Q&A on Darrelle Revis' Contract
After a recent article discussed the possibility of extending CB Darrelle Revisí contract there has been a great deal of discussion amongst fans about Revis holding out until he gets a new deal. I want to go over some of the particulars of the deal and discuss what the options are for both sides to help quiet down whatever rumblings there are among the fanbase.
Can Revis be Traded?
I have no idea where this thought even came from but Iíve seen it discussed in a few places online and I just want to get it out of the way. Under no circumstance can the Jets trade Revis this season. Revis received an option bonus of $18 million in 2011 that was prorated over 6 seasons. The Jets have only accounted for one season thus far, leaving $15 million in unaccounted for bonus money on the books. Revis still has a small amount of prorated money remaining in 2012 from his salary advance he received in 2008. If the Jets traded Revis the dead cap charge would be $15.22 million in 2012. If they trade him after June 1st the dead cap would be $3.22 million this year and $12 million next season. Revis is only set to count $11.5 million and $9 million against the cap these next two seasons. It makes no sense from a financial standpoint, let alone a football one, to even entertain the thought of trading him.
Can Revis Hold Out?
Well any player can hold out, but the question is why would Revis? For 2012, Revis has guarantees of $8.5 million in salary and a holdout would risk those. Rarely are players giving up what is guaranteed money for a few extra dollars. More importantly the Jets have built holdout protection into his contract. Revisí contract is actually a 7 year contract that voids into a 4 year deal if Revis does not hold out and miss any offseason team activities during the next 2 years. Revis has hefty bonuses attached to every stage of attendance with $1 million in workout bonuses and another $1 million in reporting bonuses these next two seasons. This is not like Cameron Wake making $615,000 from the Dolphins for attending workouts and giving up a $50,000 bonus by missing workouts. $2 million of lost money is a giant chunk of change.
More so, when Revis holds out he loses the ability to void the contract after 2013. That leaves the Jets with the ability to control his rights for $3 million a season from 2014-2017. Quite frankly Revis has no leverage in this situation. If he holds out he would lose $2 million in bonuses and, assuming an expected average annual salary of $11 million a year on a new deal, an addition $8 million a season while he is stuck on the old contract. Thatís $26 million in potential loses with the assumption the Jets blink first. Why would they? The team was 8-8 and could have missed the playoffs with or without Darelle last season.
Does Revis have any leverage?
The leverage shifts from the Jets to Revis during the course of the 2013 football season. Provided Revis does not holdout his deal will void the day after the 2013 Super Bowl. If the Jets do not extend Revis before that date the Jets will absorb a dead cap charge of $9 million from that 2011 option bonus payment. What will likely happen is that Revis and his agents will set a contract deadline for the Jets during camp or the early part of the year and threaten to not negotiate until free agency begins. Because of the large cap charge looming if he is not extended before the Super Bowl the Jets are in a position where it is vital to lock him up for cap purposes. Even if the Jets were to re-sign him in March the damage would be done and the $9 million would still accelerate onto the 2014 cap.
When is the Ideal Time to Renegotiate?
August of 2013 or thereabouts. Revis kind of played the Jets for fools with his last holdout. While every player has the right to do it this was something that the Jets felt they avoided by essentially giving a contract worthy of a top 10 pick when he was a rookie. From the Jets perspective you gain two things by waiting until August: First you force Revisí hand by making him show up and report to camp. Second you give the cornerback market even more of a chance to reduce. For the most part the market is flat with most top tier players earing around $10 million a year. The lone exception, besides Revis, is Nnamdi Asomugha who is earning $12 million a season with the Eagles. However, if Asomugha fails to play in 90% of the snaps in 2012 that will reduce to $11.4 million, less than Revisí current contract. Asomugha had a terrible year as an Eagle in 2011 and a repeat performance could see him cut in 2013. He is owed some guaranteed money that year in the event he is cut, but Philadelphia would not hesitate to cut him. There is no dead money associated with his contract other than that since the Eagles did not pay him a signing bonus. If you take him off the books it drives the market price down for Revis. Revis also has no guarantees in his contract for 2013 which would make both sides more open to the extension.
Isnít Revis underpaid this year
This is really the point that I often hear that drives me crazy. Players want to maximize their early year cash flow while teams are looking to balance those cash and cap charges. When prorated bonus payments are involved the timing of salary payments in future years is almost irrelevant provided the annual terms of the deal are in line with the market. At $8.5 millon in 2012 pay he will earn less than the $11 million Asomugha is set to earn and the same as Asante Samuel, but Revis made an astronomical $25 million in cash last season and more than $32 million over a 2 year period. Asomugha made $10 million and will make $21 million in the first two years of his deal. Dunta Robinsonís two-year total was $22.5 million, a similar number to Samuel and the Broncoís Champ Bailey. Revisís three-year payout is larger than anyone else by at least $1.3 million a year. Revis is as underpaid this season as he was overpaid last year. The cash number is irrelevant.
But Wasnít the Deal Supposed to be a Band Aid?
No. It wasnít meant to be a long term solution, meaning a 6 or 7 year deal that would be normal for a player of Revisí caliber, but a band aid is what you see with franchise players or guys on the last year of their deal. A band-aid contract is one where you give a player guaranteed money or a small raise in the current deal to get them to show up and play. Itís a deal where you promise to not franchise tag the player for a second time the following season, which will likely happen in Baltimore with Ray Rice. A band aid contract for Revis in 2010 would have been to give him a raise from $550,000 in base salary to $7.5 million in base salary with a promise to reopen negotiations the following year or allow him to void his contract in 2012. Paying a player $32 million over two years is not a band aid. It was the best solution both parties could agree on. All during the 2010 camp we heard the Jets front office discussing Revis and how they were prepared to make him the highest paid at his position with the exception of the Raiders deal with Asomugha. The Jets could have matched the deal if they wanted to and they didnít. In what world does it make logical sense to pay Revis similar cash to Asoís Raider contract that no longer exists and then turn around and pay him another 2 years worth of old Aso money on another extension and just begin the clock again towards a holdout 3 years from now? The answer is none.
Will the Jets Renegotiate?
I canít see why they would, but anything is possible so you can never rule it out. With workouts beginning shortly the Jets would have minimal cap space to gain by converting any salary to a bonus. His $1 million roster bonus is already sunk towards the cap and the workout bonus will be in another 2 months. His base salary of $4.5 million and $1 million reporting bonus could be prorated to save around $3.6 million in cap money this season and then pay him another prorated bonus next year to really kick off the new deal, but that is something they could just do next year if they wanted to when they probably have a better handle on what the cap will be and what room they need next season.