By Ernie Palladino
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The rule of thumb for general managers in the NFL reads that no player is untouchable. Any player can be had for the right, and in the case of a superstar, enormous price.
That said, the fact that the Jets’ new general manager John Idzik refused to squash immediately the trade rumors surrounding Darrelle Revis may go down as his first mistake. It’s not a huge one, mind you. Just a ripple in an offseason wave that will grow in intensity as Idzik tries to figure out the personnel mess he walked into.
He could have used what little tranquility was available.
Bad enough he has to contend with a bad quarterback situation. But with reports coming out last week about the Jets possibly trading the league’s preeminent shutdown cornerback, last year’s knee reconstruction notwithstanding, it might have behooved Idzik to come right out and say “Darrelle Revis will not be traded under any circumstances.”
You see, there’s a public relations game to be played here. This year’s 6-10 face-plant alone has Jets fans steamed plenty. Now, the new guy answers rumors about erasing Revis Island from the Jets’ financial cartography with a non-denial denial, citing the substance of the conversation he had with Revis after the rumors popped up.
“Give us a chance to get to know each other and introduce ourselves to each other,” Idzik told Pro Football Talk. “So give us that chance and give us the chance to go through our current roster.”
And find what? That there’s a gaping hole at left cornerback, for one thing. For another, that the injury that caused that massive hole should be healed and ready to go, thanks to Revis’ work ethic and ultra-competitive nature. Whether that’s all together true or not can’t be known until the pads go on in training camp. But that’s what should have been said to jittery fans who pay good money to see one of their palm full of favorites do their job.
And if things turned out differently, well, general managers are like coaches. They reserve the right to change their minds. If Idzik’s examination of the very real salary cap problems shows it’s a better deal to unload Revis after June 1, the league’s date that would allow the Jets to lessen the full $9 million cap hit for trading him beforehand, for a veteran and a No. 4 pick, or a first and second-round pick rather than let him walk away for nothing in free agency after this year, then he pulls the trigger.
Only then would he have to explain why he reversed course. In the meantime, he has assured the cash-paying customers that short of that sort of deal, Revis isn’t going anywhere.
Perhaps Idzik just has to learn the nuances of the position. He’s never been a GM before. True, also, is that Revis and his holdouts — real and threatened — offer a track record of trouble for someone coming off a serious injury. He’s going to be looking for a boatload of money after 2013, and the Jets may not be in a position to devote the cash he’ll seek if he again becomes a scourge to the league’s wide receivers.
Dumping Revis after June 1 may well be the right move. A couple of high draft picks in 2014 would help a rebuilding effort that most certainly will not have reached completion this season. A veteran star on either offense or defense would certainly help the cause this year.
Regardless of what the future holds, Idzik needed to appease now both Revis and his team’s constituency. He has left too many loose ends in this one, and those will now continue to hang over his head until something does or doesn’t happen before training camp.
Basically, he cost himself a few moments of peace and quiet, at least on the Revis front.
He could have used that as he settles into his new office.
What should Idzik do with Revis? Sound off in the comments!