On Monday night's Total Access on the NFL Network, Andrea Kremer sat down with New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis in a revealing interview. There were plenty of revelations, and I came away with three strong convictions:
» Revis wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL and has an excellent case.
» Between the start of free agency March 12 and the draft on April 25, Revis will be traded.
» There is a very realistic chance in a rare win-win-win scenario that Revis, the Jets and his new team all come away very happy.
Revis told Kremer he wants to remain a Jet but won't "pout" if he's traded, understanding the business element of the NFL. He knows he's done. He has held out twice in his six-year career. The last time he did it, a few years ago in 2010 in a highly publicized standoff with the Jets, he infuriated owner Woody Johnson by showing up so late in the summer. Revis angered Johnson even more by getting injured in Week 2 and going on to have the worst full season of his career.
As part of that new deal, Revis' contract becomes void at the end of the 2013 season if he doesn't hold out. There's also a clause that the Jets cannot franchise him. In reality, Revis will be a free agent at the end of 2013.
Could you imagine if the Jets held onto him, couldn't sign him, and a cornerback-needy teams like the New York Giants or New England Patriots -- the Jets' two biggest rivals -- snatched him up? That would be an epic PR disaster and would be counterproductive to the cause. There are only two choices for the Jets: Sign him and give him every penny he wants, or trade him and get needed pieces in return.
I think the answer is crystal clear. The best scenario for the 2014 Jets is to trade Revis.
The Jets, even with Revis, are the worst team in the AFC East. They need to retool and rebuild. Keeping Revis and trying to win a few more games would be akin to using a band-aid when you need surgery. It's really not an option, and credit Woody Johnson for knowing it.
Revis wants his money. He always has. Right after he ended his 2010 holdout, he stressed he might do it again, seemingly before the ink was dry. In Johnson's eyes, Revis has never truly been happy from Day 1, prioritizing paper green over Gang Green.
Revis is an incredible talent, the best corner in the game. Even after tearing his ACL and rehabbing from the subsequent surgery, he has a very strong case to be the highest paid defensive player. He's been diligent in his rehab. If he gets what he wants financially, theoretically he won't be distracted like he often has been with the Jets.
The Jets are in cap disarray. The roster is a mess, too. They need a quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end, two offensive linemen and help at every level of defense. Other than that, they are in good shape.
New general manager John Idzik did the right thing in calling Revis after the Inside The NFL story broke. And Idzik didn't blow smoke, either. He didn't guarantee Revis would stay with the Jets, primarily because it is smart to use Revis to remake the roster.
Revis is going to command a bushel of picks in return, even coming off the injury. He's going to be shopping a top commodity.Tampa Bay makes a lot of sense. The Buccaneers have plenty of cap room. Coach Greg Schiano loves Revis' style. GM Mark Dominik needs a winning season. Revis is very marketable, and there are a ton of New York transplants living in Tampa. That's important to the Glazer family. Could the Jets get a first-rounder this year and next year for Revis? Tampa would pay him. A win for everyone.
Before the draft season kicks into high gear, Gil Brandt takes stock of the best prospects with his first Hot 100 list of 2013. More ...
How about San Francisco? The 49ers have a bushel of draft picks. They will be in the Super Bowl hunt. Revis would be a major upgrade at corner. Could the Jets get back a first-rounder, second-rounder and third-rounder? How about Alex Smith? The Jets need a quarterback, and it would be smart for San Fran to use him as a chip. The Jets could restructure Smith's deal and give him guarantees for 2014 with a low number in 2013. Smith is smart and is excellent protecting the football, the antithesis of Mark Sanchez.
Could the Denver Broncos be in play? It isn't remotely the Pittsburgh way for the Steelers to get involved, but Revis is a Pittsburgh native who starred at Pitt in college. The Steelers were poised to draft him before the Jets traded up to the slot before the Steelers to pluck him. There will be teams lining up for Revis. They will want a window to sign him and the Jets will grant it.
The Jets should make an effort to sign Revis to an extension below the insane money Mario Williams received from Buffalo. Revis will laugh. Then Jets should then trade him.
And in the end, everyone involved -- the Jets, Revis, his new team -- will be very happy.