Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Worm's About To Turn On Revis

It always amuses me the way fans back NFL ownership in contract disputes.  They always talk about the sanctity of contracts even though NFL owners can tear them up or trade them away at any moment.  They talk about character but only when the conversation involves the player.  They talk about loyalty from the player but business decisions from ownership.

Its just amazing to me to hear the abject hypocrisy at times. 

I know most of these same folks want to be paid what they are worth at their jobs.  I also know when they don't, most of them send out resumes to try to get another job where they WILL get paid what they are worth.  But NFL players don't have that luxury.  Free agency isn't really all that free.  See once they sign on to the dotted line we are at the mercy of ownership.  At any given time, even when they are hurt, ownership can decide their services are no longer wanted or needed and cut them.  But when a guy has gone above and beyond a contract ownership doesn't have to do anything except demand that they keep playing for the pay they signed on for.

Just about the only recourse for NFL players is to hold out and show the team how much they need him.  Now holding out doesn't always work out, but what else can a player really do to compel a team to do the right thing?

Not much.

And don't hold your breath waiting on teams to do the right thing without any pressure.  That's not how most rich guys got rich in the first place.

Which brings me to the case of Darrelle Revis, he of "Revis Island".  Last year Revis had one of the most dominating seasons from a defensive back that the NFL has ever seen.  Week after week he was matched up on the opposing team's leading receiver and he just every one of them down.  Many people, including his head coach and GM felt he should have been awarded the Defensive MVP in fact for his performance.

And he's scheduled to make $1 million dollars this year.

Now I understand that for most people $1 million dollars is a lot of money.  But in the world of starting cornerbacks in the NFL, especially the top ones, its relative chump change.

Of course I understand that he also got a signing bonus as a rookie so that $1 million is actually more than that averaged out.  But still, a guy with those kinds of skills should be makinig more than that.  Period.  If you don't agree then you can probably stop reading because this is something that should be universally recognized as the truth.

Up until this point most fans HAVE agreed with that assessment.  In fact I bet if you asked, before yesterday that is, if Revis should get a raise the overwhelming response would be a resounding yes.  But yesterday changed things.  It shouldn't have but it did.  And its all so predictable.

What happenned yesterday?

Well the Jets' owner Woody Johnson along with their GM Mike Tannenbaum, in what looked like a scripted interview, proclaimed that with Revis' contract demands they didn't see him playing for the Jets this year.

And you could hear the collective pearl clutching of fans in the north east. 

So now today I've noticed, particularly on twitter, Jets fans slowly but surely turning on Revis.  He's starting to be described as "selfish" or "dumb" or "crazy".  All because he wants to be paid what he's worth.

But the rationale is the part that gets me the most.  These fans are mad most of all because of how much Revis brings to the team.  I saw one guy state that the Jets will contend with the Superbowl with Revis but might not win 8 games without him.

Well, uhm, isn't that MORE of a reason to pay the man?

I mean if a guy mean's that much of a difference between whether you have a team contending for the chip and a team struggling to get into the playoffs that's a tangible example of just how much the guy is worth. 

But the big bad owner got up and said Revis was asking for too much so fans must now pummel him with disparaging remarks.

The truth is Woody Johnson himself is probably somewhere sweating right now hoping that the fans WILL turn on Revis and pressure him to get back into camp and settle for whatever they offer him.


Well because this Jets team was built essentially for a one year run at the Lombardi trophy.  Think about it, with next season in limbo do you really see guys like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson being around in 2012 to vie for a championship? 

I don't.

And keep in mind that several Jets players will be up for new contracts after this season even aside from Revis.  Some will get paid, but some will have to go elsewhere for a new contract.That means by the time football comes back this team will look significantly different than it does today.  And understand this about the Jets' owner, Woody Johnson wants a Superbowl ring in the worst way.  He has spent quite a bit of money on big time free agents over the years whether people paid attention before now or not trying to get it.  And I believe if he is pressured to do so he will spend a lot more money to pay Revis if he is compelled to do so.

But only if he's compelled to do so. Because like I said the Johnson family as well as any other NFL owners didn't get rich by just handing out money on a platter.

So the best tool Mr. Johnson has right now is fan sentiment.  Players make business decisions when it comes to their contract but nobody likes to turn on SportsCenter and hear talking heads and fans ragging on them.  Nobody wants to look like the a hole in a contract dispute.  And most guys realize that your marketing opportunities to help create income outside your contract are slim and none once you get labeled a "bad guy".

But Revis isn't any more of a bad guy than all of you are out there who send out those resumes.  He just wants to be paid the going rate for a guy of his caliber.  So its my hope that the fans aren't swayed this time.  That they look at the big picture and realize that as much baby oil and band aids as they have bought over the years, Mr Johnson can afford to pay Revis what he's worth.  That they understand that the little press conference yesterday was all about manipulating them and that they refuse to fall for it.

Unfortunately I doubt any of that will happen.

Which is probably bad news for Revis.


  1. What's interesting about this situation is how it is complicated by Al Davis.

    When he gave Nnamdi his deal, every owner in the NFL threw up a little bit in their mouth. He overpaid, everyone said. And maybe he did. But it at least it was a short deal.

    It's tough to say who is right in these situations because you never know what was proposed and what was rejected.

    Did Revis ask for 16M/year over 6 years or three? How much did he want guaranteed?

    I think everyone agrees right now that Revis is the best CB in the league. The problem is, as such, he wants to be paid more than the highest paid guy...who most agree was overpaid. Hmm.

    It'll be interesting to see how this situation plays out, especially since Revis has already put a lot on the table (in risking money that would have been guaranteed). I don't see him backing down quickly, and I don't particularly think he should.

  2. I would love to see the Bucs make a trade for Revis. That is guy worth selling the farm for. I'd pay pretty much whatever the asking price is. I heard he wants 3 years with $30Mill guaranteed based on approx $12Mill/yr. For the best Corner maybe to come along since....who knows, he's worth it. I think Rex Ryan gets it but no one else in NY does. The Jets can make a serious Lombardi run, but they need Revis, IMHO.