Jets GM John Idzik may not have found time to meet with Darrelle Revisí agents at the NFL Combine last week, but a source said he did manage to squeeze in Revis trade talk with multiple teams in Indianapolis.
Despite the damage control talk from Idzik and Rex Ryan in Indy about how much they value Revis, the source told the Daily News on Tuesday that Idzik was ďactivelyĒ shopping Revis at the combine, and interested teams are now doing their homework on what it would take to get Revis signed to a new contract if they can satisfy the Jets with compensation.
The Daily News reported exclusively Tuesday that Idzik, Ryan and team owner Woody Johnson didnít meet with Revisí camp during the Combine.
Idzik is basically flying solo on the Revis talks, with Ryan and other members of the organization (other than Johnson) out of the loop.
Teams historically use the combine in February to set the groundwork for deals that eventually get done before the draft in late April. Revisí recovery from ACL surgery could push the timetable back for a potential trade until the summer. If he is healthy and re-establishes himself as not only the best shutdown corner in the league but also the best defensive player in the NFL, heís worth two first-round draft choices.
The source said the word around the NFL is the Revis trade talk is at the directive of Johnson. Even so, Idzik, the rookie GM, is in a final say decision-making role for the first time in his 20-year career in NFL front offices and his Jets tenure may eventually be defined by how he handles this delicate situation.
Idzik was asked at the combine if he would listen to offers for Revis. He provided an answer that was not limited to Revis.
ďWe will always field calls and always have internal discussions about how we can improve our team day-to-day, position-by-position,Ē he said. ďThatís an ongoing process.Ē
Several teams emerged as having interest in dealing for Revis and could be more willing to pay him what he wants than the Jets, who are entering a complete rebuilding mode with a coach who has every appearance of being a lame duck.
Revis is coming off ACL surgery and going into the final year of his four-year $46 million contract ó he is making just $6 million this year after the deal was front-loaded with $32.5 million in the first two years. As part of the contract, the Jets canít franchise Revis, which changes everything. If they had the option to franchise Revis after the 2013 season, they would have the luxury of watching him play this season and then try to sign him while still having the franchise tag as a last resort.
Now they will risk losing him for nothing if they donít trade him by the Tuesday after the eighth game of the 2013 season or if they donít have him signed before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next March. Only the Jets could get themselves into this kind of situation with their best player.
Ultimately, it comes down to one issue: Does Johnson have the stomach to write checks to Revis for more than heís ever written to any Jets player? Deals can be structured to minimize the salary cap hit. It comes down to cash. Does Johnson have the desire or the capability to write Revis a monster check?
One of the Jets options is to trade Revis and let somebody else pay him while they take the draft choices they would get in return to rebuild a depleted roster. That approach is going to be a tough sell to an already disgruntled fan base which committed its hard-earned money to PSLs when the new $1.7 billion stadium opened in 2010 following a season when Ryan took the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in his first year with the team.
My feeling is when you have great players, you keep great players and find a way to make it work ó especially a guy like Revis, who doesnít cause a bit of trouble off the field and despite the deterioration of the team around him, truly wants to remain with the Jets.
Right now, itís impossible to establish Revisí market value in a trade or a contract until he proves heís coming back as Revis and not Kyle Wilson.
Maybe Revis will make a full recovery like the 2012 ACL trio of Adrian Peterson (he came within nine yards of breaking the NFL rushing record), Jamaal Charles (he led the AFC in rushing) and safety Eric Berry (he made the Pro Bowl), which would increase his contract leverage and the leverage the Jets have in trade talks.
It used to be players returning from an ACL didnít return to form until their second season back. Thatís now changed. The recovery time has been accelerated. Still, thereís no guarantee Revis comes back as good or better. It will be the summer before we know that. So, my advice to Revis and the Jets: Chill out and reconvene in August.