Since the end of the 2012 season the New York Jets have experienced their biggest upheaval during the coaching tenure of Rex Ryan, with a new general manager, new offensive coordinator and promotions from within for both defensive and special teams coordinators, plus at least a half dozen new position coaches. Despite that in a recent press conference head coach Rex Ryan said that the Jets have not discussed trading their best player, Darrelle Revis, we will explore it here.
The positives are getting something in return for the marquee cornerback in the NFL and not pouring a ton of money into the position moving forward when it likely won't improve the team's overall record. Darrelle Revis will likely hit the open market next offseason (as is his right) if he stays, and after seeing what Mario Williams got, he'll make a ton of money. But being that the Jets had the second-ranked pass defense in the NFL without him, is he worth that kind of an investment when the team needs so much on offense? Can the Jets afford to watch him leave and get nothing in return?
If football really is about anything it's about money and certainly with the Jets over the salary cap for 2013 a trade of Darrelle Revis gives them some more financial flexibility to rebuild immediately. Obviously letting him walk away after the 2013 season when his contract expires and getting nothing in return, save a compensatory draft choice, is the last option the Jets want to explore. My opinion is he should stay a Jet, but realistically it may not be feasible to pay him in excess of $15 million per year with a flat cap around $120 or so million.
Trading Darrelle Revis will save the Jets money now and in the future, as they won't need to give him the hefty long-term contract he deserves. It will also net them multiple draft picks that they can use to rebuild the depth they sorely lack at just about every position, which the 2012 season certainly proved. Antonio Cromartie has also proven to be more than up to the task of covering opponents' top receivers and he was a big reason why the Jets still defended the pass very well in Revis' absence.
Losing the best player in the league at his position. Having Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis together again would be the best combination of cornerbacks in the NFL. The Jets would miss out on being potentially the most dominant secondary in the NFL.
When you have a player with the talents of Darrelle Revis he should be treated like you want him to remain with your club until retirement, but the previous contract negotiations have been acrimonious at best. The Jets don't seem to want to go down that road again, so losing Darrelle Revis, as we saw for most of this past season, means leaving one side of the field more exposed with a corner that cannot hang with any team's second best receiver. A Jets secondary with Revis, Cromartie and if Landry can be retained as well can be dominate for years to come, giving the Jets young pass rushers, Wilkerson and Coples better opportunities and more time to take down opposing quarterbacks.
I've always been a fan of getting the best player in any trade and no matter what kind of a return the Jets get for Revis, no player or pick they get back will match Revis' impact on the field. No team is giving up a top-10 draft pick for him and some teams may even shy away from a first-round pick altogether, especially considering the drop in production Nnamdi Asomugha suffered a few years ago when he was discussed in the same breath as Revis. Despite their defensive success without him in 2012, losing the best player on any defense will certainly have a negative impact on the team, especially with all of the other cuts the Jets are planning. The way they've handled the situation, essentially avoiding paying one of the NFL's best players for a few seasons, may also hurt their ability to attract free agents to play for the team.
What other move(s) should the New York Jets make to put themselves in a better cap position to compete in 2013?
Cut Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Smith and Eric Smith right off the bat, (which has now been done.) Trade (hopefully) or cut Tim Tebow if there isn't a significant role for him on the team. Allow Brandon Moore to walk and find a replacement between Caleb Schlauderaff, Vlad Ducasse or elsewhere. Don't overpay for Dustin Keller.
The obvious cutting of the excess on the roster (Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, etc) is now past for new Jets general manager John Idzik, but what may not be obvious is that Idzik will be required, if he's not already well at work doing so, to renegotiate some contracts like Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes to help save the Jets even more money. Another tough decision will really compromise the offensive line and any quarterback's ability to stay upright behind them. Both starting guards are free agents, and the Jets might even let both of them walk, with Vlad Ducasse taking one spot and a cheap free agent occupying the other.
Outside of the obvious cuts we have previously discussed here, letting Sione Pouha walk would save $4 million, but could the team find a comparable player for that price? They can also trade Cromartie instead of Revis while his value is at his highest, which makes more sense on paper than a Revis deal. Nobody would want Santonio Holmes and David Harris for
the money they're making and besides, you can't cut everybody; you still need to field a professional football team. The Jets are honestly screwed for 2013 and it makes sense to start clearing space for 2014 and start rebuilding from there with a new quarterback. Unless Sanchez gets it together or they bring in another QB that outperforms his price tag, this team has no shot at the playoffs next season or even a .500 record.
If you could be the new Jets General Manager John Idzik for one day what would you do to help the New York Jets?
I would find out just what I could get for Darrelle Revis. It's not a yes or no answer, there has to be a significant payoff, ideally in terms of draft picks. I wouldn't trade him for a quarterback, I would clear out future space and get younger without locking the team into whatever quarterback can be pried away from a team for Revis. I agree with John Idzik in that this team needs to be built through the draft. Stockpiling picks, which hopefully turn into contributors on rookie contracts, is the way to do that and will put the Jets in a much better salary cap situation.
Besides the aforementioned shopping around of Darrelle Revis, I would also consider trading Santonio Holmes and certainly see what value, if any, can be gotten for Tim Tebow, even if it's a late round draft pick. I realize Holmes is a play maker and the Jets need those but it's time to move on from his big contract, if it cannot be re-negotiated. One player that has not been mentioned much as a valuable free agent that will be courted by several teams, is Mike DeVito. I would also prioritize bringing him back, because if Sione Pouha has more back issues, and Kenrick Ellis regresses in his development, which did come along some in 2012, then his size will still be needed to plug up the middle.
I would not trade Revis and ship out Cromartie instead. Sell high, not low. I would trade anybody else necessary to get under the cap for 2013, suck it up for a season while the salary troubles go away and draft a quarterback in the top five like Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel to play for 2014 and beyond (unless Sanchez magically puts it together). I would not try to compete in 2013 because I just can't see any way the Jets can with all the cuts they have to make just to fill out their roster with low-level players.
Now lets see how the New York Jets truly handle the situation surrounding Darrelle Revis, his rehab, his request for a new contract and any possible trade that may result if things go south as they have in the past. The 2013 offseason is in full swing.
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