INDIANAPOLIS — During a week in which team executives and agents huddled at seemingly every Starbucks, hotel lounge and restaurant in Indianapolis to talk shop at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jet brass avoided the Darrelle Revis camp, failing to meet with his representatives and raising the question of whether owner Woody Johnson wants to re-sign the All-Pro cornerback.
The Daily News has learned that the Jets’ contingent, which included GM John Idzik, Rex Ryan and Johnson himself, didn’t meet or contact Revis’ representatives during the combine, fueling speculation that Johnson simply doesn’t want to pay the Pro Bowl cornerback as the team enters a rebuilding phase in 2013.
The brushoff comes one month after reports surfaced that Johnson wanted the Jets to explore all options involving Revis — who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season — including trading him.
The two camps are separated by three-tenths of a mile. The walk from the downtown J.W. Marriott, where the Jets brass is based, to the Westin, where Revis’ agents are staying, takes six minutes.
Idzik & Co. met with representatives of Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, Austin Howard, Shonn Greene and LaRon Landry during the week, but elected not to talk to Revis’ agents.
A team spokesman declined to say whether Johnson and/or Idzik had met with Revis’ reps.
Revis’ agent, Neil Schwartz, confirmed that he was in Indianapolis for five days with partner Jonathan Feinsod before they left town on Monday, but he also declined comment about whether they had met with Idzik or Johnson.
One NFC executive told The News that there is a sentiment around the league that Johnson not only isn’t interested in making Revis the highest-paid defensive player in the league, which would mean a salary of around $16 million per year, but that the owner doesn’t want to sign the cornerback to a lucrative long-term deal at all given the dire state of the franchise.
The cap-strapped Jets do not figure to be in the playoff conversation entering the 2013 season. They aren’t likely to make a splash when free agency opens next month either, as they quietly try to rebuild with younger, cheaper players.
Johnson appears to have prioritized paper green over Gang Green for the 2013 season, which would not sit well with disillusioned PSL holders at MetLife Stadium.
The organization’s handling of the Revis situation is the most puzzling of all.
A source told The News that Idzik hasn’t opened the lines of communication with Revis’ representatives since he was hired a month ago.
Idzik's phone call to Revis last month only lasted a few minutes and appears to be a transparent attempt at damage control in the wake of reports that Johnson wanted the Jets to explore all avenues involving Revis as he rehabs from a season-ending torn left ACL suffered last October.
Last week, Idzik wouldn’t divulge whether he had scheduled a meeting with the Revis camp to discuss a possible contract extension or if he was even interested in a long-term investment. Per terms of his contract, Revis will reach unrestricted free agency after 2013 if he doesn’t skip any mandatory offseason team activities. Otherwise, he’s tied to the Jets for three more years.
Idzik has spent the better part of his first month on the job creating a strategy to clean up the mess left by former GM Mike Tannenbaum, but his decision to not even discuss the Revis situation with his agents at an event tailor-made for such talks is surprising.
The organizational narrative toward Revis has drastically changed in recent months. It wasn’t long ago when Jets brass was spouting that it wanted Revis to be a “Jet for Life.” His reworked contract before the 2010 season was supposed to be a bridge to a long-term deal to keep him in Green for the rest of his career.
Revis’ season-ending knee injury complicated matters, but he remains ahead of his rehab schedule and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
Although Revis is coming off that significant injury, he holds a fair amount of leverage if the Jets are contemplating trading him.
Any team interested in dealing for Revis, who is scheduled to earn $6 million ($3 million base salary plus $3 million in three separate bonuses) in 2013, would want to come to terms on a long-term contract with him before pulling the trigger on a trade. Revis, therefore, can control where he would go in what essentially amounts to a no-trade clause.
Ryan said last week that the Jets have not had internal discussions about trading Revis. The Jets’ cap hit would jump from $9 million to $12 million if Revis is dealt.
Because he hasn’t been on the field since the surgery, Gang Green wouldn’t be expected to get anything close to fair market value before Revis is due a $1 million roster bonus on the third day of the new league year (March 15). The Jets likely would not get fair compensation before the draft in April, either.
If Revis plays out the fourth year of his $46 million pact, the Jets would incur a $9 million cap charge for 2014. More importantly, Revis would reach unrestricted free agency — he can’t be given the franchise tag per terms of his contract. He could then potentially haunt Johnson by playing for the Patriots or Giants.
A league source said that it was a red herring to suggest that a lucrative long-term contract for Revis could cripple the Jets’ salary cap for years. A six-year contract extension, for example, with a significant signing bonus and relatively small base salaries each season, would spread the cap hits out to manageable amounts.
However, it looks like Johnson isn’t willing to dole out the cash for a player who has said he wants to play for the Jets, a team that has missed the playoffs the past two years, changed half of its coaching staff this offseason and asked a new GM to inherit a head coach who will be on the hot seat entering 2013.
Revis has told friends that he wants to help the troubled franchise reverse course rather than go elsewhere.
The Jets used to tell Revis that he wanted him to be their version of Derek Jeter.
Now, they’re not telling him much of anything.