Jets reject Darrelle Revis' latest offer
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets rejected a contract proposal made last Friday by Darrelle Revis' agents, painting a bleak picture Monday of the contract stalemate. A grim-faced Woody Johnson said he's not optimistic about their chances of signing the All-Pro cornerback to a new contract before the start of the regular season.
"The answer is no," the Jets' owner said tersely, adding, "My impression is no progress ... no movement whatsoever."
Expanding on that sentiment, Johnson told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap Monday that he doesn't expect Revis to play for the Jets this season.
"My gut feeling is, I would say no," Johnson said.
Revis is entrenched in his position and has told friends he won't play in 2010 for his current $1 million salary, according to league sources. This could blow up on the Jets, who will be hard-pressed to fulfill their Super Bowl mandate without their best player.
Revis' agents, Jon Feinsod and Neil Schwartz, met with general manager Mike Tannenbaum for three hours last Friday at a diner in rural Roscoe, N.Y., about two hours from Cortland. They handed him a three-page document.
"We gave Mike a proposal to show Mr. Johnson," Schwartz told ESPNNewYork.com Monday afternoon. "We're awaiting a response."
Tannenbaum said he made the agents aware of the team's position at the meeting. He said the new proposal included some "technical changes." But he added, "We still have a very fundamental difference of opinion on what the appropriate compensation should be. Until we get that solved, there's really not much to discuss."
Johnson said the proposal contained "nothing new and different, as they say in marketing." But Schwartz disagreed, saying there were new elements.
"This proposal addressed all parties' issues and concerns to be resolved in this matter," he said.
The latest back-and-forth came on a day in which coach Rex Ryan said the team is preparing for the possibility of life without Revis, whose holdout has reached nine days. Revis has accumulated more than $148,000 in fines.
"We're going to prepare like he's not going to be here," Ryan said after the morning practice. "If he comes through the door, that's fine. Somebody will kiss him on the lips, probably. It doesn't matter. We're getting this team ready. The guys that are here, we're getting ready."
It was the first time that Ryan acknowledged the possibility of an extended absence by Revis. The two sides are trying to negotiate a new contract for Revis, who has three years remaining on his current deal, but they appear far apart.
Last Thursday, the agents called Tannenbaum to propose a meeting. They opted for Roscoe because it's roughly the midpoint between Cortland and Rockland County, N.Y., where Schwartz and Feinsod are based. The meeting also included Ari Nissim, the Jets' contract guru, and it lasted three hours.
The group huddled at the Roscoe Diner, a popular stop for college students driving to schools in upstate New York. In fact, the diner's walls are covered with pennants from dozens of colleges. Amid that backdrop, the two sides took what could be a significant step toward reaching a resolution to the contract impasse.
Interestingly, producers of HBO's "Hard Knocks" wanted to film the meeting for the reality show, which debuts Wednesday night, but Revis' agents declined, according to Schwartz.
Schwartz refused to reveal any specifics from their written proposal, but it's said to contain a unique clause that would help bridge the gap in negotiations. The Jets' last offer came on the eve of training camp. They offered a long-term package of more than $100 million, but it included only a small amount of fully guaranteed money -- about $5 million in 2010. Revis was so upset that it sealed his decision to stage a holdout.
Tuesday could be a key date in the stalemate. By rule, if a holdout doesn't report by Aug. 10, he doesn't get credit for 2010 as an accrued season. Basically, that means he loses a year toward free agency. That might cause some players to reconsider their stance, but the Aug. 10 deadline will have no bearing on Revis' thinking, according to sources close to the Jets' star. As one source said, "He's dug in."
A week ago, Ryan said Revis would be in the starting lineup even if he didn't show up until the eve of the regular-season opener. But he backed off on that, saying he was talking "facetiously." The original statement probably didn't sit well with the front office, which needs all the leverage it can get.
Revis is seeking to become the highest-paid cornerback in the league, surpassing the Oakland Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha ($15.1 million average per year).
There are complex rules that restrict the Jets' ability to offer full guarantees in future years, but they can overcame that obstacle by giving a substantial signing bonus. After all, this is an uncapped year.
As a contingency plan, the Jets have tweaked their secondary, moving former San Diego Charger Antonio Cromartie to Revis' spot (left cornerback) and opening up the right-corner position to other candidates.
First-round draft pick Kyle Wilson, projected as the nickelback, is working with the first-team defense. He replaced Dwight Lowery, who, oddly enough, told the coaching staff that Wilson deserved to be in the starter's role.
"Yes, it surprises me, but he sees that [Wilson] needs the work. He needs the reps," Ryan said. "The kid has rare ability."
In other news, outside linebacker Jason Taylor left practice with what Ryan described as a "slight" groin pull. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards (sore knee) also was limited. Wide receiver David Clowney returned to camp after missing the weekend due to personal reasons.
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