By Joe Giglio
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For a league that prides itself on parity and competition, the first week of NFL free agency has a tendency to leave general managers with a lack of long-term vision. The ability to improve a team substantially is too great of a lure for front offices to resist. Although Darrelle Revis isn’t a free agent this March, the actions and words of John Idzik and Rex Ryan have made him something even greater: The best player available.
Despite that, there have been cries for Idzik — who still is evaluating and trimming the fat from the roster he inherited — to act quick with a Revis deal. As early as Tuesday, reports surfaced about interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The dots weren’t hard to connect in the aftermath of the rumors: Idzik still has colleagues in the Tampa front office from his time there, Greg Schiano’s defense was porous against the pass last season, and most importantly, they have ample cap room to satisfy Revis’ request of a long-term, lucrative contract.
While the fit is easy to see, the rush to commence an agreement isn’t. Yes, it would behoove the Jets to move Revis sooner than later from a cap perspective — our WFAN Jets beat reporter Chris Lopresti tweeted out this link detailing the timeline and cost of a Revis deal. But that doesn’t mean a deal should take place this weekend or anytime within the next few weeks.
Outside of cap ramifications, there is a sentiment that Revis needs to be moved “now” before the rest of the NFL continues with their offseason plans, puts aside cap room to other needs and gobbles up the other corners on the open market to free-agent contracts.
Unfortunately, the narrative is flawed. If Revis was simply a good player, it would make plenty of sense. If he was a great player in decline, there would be merit to the argument. He’s neither of those, though. He’s an elite defensive player, the best cornerback in the game, and in my opinion, the best defender on the planet.
It’s hard to sit back and believe that the signings of Sean Smith, Chris Houston and Cary Williams are going to change the interest level in Revis. He’s on a different level than anyone else at that position and the league knows it.
Despite objections to the idea, a Revis exodus from New York feels imminent. Cap concerns moving forward are legitimate, but leverage and bringing back the proper haul must be as well. The notion that Idzik and the Jets’ brass must market Revis’ skills in comparison to an average group of free-agent cornerbacks is absurd. The market for him will be there tomorrow, before the draft, during training camp, and, as rare as midseason trades are in the NFL, during the season.
No matter the sport, no matter the player, no matter the price, there is always a market for the best.
The Peyton Manning sweepstakes last offseason should prove this to the Jets and their fan base. Despite missing a full season, undergoing four neck operations and having very limited throwing ability at the time of signing, the league threw itself at one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
Despite missing nearly a full season, being far from having completed rehabbing a torn-up knee and wanting a very lucrative contract, every defense in the league would love to add Revis.
If the Jets do move Revis, they must create a bidding war for their greatest asset. A trade has to be on their terms, not the terms of the fickle free-agent market. Anything less than that won’t maximize his value or bring back the greatest haul.
It’s likely that 2013 will be a tough year for the Jets. That’s why they can’t afford to suffer their first true loss this weekend by speeding up a Revis deal.
Do you think Idzik will jump the gun and trade Revis too quickly, or will he methodically wait it out and bring back a major haul? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below…