Some thoughts and observations on the Darrelle Revis contract situation:
First of all, everybody needs to take a deep breath. So he missed a voluntary workout; it's not going to trigger the fall of Western civilization. This happens all the time in the NFL. They have two months to training camp to strike a deal. What you're getting now is the rhetoric and posturing phase of the negotiations. If it's Aug. 20, and Revis is nowhere no be found, it's time to worry. At that point, give or take, his absence would start to impact the regular season. For now, stay calm.
Now, some points:
1. Revis says he wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. That is a justifiable stance. After all, Rex Ryan has said many, many, many times that Revis is the best corner in the league. (Sometimes I think GM Mike Tannenbaum cringes when Ryan starts gushing about a player.) If your own coach thinks you're the best, why not ask to be paid the highest?
2. The Jets are dealing with a potential image problem. There's a perception in league circles that they're a patchwork team of free agents and one-year mercenaries. There might be something to that. Look at the current roster, and you will find only two starters -- WR Jerricho Cotchery and LB Bryan Thomas -- that received long-term contract extensions near the end of their rookie deals. The Jets need to do a better job of taking care of their own. Immediately, that means Revis, C Nick Mangold and LB David Harris.
3. Owner Woody Johnson is asking fans to make a long-term commitment to the Jets by purchasing high-priced PSLs. Shouldn't he do the same, making a long-term commitment by re-signing his homegrown players?
4. Essentially, Revis has three years remaining on his contract, but Tannenbaum already has stated that he's willing to give him a new deal. That is a big, big step. It might be unprecedented for the Jets, tearing up a deal with that many years to go. The Jets are fundamentally agreeing that Revis deserves a new deal; they're not spewing that "sanctity-of-an-existing-contract" jive. If that were the case, we'd be looking at a long, ugly dispute.
5. But, following that point, there's a difference between doing a deal and doing a fair-market deal. The Jets are willing to renegotiate as long as it's "within reason," according to Tannenbaum. "Within reason" covers a lot of ground. If they offer him $10 million a year (he's due to make an average of $7 million over the next three), is that what they consider "within reason"? Understand this: Knowing they have Revis under contract for three years, the Jets will be looking to do a team-friendly deal. As far as they're concerned, there's no sense of urgency.
6. When Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha signed a three-year, $45.3 million contract in 2009, it resulted in an outcry from executives around the league. Because the first two years were guaranteed ($28.4 million), with a chance for the third year to be guaranteed, it was panned by some as a bad contract for the game of football, another case of crazy Al Davis messing it up for everybody else. Now that deal is haunting the Jets because Revis and his reps want Asomugha money.
7. What is Asomugha money? Even though his deal averages $15.1 per year, Team Revis is working off what Asomugha is making this year ($16.5 million) and next year ($16.8 million or the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks, whichever is greater). So, as a starting point, you can bet Revis is looking for an average somewhere in the Sweet 16s.
8. If the Jets give Revis $16 million a year, what will Mark Sanchez be demanding after the 2012 season, when he heads into his final year?
9. The Jets' best leverage is the uncertain CBA situation. No one knows what the labor landscape will look like a year from now, and that makes it extremely difficult to negotiate a monster deal. What if they give Revis a $30 million bonus only to find out next year that the salary cap is returning? It's a slippery slope, for sure. Agents will argue that now is the time to dole out the big bonuses (it's an uncapped year), but the team's apprehension is understandable. How can you play a game when you don't know the rules?
10. Thursday's boycott was orchestrated. It came on a day in which HBO was at the facility, filming promos for the upcoming "Hard Knocks" series. Also, it was a media day, the one day a week in which we're allowed to watch and report from practice. That Revis skipped Thursday was no coincidence.
11. If the Jets refuse to go into the Asomugha neighborhood, I can see them offering a "band-aid" contract. The Jets could give Revis a huge raise for 2010 to keep him happy for a year (he's due to make $1 million) and re-visit a long-term deal after the season, when -- perhaps -- the CBA situation is clarified.