FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- When the season ended, the Jets quietly started to negotiate a long-term contract extension for star cornerback Darrelle Revis. In fact, his agent arrived at the Jets' facility Thursday morning for face-to-face talks. But hold everything: Things could get sticky as the discussions move toward training camp.
Revis, due to make $1 million for the coming season, told ESPNNewYork.com that the Jets promised him a new contract by the start of the regular season. That seems curious, considering they own Revis' rights through 2012. It can create a slippery slope when a team makes a promise like that, and the Jets have been accused in the past of reneging with other players.
"That's their word. That's what they said," said Revis, standing by his locker. "If you go back on your word, it's a problem."
Even though the Jets' initial proposals weren't close to his asking price, according to sources, the All-Pro cornerback remains hopeful a deal can be struck by the start of the season. Revis didn't issue any threats, but he also wouldn't guarantee he'd report to training camp Aug. 1 under his existing contract.
"I don't know," he said. "I guess we'll figure it out when July 31 comes. As of right now, we have a bunch of months to get things done. We'll see. I trust those guys. But I also know this is a business as well. [But] we believe them at their word. If you go back on your word, in general, in world society, when you go back on your word, it's a problem. It's just a problem."
The Jets couldn't be reached for immediate comment. The team has a policy of not commenting on contract negotiations.
Revis is an unusual situation because of the type of contract he signed as a rookie in 2007. It was a six-year deal, but he reached playing-time incentives in the first year and it voided to a four-year, $16 million contract. He already has made $15 million, an above-market salary for the 14th overall pick. But now it drops to $1 million, a seemingly ridiculous salary for a player who finished second in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.
But here's where it gets tricky: The Jets have the option of buying back the fifth and sixth years for $20 million. They consider that a mere formality and, therefore, consider it a six-year contract. Remember, the two sides engaged in an acrimonious dispute in Revis' rookie year, resulting in a three-week holdout.
Revis is represented by New York-based agent Neil Schwartz, who also sparred with the Jets in contract disputes with Pete Kendall and Chris Baker. In those cases, the players, no longer with the team, accused the Jets' front office of breaking promises.
Revis is one of several Jets looking for new deals. On Wednesday, All-Pro center Nick Mangold, entering the final year of a five-year deal, said he'd like a new contract. Linebacker David Harris, a rising star, is entering the final year of a four-year deal. He told ESPNNewYork.com that he's happy with the Jets, but echoing Mangold's remarks, he'd like long-term security.
GM Mike Tannenbaum is going to be a busy man over the next few months, trying to satisfy his star players. The NFL's uncertain labor situation has complicated matters, especially with the Mangold and Harris negotiations.
They're being hurt by the new 30 percent rule, which states that salaries in a renegotiation can grow only by 30 percent from one year to the next. Revis is less impacted by the rule because he made more than the minimum last season. Teams can get around the rule by doling out ridiculously high signing bonuses, but they're leery of that because of a looming work stoppage in 2011.
Revis said he doesn't want his negotiations to "get out of hand," as he hopes to keep things positive. But he also believes he deserves a new deal even if the Jets contend he still has three years left.
"I outplayed it, so it really doesn't matter," Revis said.