When a person Googles "Darrelle Revis Unhappy with Contract," they will find plenty of results. A little less than a million, actually. It seems that Revis is simply a player that may never be happy with his deal. Because of this and because of the money Revis costs already, the Jets are considering their options
. I will spit out a few stats here about his dominance, but there is no doubt that the cornerback out of Pittsburgh is a rare commodity. The words "shutdown corner" are not thrown around in a loose manner. Revis is one of the few out there. Is he worth 1/7th of a team's salary cap?
Darrelle Revis became a dominant corner quickly. By his second season, teams were already shying away from his side of the field. Most attempts were futile. In 2009, Pro Football Outsiders ranked him as the top corner in the league. In 2010 and 2011, though, he was still pretty good according to their metrics, but he did allow almost three more yards per play in his direction. The advantage he gave is that reputation kept him dominant because teams simply did not throw his way very often. Teams went his way about twice a game in 2010. They got more daring in 2011 and threw at him about four times a game. It's hard to gain yards on a guy if he is never tested.
Unfortunately, dominance is not the big question surrounding Darrelle Revis. There are several other major points to consider. First and foremost is the money and how it relates to Revis' consternation. His unhappiness seemed to begin in June of 2010 when Manish Mehta reported that Revis may hold out
then. Also, I just have to interject something here. I have never met Mr. Mehta, but I imagine his personal life to be a model of placidity. I would want to rid my life of all drama if I had to cover the Jets. Anyway, Revis had now played this same game with his contract in each of the last three seasons despite eventually getting paid in 2010 with a deal that awarded him $30 Million over the first two years of the contract. It seems that the cornerback wants something nearing the money that Peyton Manning and Drew Brees earn. Is there any way that it is possible that he could be worth that?
Well, let's say a modern elite quarterback produces a dozen more touchdowns than the average quarterback in the league. How many does Revis prevent? He does give up a couple each season, but with the way the ball is spread around by offenses, it would be tough to say that he prevents that many. Maybe he prevents six or eight per season. That's highly valuable, but not as valuable as an elite quarterback.
Also, the league is trending toward even more implementation of spread offenses and 3+ receiver sets. What does that do to his value since he is best at being a physical man-to-man corner? Can he make the adjustments in his game to continue to take away an entire side of the field? Revis has been considered to be an average run defender in his career. Are teams better off getting two or three above-average corners than getting Revis? Certainly, there has to be some offensive coordinators that will be perfectly happy playing ten on ten football when their quarterback is also a running threat.
Finally, what about that whole knee injury thing? Research by the sabermetrics crowd in football and other sports implies that the real peak of an athlete's performance is somewhere between the ages of 25 and 27. When camp starts, Revis will be 28 and coming off that injury.
The timing of Revis' recovery constricts the options the Jets have with him. They can save some money by cutting him, but that costs the value of a good asset. Even that has to be considered, though, with the Jets sitting somewhere around $19 million above the cap. Despite the questions above, there will be teams lining up to get the star player. The best thing for the Jets would probably be to trade him near draft time, but medical questions may prevent that possibility. Revis cannot be franchised, a part of his 2010 contract, so it is likely that the trade would happen as soon as he is healthy. In 2013 or 2014, Darrelle Revis will be getting a lot of money to play for a team because that is how things happen in the free agency era. Just let these words serve as the warning they are.