million dollars of dead cap space is much rosier than a $17 million cap hit for an over-the-hill corner who can’t cover anybody. Everybody who’s watched every Jets game this season understands that concept.
Should Revis take a pay cut and move to safety, the issue of how Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist will shake out would remain to be seen. Gilchrist is signed through 2018 and Pryor through the 2017 season. Perhaps both could stay. Pryor — after witnessing his horrible coverage skills — may just be suited as a third, in-the-box safety.
This, though, needs to be a secondary thought. The first issue revolves around Revis’ willingness in making the transition and Jets brass actually laying the hammer down to, arguably, the best defender in team history.
At 32-years of age in 2017, Revis could have brought on a friendlier organizational sentiment if he played his cards right a half-decade ago. He just simply didn’t do that, which is perfectly fine in the grand scheme of things.
But, now, Woody and the Jets will control the game. Now, thanks to age and, perhaps, less of a work ethic, Revis will have to concede to their demands, or else.
If he doesn’t, it’s bye-bye Revis.