Rex Ryan invites Darrelle Revis, reps

Updated: August 12, 2010, 8:53 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Try to imagine this: New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum seated at a table, surrounded by 80 players. On the opposite side of the table are Darrelle Revis and his two agents.

Ready, set, negotiate.

This may sound like a wacky idea for a scene in an upcoming episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," but Ryan was serious Wednesday when he proposed a mega sit-down between the Jets and Revis' camp in an attempt to resolve their contract standoff.

Clearly annoyed that Revis' representatives called out the Jets as "blatant liars," Ryan responded by inviting his All-Pro cornerback and his agents to training camp to hammer out a deal. He said he'd cancel practice and have the entire team at the meeting.

Ryan said it was a "blatant joke" that agents Neil Schwartz and Jon Feinsod accused the Jets' brass of lying about whether Johnson was invited to attend a negotiating session last Friday in Roscoe, N.Y. -- a disputed point that sparked a mudslinging contest Tuesday. Members of the organization were furious by the agents' "liars" quote.

So Ryan went on the offensive.

"This is what I would like to have happen," he told reporters. "Everybody put their cards on the table. Have Darrelle come here with anybody he wants. We'll have Mr. Johnson here. ... We'll call off practice. We'll have our whole team there to meet.

"That way, there's no he-said, she-said. Let's work it that way. Maybe that's how we'll get a solution. Everybody wants a solution. Let's figure out a way to do it. Maybe this is the way."

Asked later if he's serious, Ryan said, "Absolutely serious."

Schwartz responded to Ryan's quasi-invitation, saying, "If the Jets want to set up a meeting, they know how to reach me." Schwartz wouldn't say if he'd agree to the meeting if the Jets did, in fact, call him.

The back-and-forth continues, but the bottom line is this: Revis still hasn't reported to camp, as his holdout has reached 11 days. There is a huge gap in negotiations, with neither side expressing any optimism that a deal will get done anytime soon.

The Jets offered Revis a 10-year, $120 million contract, according to the New York Daily News.

How much of that is fully guaranteed remains a question. The Jets say they're willing to be flexible on the signing bonus amount, but their proposal didn't contain a specific amount.

Revis' camp has talked about him being the highest-paid cornerback in the league. Since Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha makes $16.5 million per season, Revis would be looking at a deal in excess of 10 years and $160 million.

In last Friday's three-hour bargaining session, a deal in that neighborhood was flatly rejected by the Jets.

News of Ryan's unusual proposal spread quickly among the players.

"[Rex] wants him here," quarterback Mark Sanchez told The Associated Press. "I mean, he's serious. It's difficult as players because we don't know exactly down to the number what's really going on. So it's hard to say, 'Well, he should be here' or 'He shouldn't be here.' All I can say is, I hope it gets resolved soon without any more holdups."

Another player, speaking on the condition of anonymity because it was after the media-availability period, told ESPNNewYork.com: "I like what Rex is trying to do: Bring everybody together to see if something can get done, so there are no discrepancies and no he-said/she-said."

Running back Leon Washington, whom the Jets traded to the Seattle Seahawks in April, offered Revis some advice.

"I told Darrelle ... 'I'm not going to tell you what to do and not to do, not to go back or even stay with the team, but line up to my situation and do what's best for your family,'" Washington said Wednesday as a guest on ESPN's "First Take."

Washington rejected a long-term contract offer -- a proposal that included a full guarantee of $5 million and an injury guarantee of $5 million -- from the Jets last offseason, opting to play out his contract, but then suffered a season-ending leg injury in October. He's playing for his tender amount of $1.8 million this year.

Johnson, in an out-of-character media blitz, has said that he doesn't expect Revis to play for the Jets in 2010. In an interview Tuesday on 1050 ESPN Radio, he said he was "rebuffed" in his attempt to attend last Friday's face-to-face bargaining sessions. The agents replied by saying someone in the organization is a "blatant liar."

Revis, due to make $1 million this season, has three years left on his contract. His camp is on record as saying he won't report until he gets a new contract, but privately, team officials say they won't buckle to Revis' demands.

Ryan hopes his star cornerback accepts his invitation because "it's hard to get a deal done with Darrelle not there. Ultimately, it's his future."

But a town hall-style meeting?

"I bet it gets done," Ryan said, "if we do it that way."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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