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A Potential Wrinkle in the Revis Holdout
New York Jets Salary Cap Page

A Potential Wrinkle in the Revis Holdout

Just a small update on the Darrelle Revis holdout. Almost anyone following the situation knows that an important date in the Revis holdout is August 10th. Its been talked about on various Jets websites , including by our buddies over at The Jets Blog , as well as a few national media sources. In case you were unaware the reason the date is important is because of a rule in the CBA that states

For the purposes of calculating Accrued Seasons under this Agreement , for any League Year beginning with the 1993 League Year , a player shall not receive an Accrued Season for any League Year in which the player is under contract to a Club and in which he failed to report to such Club at least thirty (30) days prior to the first regular season game of that season.

Under the standard CBA agreement a free agent requires four accrued seasons of service to become an unrestricted free agent. Revis currently has three. Most have disregarded the date because Revis is under contract for the next three years and odds are five years of service , which is what he would have at the end of 2012 , is going to be enough to reach unrestricted free agency at the end of his contract.

However , we have to realize that the Revis contract is unique. Revis' contract has a unique feature in which he can buyout the last two seasons of his contract , worth about 1.3 million dollars , which the Jets can then buyback for around 15 million dollars , a number that can rise to 20 million based on Revis' on field performance.

But most people are failing to take into account the actual mechanism by which Revis' contract operates. Darrelle does not simply tell the Jets that he is going to buyout his deal and they simply buy it back. Revis will actually void his contract when he exercises the buyback. The day he buys out the deal he becomes a free agent. His agents negotiated a clause into the deal to not allow the Jets to designate him a franchise player in lieu of buying back the contract for a guaranteed 20 million dollars , so we know for a fact that Revis is a free agent when he buys the deal out.

This is what seems to make the August 10th deadline potentially so important. If Revis loses a year of service he will only have three years of service under his belt. Rather than being an unrestricted free agent he will be a restricted free agent under terms of the CBA. As a restricted free agent the Jets hold tremendous leverage on Revis as they would no longer be under obligation to buyback those years at the high price tag. Instead they could tender Revis at a cost significantly lower than his buyback salary and then begin to use the franchise tag thereafter to keep him property of the team. That would be a significant loss of earnings for Revis if such a situation were to occur. Again this is nothing new if you are following the team around the internet as the subject has been discussed many times. So that seems to make August 10th a huge date for the team. But reality is often different than it seems.

We are all forgetting that a new set of rules are in place in 2010 because 2010 is an uncapped season. In an uncapped year the required time for unrestricted free agency jumps from four years of service to six years of service. All signs at this point in the labor negotiations basically point to both sides playing the year out without a new CBA in place and then seeing who blinks first in March. Here is why this affects Revis and makes the August 10th date likely meaningless. It also adds a new dimension to his holdout from the team.

Revis' contract will void the week following the Super Bowl , which is part of the 2010 League Year. Its more or less that limbo period in football during the month of February where not much goes on besides a few cuts and its so far beyond the end of the regular season that most believe its a new year. But on the NFL calender it is not. The 2011 League Year does not begin until March and teams do not begin workouts until mid-March. That mid-March date is likely the first date by which the NFL and the NFL Players Union will hammer out a deal in order to preserve all aspects of the offseason as a loss of three weeks of free agency is not enough of an impediment to either side as players an easily be integrated into the system and get their money whether they are signed March 5th or March 20th. The next important date would be the NFL draft in April. Regardless of what the sides consider the make or break date , its fair to say that it is after March. Even if a new agreement were to occur before then it's likely it would not take affect until March so as to not hamper the salary cap for the 2010 NFL season as some teams will come in below negotiated minimums and others will be far higher than allowable limits.

And all of this leaves a superstar cornerback in limbo. When Revis voids his contract in February all signs point to the fact that he is going to be a restricted free agent whether he sits out all of training camp or all of the NFL football season. Three years or four years of service makes no difference in a year where you need six seasons to become an unrestricted free agent. This also sheds new light on a potential reason why Revis is holding out right now and willing to give up 20 million guaranteed by doing so. Revis was likely not playing in 2010 for 20 million dollars. He was likely playing for a 3 million dollar or so qualifying offer from the Jets in 2011 and a 9 million dollar franchise tag in 2012. Sure he could hope the Jets would exercise the buyback , but that would be putting faith in an organization and there is almost no trust between the players and teams right now.

Is it possible that Revis is protected from being tendered? It is possible , but highly unlikely. When Revis signed his original contract in 2007 there was labor harmony and no person anticipated that an uncapped season would occur that changed the limits for unrestricted free agency. Considering no players escaped restricted free agency with the new rules in place in 2010 it is hard to imagine that Revis' agents would have negotiated that type of protection into the contract.

All in all the uncapped year may have added a new reason as to why Revis is now staging this holdout and why it may go on longer than any of us thought.

And as always you can receive updates Via Twitter @nyjetscap