A marathon Tuesday night session that included intense negotiations, and a little noshing, finally concluded in a Wednesday evening agreement between the New York Jets and first-round draft choice Darrelle Revis.
The University of Pittsburgh cornerback, who was the 14th player chosen overall in April, missed 21 days of training camp and 23 practice sessions. The Jets had hoped to have the deal completed in time for their Wednesday afternoon practice, but fell short of that goal.
According to ESPN.com's John Clayton, Revis' contract with the Jets is believed to be a six-year deal for approximately $36 million.
"It was tough," Revis said Wednesday night. "Basically being
a competitor and being the type of football player that I am, I
didn't want to sit there and see my teammates playing. I was
frustrated for a while, but I just looked at the positive side of
it and let my agents handle it."
Jets management was pleased to have their No. 1 pick in the fold.
"We're glad it's over," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said
Not since linebacker James Farrior in 1997 had the Jets had an unsigned draft pick going into training camp. Revis' holdout is the longest for the franchise since wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the top overall selection in the 1996 draft, missed 24 days while his first NFL contract was being hammered out.
Stalled over the length of the contract, with the Jets holding firm to a six-year proposal and Revis and agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod preferring a five-year term, the two sides began substantive discussions last Friday. That led to day-long bargaining which began Tuesday morning and stretched into the wee hours of Wednesday.
Much of Wednesday was then spent fine-tuning the contract and reviewing it.
At one point Tuesday, as they neared a breakthrough on some key issues, the parties sent for take-out dinner from a local restaurant so that they could continue negotiations on full stomachs. Coach Eric Mangini spent part of the evening visiting with Revis' mother, who flew in from her home near Pittsburgh to help hasten the bargaining process.
The two camps issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, acknowledging that a deal was close, but that it remained a complicated arrangement. Discussions broke after midnight on Wednesday, then resumed a few hours later.
Tannenbaum suggested the complexity of the contract document, which was 47 pages, demanded close review from all parties involved.
"I think it's a fair contract," Schwartz said. "I think it's good
for both sides. We expect Darrelle to be here for a number of
years, and we're glad that the contract's behind us and we're
looking forward to seeing him out on the field."
Schwartz echoed Tannenbaum's sentiments.
"All the John Hancocks are going to be on the contract, so it's
definitely a win-win," Schwartz said.
Revis was the first cornerback chosen in the draft and was expected to compete seriously for a starting job as a rookie, probably on the right side. How much his prolonged absence from training camp will affect his chances to land a starting spot, as he competes with veterans Andre Dyson, David Barrett and Justin Miller remains to be seen.
"I'm still learning," said Revis, wearing a gray Jets T-shirt.
"I'm still young. I'm still a rookie. I'm not a veteran in this
game. I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm going to keep on
working hard and doing what the coaches tell me to do."
Tannenbaum said Revis had already received his playbook from
coach Eric Mangini and would participate in the team's walkthrough
Friday. It was uncertain if Revis would play in the Jets' game
against Minnesota on Friday night.
"He'll play when Eric feels he's ready," Tannenbaum said.
In 35 games at Pitt, including 34 starts, Revis, 22, developed into one of the country's best coverage cornerbacks. He registered 129 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, eight interceptions, 25 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two recoveries. Revis also averaged 10.3 yards on 54 punt returns and scored twice on runbacks.
He is regarded as having prototype size (5-feet-11½, 204 pounds) and top-end speed (4.38 seconds in the 40), and is blessed with superb overall athleticism. The nephew of former NFL defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, Revis is an instinctive player who has great body control and explosive burst to the ball.
Len Pasquarelli and John Clayton are senior NFL writers for ESPN.com.