According to men who have been in a similar position to Jets general manager John Idzik, trading away star cornerback Darrelle Revis would involve a fundamental shift for the franchise and signal the start of a rebuilding era. But, they say, it might be the right thing to do.
Over the past six weeks, reports have filtered in every few days linking Revis to any number of NFL teams, all citing the Jets’ interest in trading away the game’s top cornerback. Revis, who has an opt-out clause after this season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and the Jets might not be able to-resign him due to salary cap constraints. In short, the Jets might need to maximize this asset now.
Phil Savage was the general manager of the Cleveland Browns from 2005-08 and he understands the dynamics in play now for Idzik. If the Jets trade Revis, they’re going from a win-now mentality to rebuilding their roster without its star.
“Well, how much bang for your buck are you getting for the first rounder and the other picks? When you’re talking about these kind of trades and use words like rebuilding — when in reality, Rex Ryan, the coach, is in a situation where he needs to win this year,” Savage told Metro. “That’s an internal situation that they need to decide is if Darrelle Revis is part of their winning today and can he be a part of winning tomorrow? Are they willing to sacrifice a really good player to begin another chapter?”
Therein lies the rub for Jets fans, as Revis was drafted by the team in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career with the team. While fans might want to see him retire as a Jet, that might be impossible given the long-term contracts already doled out to D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Santonio Holmes and David Harris, among others.
Revis might just be a casualty of a numbers crunch.
It might just come down to the Jets wanting to recoup some value for Revis rather than letting him walk for nothing next year. One AFC executive told Metro the internet banter about the Jets getting multiple first-round picks this year and next year “is a complete pipe dream with no basis in reality.” The executive spoke on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t allowed to comment publicly on personnel moves for other teams.
It is a point Savage concurred with, especially given the season-ending knee injury Revis suffered last year in Week 3.
“I think in this scenario that you think you’re going to get two No. 1 [picks] is probably unreasonable because of the injury and the fact that he did miss most of last year. But to think you’re going to get a first rounder — depending on where it is — are you going to get Kansas City’s first pick in the draft? I seriously would doubt that,” Savage said. “Maybe the No. 14 pick or the No. 24 plus something next year that might elevate from the third round to the second or a second rounder that would increase in value some way, that’s probably where I think this will fall.”
The Jets might not be moving in on a trade anytime soon. The AFC executive painted a picture of a Jets team cautiously doing its homework under Idzik and not signaling a rush to make a move. Savage cautioned that draft picks aren’t necessarily a sure thing, saying, “To me, a bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush. Darrelle Revis is a proven, top-flite, proven corner. They just don’t grow on trees.”
They may be left with no alternatives, however, and seem to be exploring their options. The AFC executive squashed a recent report that said three teams have emerged as favorites for Revis. According to the chatter he’s hearing, that isn’t the case and the Jets aren’t that far along in the process.
“I think it is fair to characterize the Jets right now are doing their due diligence, just like any other team would in that situation,” the executive said. “But to say that a deal is quickly forthcoming, from everything I’ve seen, is not accurate. But given the way Revis has handled contract situations in the past, it is likely that the Jets are being prudent in exploring their options. ”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.