Thoughts on the Revis Contract with the Buccaneers

According to Jenna Laine (and multiple other outlets) Darrelle Revis’ new contract with the Buccaneers will average $16 million a season with no guaranteed money. The contract appears to be a straight $16 million a year in cash contract.

The APY of the deal will match that of DE Mario Williams but will fall short of the yearly cash flows of the first two years of Williams’ DeMarcus Ware, and Terrell Suggs if the reports of the cap structure are true. The contract signals a very different approach between the negotiations between Revis and the New York Jets in the past and the current deal with the Buccaneers.

In 2010 the Jets and Revis entered into a very bitter renegotiation  when Revis held out following a historic 2009 season that put the cornerback on the map as something more than just a good player, but in the discussion of being a Hall of Fame level talent. Revis had some major sticking points in that contract which included a desire to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL and having firm guarantees in his contract. At the time he was looking to match the 3 year cash flows of Nnamdi Asomugha, then of the Raiders, who signed a contract that was completely out of the whack with the rest of the position and the league, and then translate that APY to a long term deal.

At one point during negotiations Revis’ business manager publically took to Twitter to mock a contract signed by D’Brickashaw Ferguson for containing injury only protection that would roll over to full guarantees if he made it to a certain date on the Jets roster. A comparison was deals signed by Master P, whose incentive laden deal for RB Ricky Williams was the subject of ridicule for many years by those inside the sport. The Jets were rumored to have offered Revis close to $100 million dollars over a very long period but Revis’ people fought back in the press on the basis that it contained no real guarantees to protect Revis.

Eventually the two sides settled on a contract in which Revis would match the 2 year payout the Raiders gave to Asomugha but not the three year total. The contract would be short term rather than long term but with 46% of the deal fully guaranteed and all but the $6 million payout in the fourth and final year of the deal “functionally guaranteed”.

Fast forward three years and Revis is agreeing to a contract with absolutely no guarantees in the contract, and seemingly not matching the cash flows of the biggest defensive players in the game during the meaningful years of the contract. It shows just how important that APY and distinction of being the highest paid defender was to him.

From the Buccaneers perspective this looks to be a very team friendly contract. They did not have to cave in on their standard no bonus structure and will take no dead money penalties if Revis is unhealthy and not worth the money. Compare that with the Jets who will now take a $12 million dollar dead money hit to watch Revis play as a Buccaneer. The high cash payments likely negate a Revis hold out, something he had done twice with the Jets and supposedly wanted to do last season as well, but was contractually blocked from doing so. At $16 million a year and with a stagnant salary cap and de-emphasizing of the position Revis likely has no avenue to ever make more money by holding out.

This will be the first defensive contract since the Asomugha contract to “break the system” in terms of positional valuation. At $16 million a year this represents a value that is around 64% higher than that of the 5th highest paid corner. It is unlikely that any player, especially one on defense, can have that kind of impact on a game to justify the high price tag. Of the other teams who “broke the system” and overslotted cap for specific players only the Vikings and Adrian Peterson made the playoffs last season. The other teams to overslot were the Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald), Titans (Chris Johnson), and Lions (Calvin Johnson). So Revis will get an opportunity to prove a league wrong about the valuations placed on certain positions.

If he fails to do so the Buccaneers won’t hesitate to let him go and it will likely be another GM making the call. The Buccaneers have geared up via free agency and trades to compete now for the playoffs. They have many pieces in place and this will put tremendous pressure on QB Josh Freeman, in a contract year, to up his level of play to match that of some of the star players they have put on the team.  If they fail these are the type of moves that see a front office completely turn over.

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  • Samson

    I loved Revis as a player but never ever as a person. You really need to do the research on the history, his uncle (His mother’s brother I believe? I know how close I was to both my mother’s brothers and how they looked out and treated me, and we were not famous nor rich) … Sean Gilbert was offered an extremely good contract that would have made him very rich and very prestigious in the league, BUT That was NOT GOOD ENOUGH, He wanted THE MOST and to be THE HIGHEST despite the fact he really was not The Best, he considered himself The Best and decided nothing but The Best/The Most/The Highest would suffice. He then refused all negotiations [his way or it, no wiggle room], sat out a year, AGAIN Refused negotiations, … He wound up getting traded, getting the hugest bestest contract he demanded, and never really did anything again , much LESS JUSTIFY any portion of the picks or salary he got. — AS SOON AS Dave Wannstedt told him, you should probably leave school and go to the draft, it’s in your best interest and you might not get the shot to become a big time draft pick and millionaire again, Gilbert had Revis’s ear and had him positioning himself as the best thing ever. He held out for the most ridiculous contract given to a rookie in years with the staging of salary, bonuses, and voidable years BUT THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH and three years later we had The Holdout of 2010. *** AND THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH *** so we had the situation both last year and this year… NOTHING BUT The highest paid player on Defense would be good enough for him, taking a dime less than first Nmadi Asomoghua or whatever and then anyone on defense would be “Disrespectful” as he would say- GIVE ME A BREAK. He really is GOOD, maybe GREAT, but has he really actually revolutionized football and become the BEST EVER AT HIS POSITION in SIX YEARS???? And was he deserving of the best ever AS A ROOKIE, then THREE YEARS in, FIVE YEARS IN, Etc.? WHEN Will it be enough for this guy? I hate to trade him nor any other great player but some point you have to understand Woody Johnson’s point of view, At what point is it enough? KEyshawn was one of my favorite Jets of all time, but I loved the trade after it happened … It immediately set us up for the present and future… the 2000 Draft literally gave us 4 5-year-plus starters… and who knows, Maybe something special happens @ #13 this year and we get Bark Mingo , and he averages 10 sacks a year for 10 years…. Then does it work out? Etc. I am sorry to say it but at this point Darrelle had to go.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.gamestrodamos Chris Gamestrodamos

    The Jets got hosed… 12 million cap hit? DANM!

  • matr dontelli iii

    the cornerback went from playing for a coach he loved and practicing at one of the league’s best facilities to playing for greg schiano in order to earn money he is not likely to ever spend. the jets are able to jumpstart their rebuilding process, rid themselves of a me-first diva and pick up a cornerback who tackles. if tampa doesn’t go far this year there will be only one winner in this trade.