- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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This will be a hotly debated topic for at least the next several weeks: Should the Jets trade their best player, CB Darrelle Revis? We present both sides of the issue.
FIVE REASONS WHY THEY SHOULD TRADE HIM
1. Signability -- Revis' contract will void after the 2013 season and the franchise tag is off the table, per a clause in his current deal. The chances of signing him to a long-term extension are remote. The Jets have engaged in two ugly contract battles with Revis, and owner Woody Johnson already is sending signals that he doesn't want to deal with another one. Plus, he seems opposed to paying $50 million in guarantees, believed to be Revis' asking price -- quarterback money. If you can't sign him, trade him -- and get something in return.
2. Avoid the nightmare scenario -- If Revis hits the open market next year, he can pick his next address and you know what that could mean -- the Patriots or the Dolphins. (Revis owns a home in South Florida.) The Jets don't want to face him twice a year. If he ended up with the Patriots, it would be a reverse Curtis Martin situation. Owner Robert Kraft still rues the day he let him go. The Jets can avoid that by being proactive and trading him far away.
3. Big picture -- This is hardly breaking news, but the Jets have a lot of holes. By the time free agency starts, they'll have only 10 or 11 starters under contract. They're a team in transition, with little chance of contending in 2013. It makes sense to plug multiple holes by obtaining draft picks in a Revis trade. This would help accelerate the rebuilding process.
4. Dollars and sense -- The Jets need to get their salary-cap house in order. Right now, they're nearly $20 million over it. This is near and dear to new GM John Idzik, a so-called "cap guy." They wouldn't create any 2013 cap space by trading Revis, but it would clear the path for cap sanity in 2014 and beyond. If Revis and Antonio Cromartie are the starting corners, their combined cap numbers would be nearly $20 million -- one-sixth of the entire cap. That's not what you'd call a balanced allocation.
5. Cornering the market -- You can win with Cromartie and Kyle Wilson as the starting corners, both of whom are under contract for two more years. Cromartie proved in 2012, after Revis' injury, that he can shut down No. 1 receivers on a weekly basis.
FIVE REASONS TO KEEP HIM
1. He's freaking Darrelle Revis -- We're not talking about a run-of-the-mill Pro Bowl player here. Revis is the best player on the team, the best cornerback in the league and arguably one of the top five defensive players in the NFL. He's a home-grown Jet, only 28 years old (in July) -- still in the prime of his career. His game isn't based on raw speed, meaning he should have a longer shelf life than those who fade as soon as their 40 times slip.
2. Never sell low -- Because of the injury, they won't get equal value if they trade him before he returns to the field and can prove he's still Revis. Why not wait until the end of the preseason? He's due a $1 million roster bonus around March 20, a $1 million workout bonus in June and a $1 million reporting bonus in training camp. Do you think Johnson will trade Revis after putting $3 million into his bank account? Not a chance. Those bonuses, too, would eat up additional cap room. For financial reasons, it behooves them to make the trade before March 20. Unfortunately for them, it's when his value will be lowest. They'd also get hit with $12 million in dead money on the 2012 cap.
3. Don't believe the stats -- The Jets finished No. 2 in pass defense, so it's easy to say, "Hey, they don't need Revis." The stats are misleading because the pass defense wasn't tested. Opponents didn't have to play much catch-up against the Jets. Once they got the lead, they took the air out of the ball, knowing the Jets were incapable of scoring many points. Ordinarily, it's a passing league. Teams are throwing more than ever, and a player of Revis' caliber is invaluable.
4. Public relations disaster -- They're hoping for a fresh start under Idzik, but what kind of message would it send to trade your best player? The fan base already is angry; this would spark an uprising, yet another example of the Jets running off a premier player because they didn't want to pay him.
5. Undercutting Rex -- Rex Ryan is hanging by a thread. Trade his best player, and you'd be cutting the thread before he has a chance to coach for his job in 2013. Ryan's defense is special with Revis at corner. If Wood-zik takes him away from Ryan, it's basically saying they see him as nothing more than a lame-duck coach, a one-year bridge to Next Man Up.