Sources: Jets, Revis still far apart
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Darrelle Revis returned to the New York Jets' practice field Tuesday morning, but he still doesn't have a new contract -- and the two sides remain far apart in negotiations, according to league sources.
The star cornerback, who has three years remaining on his contract but wants to be the highest-paid player at his position, is upset by the lack of progress on a new deal and made his feelings known by skipping the previous practice, last Thursday. It was his first offseason absence. Because the organized team activity sessions are voluntary, no-shows can't be fined.
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Revis decided to return as a good-faith gesture with the hope of kick-starting negotiations, but it's unclear if that will be the case. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has said he's willing to renegotiate the contract as long as it's "within reason." Revis told ESPNNewYork.com last month that he was promised a new deal by the front office.
The Jets' offseason program is almost over. The final voluntary practice is Thursday (open to the media), followed by a three-day minicamp beginning Monday. Because the minicamp is mandatory, Revis would be fined if he doesn't show. Revis wasn't available Tuesday because the practice was closed to the media.
"It was good," said coach Rex Ryan, who was at Citi Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mets' game against San Diego. "He made like three interceptions today, one of them it's not possible to make. It's always good to see him out there."
Ryan also said he isn't too concerned about the situation.
"That's somebody else's job," Ryan said. "I just hope that it's going to work out for both sides, where both sides are happy. Obviously, Darrelle, everybody knows what I think of him. I think he's the best corner in football. You know it'd be a lot easier to win with him, let's just put it that way."
Revis is on record as saying he wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, seeking to eclipse Nnamdi Asomugha's current deal with the Oakland Raiders. Asomugha is making $16.5 million in the second year of a three-year, $45.3 million contract. Revis is believed asking for at least $16 million per year.
"I think that is fair," Revis told ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk on May 21. "This is nothing behind closed doors [like] I am fighting against the Jets and they are fighting against me. I have talked to Coach Ryan and Tannenbaum himself and they believe I should be the highest-paid player at my position. They understand that and I understand that. It is something that is going to get done. The Jets are family to me."
At that time, Revis said the Jets promised him he'd get a new deal before training camp.
"These are not my words," he said. "These are the Jets' words. They promised that it was going to get done before training camp. If it happens, it happens. If it don't, it don't and then there are other situations that have to come upon it."
Revis has a strong case because Ryan, has said many times that Revis is the best cornerback in the league. But the Jets, like many teams, regard the Asomugha contract as outlandish. Complicating matters is the uncertainty regarding the collective bargaining agreement. Tannenbaum has said it's difficult to renegotiate because the league doesn't have a system in place for the future.
New York worked with a salary cap of about $128 million last year, but are reportedly operating at around $110 million this year. While there is no cap this season, many teams are trying to stay around their normal operating level to avoid possible penalties in case a cap is instituted next season. Still, the Jets are operating well below last year's level, despite needing to sign -- and appease -- key players.
Revis already has made an above-market salary over his first three years (a total of $15 million), but the Jets All-Pro cornerback's salary drops to $1 million this season. His six-year contract voids after the season, but the Jets can buy back 2011 and 2012 for a total of $20 million -- all guaranteed.
However, the complicated contract reportedly contains language that makes the $20 million non-guaranteed if he skips a mandatory practice.
Even at $21 million over the next three years, Revis is underpaid based on the market. After Asomugha, the next-highest average is $10 million a year, belonging to Nate Clements of the San Francisco 49ers.
Revis is one of several Jets looking for contract extensions. Center Nick Mangold and linebacker David Harris are entering their final season, and Mangold has said he wants a new deal by the start of the regular season. Neither player has skipped any voluntary workouts.
Mangold has said he and his agent discussed sitting out of OTAs, but decided against it. Mangold said last week that Revis is the team's priority, but others await.
"It should be very interesting to see how it pans out and how they manage it all," Mangold said, adding that he has not ruled out the possibility of holding out during training camp if his own deal is not reworked.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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