CANNIZZARO: Revis seeks mega-deal, but Jets talked trade before ACL injury
By MARK CANNIZZARO
Last Updated: 9:00 AM, January 26, 2013
This is what stared John Idzik in the face on his first full day at the office as Jets general manager yesterday: a $100 million Darrelle Revis dilemma.
The Jets are running damage control with their best player, whose nose has been bent out of shape by news of the team exploring trade options for him to avoid paying him the mega-contract he’s seeking.
According to someone familiar with his thinking, Revis is seeking a contract similar to or “just north of’’ the deal the Bills gave defensive end Mario Williams — six years, $96 million with $50 million guaranteed. That is the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history.
The Jets were noncommittal on Revis’ future with the team during Thursday’s press conference to officially introduce Idzik.
Nevertheless, the team was quite committed to exploring its trade options for the cornerback long before he blew out his left knee against the Dolphins in Week 2.
Two NFL sources told The Post yesterday the Jets were floating their interest around the league in trading Revis before he suffered his season-ending injury — a clear indication they have had no plans to sign him to the long-term contract he wants.
One source told The Post that, before the injury, more than one league general manager reached out to Revis’ agents to say the Jets were exploring their options for trading him.
Revis, 27, is due to make $6 million in 2013 — $3 million in base pay and the rest in bonus money — before becoming a free agent at the end of the year, meaning the Jets either re-sign him, trade him or get nothing in return for him if he leaves as a free agent.
A clause in Revis’ contract prohibits the Jets from using a franchise tag on him, protecting the cornerback. There also is clause in it that protects the Jets from a Revis holdout. If Revis holds out before this season, the final three years of the contract will not void, keeping Revis under contract through 2016 at $3 million a year.
Revis’ agents declined comment yesterday.
Revis, reached yesterday through an intermediary at the Phoenix training facility where he is rehabilitating his knee, also declined comment.
Based on the messages Revis sent out on his Twitter account Thursday, saying he was “speechless,’’ it’s clear he is irked by the goings-on.
“He is raw emotionally right now,’’ a source who knows Revis told The Post.
Idzik revealed yesterday in an interview on NBC Sports Network’s “Pro Football Talk” he called Revis after the press conference to clarify the situation — though it appears little has been clarified.
“I reached out to Darrelle and I made sure he knew exactly where we were coming from and that this is my first day on the job, and our message to everyone was, ‘Give us a chance to get to know each other and introduce ourselves to each other,’ ’’ Idzik said on the show.
“Ultimately, that’s the basis of comparison to whatever you may contemplate doing. We haven’t taken that first step and that’s what I relayed to Darrelle.’’
Idzik said Revis “reacted well’’ to his call and added, “My feeling was that he was appreciative to hear from me about what happened.’’
The Jets are currently more than $19 million over the 2013 salary cap and their roster is thin on talent. Idzik made it clear Thursday building the team through the draft was a priority.
Trading Revis, however, would send a strong message the Jets are less concerned with winning now than they are about saving money and fixing their salary-cap mess.
“We can’t lose a guy like him,” fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie told NFL.com while in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. “He’s a great leader in the locker room and also in our [defensive back] room, making sure that guys are accountable for each other. To lose a guy like that would be huge. And even though he’s coming off the surgery, I believe he’ll come back as strong as ever.”
The fact the Jets were shopping Revis before he was injured is evidence he has not been a part of the team’s long-term plans for a lot longer than the few weeks since the season ended and general manager Mike Tannenbaum was fired.
To trade or not trade Revis and sign him to a huge contract? This was a rather large project sitting on Idzik’s desk on his first day of work.