Trading Darrelle Revis... Tweet
Whenever news breaks on Darrelle Revis Im usually on top of it so here we go again. According to Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, Woody Johnson has finally realized what we have talked about here since Revis signed his extension in 2010 which was the fact that the Jets would have difficulty re-signing the star player if he reached the backend of his contract without an extension. The business side of the relationship between Revis and the Jets has been contentious to say the least. He held out in 2007 and received a contract that was closer in value to that of a top 10 pick than a top 15 pick. He held out again in 2010 off a superb 2009 season and this time the head coach got involved and saw Revis signed to a lucrative 4 year deal that impacted the Jets cap in a pretty negative manner. With Woody turning the team over the last thing he needs is more drama involving Revis as he heads into the final year of his contract.
The problem with Revis is that he views himself as the best defensive player in the NFL and wants to be paid top dollar, a number which is currently represented by DE Mario Williams who makes $16 million a year with $24.9 million in firm guarantees. It is a number that the Jets absolutely can not reach under any circumstances. When you financially model contributions vs cap dollars, as I often do in some of my positional valuations I do from time to time, those additional dollars simply do not add the value necessary. There is a point that you reach with a player where paying extra to keep him actually hurts your team rather than helping it. At some point you have to ask yourself are the Jets better off with Revis making $16 million a year or with a lesser corner making $10 million a year, which is close to the top market value, and $6 million spent elsewhere.
I have gone over the contributions of a cornerback over and over again on this site. The most recent one I believe was this article on 3 year performance. The facts are they do not contribute on about 30-35% of the plays as corners are essentially worthless in run support. For the most part a wide receiver is targeted about 20.2% of the time, which is really meaning that the grade A cornerback is only truly beneficial to the success of failure of a play 20.2% of the 65-70% of the plays run by the opposition. In contrast a pass rusher, assuming he is a 3 down player, is involved in every aspect of every play of the game. Revis becomes a luxury at some point that most teams can not afford.
When you look at Revisí statistical contributions from 2010-2011 you will see that he began to come back to the pack from his peak in 2009. Why was Revis so spectacular in 2009? I think he partially benefitted from the defensive scheme the Jets were running. There is a significant impact that a pass rush has on a QBs performance. When a QB is under pressure his success rate falls from over 60% on a dropback to around 43%. In 2009 the Jets were credited by Pro Football Focus with 180 pressures on 532 non sack dropbacks, a rate of just under 34%. This was reason why players like Lito Sheppard had incredibly low catch rates as well. That number dipped to 31.6% in 2010 and 30.0% in 2011.The lower numbers coincided with Revisí percentages to rise and yards allowed to increase. By no means is this meant to disparage Revis, but to simply put in perspective that for some reason we never give credit to other things happening on the field when we evaluate cornerbacks.
There has to be a fundamental understanding of the contribution before we start throwing money at the position. When I did the financial evaluations under a number of metrics last season prior to injury within the marketplace the value price, in which Revis would be compared to the average grade A talents ranged from a minimum of $11.25-$11.5 million a year. Now I understand in negotiations you are negotiating against the top dollar contract and the value of your guy against that but under no circumstance can one go above $13 million for any corner and even that is probably pushing it.
You have to look at Revis as a valuable commodity that you need to get as much trade value out of as possible. You cant get wrapped up in the fact that you drafted him or that you know he is the best in his position. The Jets job is to get better and they will get better by drafting well not by overinvesting for minimal gains. That being said a trade with Revis involves a number of complications.
The biggest hangup is that Revis is coming off a serious knee injury. I donít think that prevents teams from taking a look, but his contract is detrimental to that. A team is going to want a trial period to see what they have before signing Revis to the mega-extension he desires, but the Jets gave up the contractual right to franchise Revis after the 2013 season meaning a team would not be able to retain his rights if he just felt like going elsewhere at seasons end. Perhaps they could tweak that aspect of his contract and call for a tag equal to that of the average of the three highest paid QBs with no ability to franchise thereafter, but its hard for me to see a team diving that deep in on Revis coming off the ACL. Revisí camp will point to Adrian Peterson of the Vikings and how Williams got his deal after a year on the shelf with a torn pectoral muscle, but the Peterson recovery was nothing short of a miracle and does anyone in their right mind think the Bills got a good deal in Williams?
The second hangup comes on the Jets end. The information I have on Revisí contract tells me that he should carry a dead money hit of $12 million in 2013, not $9 million as reported, if the Jets were to trade him. That $12 million comes from an $18 million dollar option bonus he received in 2011 that was prorated from 2011 thru 2016. He is scheduled to count for $9 million against what looks to be a somewhat type cap for the team, so they would lose a net of $3 million for the year plus whatever draft pick and/or player salary they get back for him. So its difficult for both sides to make a deal.
As for what I think of the idea I have been a proponent of this move for some time. Revis is a constant contractual headache and the team will be better without him at a huge cost than with him. If Revis is traded people will spin this as the Jets cap dictating the move but it has nothing to do with it. They are going to lose room with the move. If they choose to move on its because they feel it is in their best interests. Financially trading Antonio Cromartie makes more sense. Iím sure some will say that this is John Idzik putting a stamp on the team, but the Seahawks have been believers in building and spending in the secondary so I donít see it as that either.
Back in 2006 the Jets had a terrific pass rusher in John Abraham. He was the best player on the team. While not in Revisí class of talent he was a pro bowl type talent. But he got hurt a lot, didnít have the best reputation as a hard worker, wanted huge money, and quite frankly served no purpose on a team expected to win 4 or 5 games in 2006. Some might say he was traded because the Jets were changing defenses, but they had plenty of guys who didnít fit such as Jon Vilma and DeWayne Robertson and they made no attempts to trade those players. Abraham was traded because the draft pick value he gave to the team was far more important than the 10 sacks he might register at big cap dollars. The same holds true here.
If you allow Revis to play his deal out you will spend $9 million cap dollars in 2013 and then another $9 million in dead money cap in 2014, so $18 million in cap. Removing Revis off the books now saves $6 million in total cap dollars, gets a better pick, and clears out $9 million in spending room in 2014 which can be used for a number of things ranging from offsetting a Mark Sanchez cap hit or signing free agents that can help the team win in the future. When you look at it from a two year perspective it makes financial sense compared to the more short sighted one year look at the cap effect.
What would you get for Darrelle? My feeling has always been that you would get a 2nd round pick this year that would escalate to a 1st rounder in 2014 if he met certain health related incentives that rendered him capable of playing the season out. The way that would work in practice is that the Jets get a 2nd rounder in 2013 and then would receive a 1st round pick in 2014 while sending their 2014 2nd rounder back as a return for the 2013 pick. Can they do better? Maybe. Vontae Davis got a 2nd rounder from the Colts, but he is under a zero money contract and had no injury, both of which I think play a factor. Under the compensatory system at best the Jets would receive a 3rd round pick for Revis which would not be had until the 2015 draft. That is a long way away and a pretty steep price. An added $6 million in lost cap space and no additional pick for two years. I donít see that as a strong option.
I would think that you would want to approach teams that clearly have a win now mentality. Denver has such a short window because of their QB situation that I could see that as a strong overreaction to the playoff game against Baltimore where Champ Baileyís age was badly exposed in front of the world. Denver would probably give up a 1st since they pick at the end of the round. Philadelphia has turned into a flashy make noise team over the last two or three years and needs improvements to that defense. They could easily replace Nnamdi Asomugha with Revis. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are always willing to make a splash and Jones is always chasing bad money contracts and this would be right up there with the rest of them. If I had a darkhorse team it would be the Buccaneers. They have cap room and would be willing to go year by year with Revis in a cash to cap structure, which gives both sides more flexibility in the future. I tend to believe the Bucs think they are closer than they really are which would lead to such a move. The Saints would be a really nice landing spot but they have all kinds of cap issues so I cant see that one.
So I guess we will see what happens with this one, but in the meantime feel free to fire any questions you have on Revis to me and Ill try to post something on him.
Edit: I forgot to mention the timing of such a trade. Revis has a roster bonus due on the 5th day of the new league year meaning a trade would have to take place between day 1 and 4PM EST of say 5 of free agency to avoid payment of $1 million to Revis.