Would Darrelle Revis Hold Out in 2012?
Rich Cimini of ESPN NY recently blogged about the great season CB Darrelle Revis is having with a clear indication that this will mean he is holding out next year. Cimini’s insinuation is that Revis made so much money these last two years that there is no way he would be willing to play for less in 2012. In light of that I wanted to take a look as some of the particulars in the Revis deal and contracts in general.
First of all the timing of payments on the front end of a contract are worthless. What’s important is what the player will earn and how much is guaranteed. The timing has as much to do with salary cap consideration and either player protection from declining skills or a declining team, or team protection from salary cap disasters or erosion of talent. For example when DeMarcus Ware signed his extension back in 2009 he received a salary of $25.591 million in year 1. Some of the cash was deferred, as it is in many cases, but that was the first contract year. That salary dropped to $7.8 million in 2010 and would have been $7.2 million in 2011. There was never talk of a holdout or discussion of one. Ware renegotiated his deal to give the Cowboys cap relief in 2011. How much did he receive in that renegotiation? Exactly $7.2 million. There was no screaming about how he made nearly $17 million a year in 2009 and 2010 and needed a raise. Why not? Because he got the raise he wanted in 2009. The front end timing of the payments has nothing to do with the value of the deal. That’s the normal way things work in the NFL.
Now lets look at Revis contract itself. While I have the cap numbers on the site I have never gone too in depth on the deal. When Revis signed his contract in 2010 he was contractually obligated to the Jets for 1 season at a salary of $550,000. There were void and buyback provisions for 2011 and 2012, but those had yet to occur so the proper context of the Revis contract is a 3 year extension with $45.45 million in new money, an average of $15.15 million per season. The guarantee on the deal is $31.5 million in money he would have been assured of receiving either if injured or a team decision to cut. The other way to look at Revis’ contract is to maintain that the buybacks would occur. In that respect Revis’ deal becomes a 1 year extension worth $25.45 million in which the Jets gave Revis an additional $11.8 million in guaranteed money in the old contract years.
How does Revis’ new money stack up against some of the bigger deals on the market?
It should be noted that Asomugha’s deal has clauses that will cause the value to fall to $11.4 million per year if he fails to play in 90% of the defensive plays for the Eagles in either 2011 or 2012. Bailey can escalate his deal as high as $12 million a year via performance incentives available each year he is under contract.
Revis is at the head of the pack in terms of new money and its not even close. He makes 25% more than Asomugha and has a contract that gives him free agency even earlier. His real guarantee is obscene for the amount of years he is under contract. Even if you take Revis’ deal as a full 4 year contract its over 50% higher on a yearly basis than Asomugha’s guarantee. The market basically gives Revis no leg to stand on. About the only argument for him is that it’s a 4 year deal rather than 3 year extension, which brings the value down to $11.5 million per year. Only 3 times in his career has Asomugha reached 16 games (2003, 2005, and 2009) so it is probable that he will not earn the full $12 million on his deal. Bailey is likely not going to reach the full clauses in his deal and they are also yearly meaning that the high value only comes in 2014. The most his deal can be worth at the end of 2011 is $11.187 million. So its going to be a challenging argument to look at the Revis deal as anything but the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.
There is also the fact that the Jets essentially have holdout language in the contract. The Revis deal is one of the more intriguing deals I have seen in the NFL and clearly the Jets came away with huge victories in the negotiations when they agreed to give Revis the large raise. Both the 2012 and 2013 seasons carry huge workout and reporting bonuses to ensure Revis report to camp and participate in the Jets offseason program. Revis could lose $2 million a season by holding out.
Even larger than that, Revis’s contract has an extra 3 seasons tacked onto it at $3 million per season. Those seasons void at the end of 2013 provided Revis does not hold out from his deal. By holding out Revis allows the Jets to control his rights for 3 years at an unguaranteed $9 million rather than allowing himself the position to receive a new contract here or elsewhere for what would be at least $12 million per season and $30 million in guaranteed money. It just would not make any sense, especially if the Jets are sick of the routine. Today’s best player becomes tomorrow trash pretty quickly and the league is still waiting for the first cornerback to lead his team to a Super Bowl. The Jets hold the cards in this situation. There is a lot more to lose than the $650,000 that was on the table the last time.