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Darrelle Revis deserves a raise but won't get as much as he wants
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- What I like about the Jets is they don't care if you hate them.
You're going to be hated when you say over and over that you think you're going to win the Super Bowl, when you allow NFL Films and HBO Sports into your camp for the most entertaining reality show/infomercial on TV and you're brash and full of yourselves doing it, when your coach swears like a sailor after 11 shots of Jack Daniels ("News flash -- football coaches curse!'' linebacker Bart Scott says), and when you annex every aging, famous player trying for one last shot at a Super Bowl.
And I mean it: They truly don't care.
They mock conventional NFL conservatism, which I love. GM Mike Tannenbaum gets in the car after a failed trip to try to get Darrelle Revis signed, and NFL Films is in the back seat with a camera trained on him, and Tannenbaum, who's a dealmaker, says, "I feel like such a failure.'' On Friday, here at training camp, I say to Tannenbaum that the line looked too good, like it was almost rehearsed. "Nope,'' he said. "That's exactly how I felt. I did feel like a failure. Absolutely true. I should be able to find a way to get a deal done. It's my job.''
In the show, Rex Ryan, in a sing-songy voice, walks through the SUNY-Cortland dorm hallway the first night of camp at bed check saying: "Revis? REE-vis! Where are you? Come on. Come on home.'' The classic quote about contract holdouts from football people is this: "We only talk about the players who are here. Got any questions about the guys who are here?'' The Jets' way is this: "Why ignore the elephant in the room?''
In the show, Ryan and Tannenbaum have a contest to see who can throw a pass into a net cleanly, and Tannenbaum tries to catch a punt cleanly. Not done for the show. "They did the same thing last year in training camp,'' Scott said.
"I'm not sure people really understand what happens around a football team,'' Scott said after practice Friday. "There's a lot of meetings, a lot of practice, and a lot of fun. It doesn't have to be all serious. We did a lot of that stuff in Baltimore too when Rex was there, because he believes in making the game something the players will love. Remember in Jerry Maguire, when one of the other players is looking at Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding and he said, 'Why don't we have that relationship?' That's how a lot of players on other teams look at our relationship with Rex.''
When I walked into Ryan's office Friday afternoon, the immediate subject was his cursing. The politically correct thing would have been to say, "I really need to watch my mouth.'' Ryan laughed about it. Shook his head as if to say, Like I care people think I curse too much. It's football!
"I'll tell you one of my goals with this show,'' said Ryan. "I want every player in this league to watch this show and say, 'One day, I want to be a Jet.' ''
Just might be happening as you read this. Scott said he thought there were "over 10'' players on other teams who wanted to play for Ryan and the Jets. "After this show, there will be many more,'' he said.
Nuggets from the camp trail:
The Revis Holdout.
Everyone wants to know if Revis will come in by the Sept. 13 opener, and I think it's more likely he will than won't. To explain the contract in brief: Revis will make $1 million this year, and at the end of the season, the Jets would have the right to exercise the final two years of the contract at a total of $20 million for the two, or they could release him. Barring major injury, it's certain they'd exercise the option. That means Revis, under the existing contract, would make about $21 million over the next three years.
With Nnamdi Asomugha in the midst of a $15-million-a-year deal -- signed in 2009, when he was a free-agent -- and no other cornerback making more than $10 million annually, Revis is in a tough spot. He certainly deserves a raise. But he has three years left on this deal, and the Jets have three or four young players they'll want to extend soon, guys who are among the best at their positions (center Nick Mangold, linebacker David Harris). The Jets have determined in-house they cannot tear up the deal and pay Revis a penny more than Asomugha. They also know the Raiders may not exercise the option of Asomugha's third year, and if he hits the open market, it's doubtful anyone would pay him what the Raiders paid him in 2009.
The only way I see this getting done is the Jets throwing a good-faith signing bonus at Revis right now, maybe $8 million, and adding one year to the end of his contract at, say, $12 million. That'd give Revis, in effect, four years and $41 million -- which would be less than Asomugha, but remember, Revis is dealing from the disadvantage of having three years left on his deal. That would be a bitter solution to Revis, I believe, but it may be the only one that puts him back in the game now. I don't see the Jets caving and giving him a deal anywhere near Asomugha's -- not with so much time left on the contract and with the prospect of a job action next year.
(For more on the Jets, here's my training camp postcard from Cortland, N.Y.)
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