Revis holding out from Jets camp
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Forget "Hard Knocks." This is more like "Hard Ball."
The contract dispute between the New York Jets and star Darrelle Revis escalated toward nasty Sunday, when the disgruntled cornerback refused to report to training camp. His New York-based agent, Neil Schwartz, told ESPNNewYork.com that Revis won't show up until he receives a new contract.
That could be a while, based on the tenor of the negotiations.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum, who rarely discusses contract negotiations publicly, revealed that he made two "substantial" proposals last Thursday to Revis -- a long-term offer that would've made him a "Jet for life" and a short-term offer that would've increased his $1 million salary for 2010. Both proposals were rejected Friday night, Tannenbaum said.
He didn't provide any specifics; neither did Schwartz, who said: "Darrelle's actions speak volumes about the offers."
Revis is to make $1 million in the fourth year of his six-year rookie deal. He wants to be the league's highest-paid cornerback, a distinction that belongs to Nnamdi Asomugha, who signed a three-year, $45.3 million extension with the Raiders last offseason.
By holding out, Revis will incur a $16,523-a-day fine and waive future guarantees in his current contract. Based on a clause, the $20 million he's scheduled to earn in 2011 and 2012 goes from guaranteed to non-guaranteed salary. That he's willing to take that risk indicates the depth of his frustration. He has three years remaining on his rookie deal.
According to a source, the Jets' latest proposal includes no fully guaranteed money and his total compensation in 2010 would be less than $5.3 million -- the amount given to left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson in his recent extension.
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Revis' decision came as no surprise, but it created a dark cloud over coach Rex Ryan's second training camp, the subject of a reality TV show -- HBO's "Hard Knocks." The national exposure, coupled with the team's openly stated Super Bowl-or-bust mentality, has fueled wild expectations.
Both Ryan and Tannenbaum said they were disappointed by Revis' no-show.
"I thought he'd be signed by now," said Ryan, who, with a straight face, maintained the Jets would remain the top-ranked defense even without Revis.
That wasn't a shot at Revis; Ryan called him "the best corner I've ever coached." Tannenbaum agreed that Revis has outperformed his contract and "we want to reward him." But he quickly added, "We have a fundamental disagreement on total compensation."
"The lines of communication are open and we remain committed to finding a solution that makes sense for him and makes sense for us," Tannenbaum said. "The two things that we've all agreed upon is that Darrelle has outplayed his contract and it needed to be addressed, and he has three years to go on his contract."
If Revis doesn't report by Aug. 10, the 2010 season won't count as an accrued season for him. The Jets may wait out Revis until then, seeing if he blinks.
"We were hoping Darrelle wouldn't have to go down this path," Schwartz said. "He and his family were extremely deliberate in this decision-making process."
The holdout comes three days after Tannenbaum and Ryan were rewarded with contract extensions, probably not the best timing from the Jets. Asked how Revis might feel about that, one player, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, "I'd be [ticked]."
Revis wants a deal that surpasses Asomugha's ($16 million-per-year average). While the Jets believe that contract is an aberration, the signing bonus is also a sticking point in negotiations.
The Jets are refusing to dole out a big bonus even though it's an uncapped year, because they're concerned about the league's labor uncertainty. Those close to Revis believe that's hogwash and owner Woody Johnson doesn't want to write a big check because of cash-flow issues.
Because of the reallocation rule, the Jets are prohibited from fully guaranteeing future base salaries against injury and skill. It can be one, but not both. The Jets can make up for that with substantial up-front money, but the latest proposal is a Ferguson-like contract -- loaded with rolling guarantees, sources said.
Tannenbaum, calling himself a "problem solver," insisted he's willing to be flexible. He said he offered to meet face-to-face with Schwartz, but was rebuffed. Schwartz said that wasn't the case. The Jets waited several weeks before re-opening discussions at the eve of camp. Ryan, meanwhile, has insisted Revis was their No. 1 priority throughout the offseason.
Revis would be willing to accept a "band-aid" contract, a big raise in 2010 with the promise that the team would re-visit discussions on a long-term deal after the season. By then, the labor situation could be clarified.
Revis' holdout was a hot topic among his teammates, who were barraged by questions from the media. The players backed Revis, although they believe the defense wouldn't collapse without him.
"He's huge in this defense, but we'd find our way without him," safety Jim Leonhard said.
All-Pro center Nick Mangold, also seeking a contract extension, said he has no problem with Revis' decision, but unlike Revis, he showed up at camp. He said he isn't bothered that Ryan and Tannenbaum received extensions.
"They're working down the totem pole and they'll get to me in a couple of years," he said.
Tannenbaum said he hasn't spoken directly to Revis in several weeks. On July 14, he sent a text message to Revis, wishing him a happy birthday. Revis didn't respond.
In other Jets news, rookie running back Joe McKnight, who failed his conditioning run last week, passed Sunday morning, clearing him to participate in training camp.
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes was given a later mandatory report date of Wednesday so he can attend to a family matter. Holmes wrote on this Twitter page this week that his son was in the hospital, but it was uncertain if that was the reason for the delay.
Meanwhile, Jenkins (hamstring) and backup quarterback Kellen Clemens (calf) were placed on the active-physically unable to perform list.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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