I promise that this will be the last Revis posting for awhile, but Ive gotten so many questions and comments, mainly from my fellow Jets fans, about how he is going to hold out again that I just wanted to discuss what I think will actually happen assuming he is perfectly healthy.
The first question you have to ask yourself is what does Revis really have to gain by holding out? His cash flows each year are $16 million. That is an extremely high amount of money to chance losing, especially in this market. Even without his injury the potential teams that were going to be interested in Revis at that cost were few. With defensive contracts trending downward as a whole there is really no avenue for Revis to get a raise. He would have to do something other worldly for the Bucs to even consider a raise. He will likely never have a year as good as he did in 2009 again and that was the best a corner has ever played in the history of the game. He would need to be even better to justify approaching for a raise.
Others have mentioned that he knows he wont get a raise but will hold out for more guaranteed money. Again I would think there is a slim chance to this. A player of Revis’ stature, if healthy, is most likely not going to get cut, so he already has his guarantee. Holding out risks your offseason bonuses, which are worth $3 million and also gets the player a terrible reputation.
From a marketing perspective Revis is trying to make himself into a brand that makes money beyond the field itself. For better or for worse Revis has been able to spin his tenure with the Jets as Revis being in the right and the Jets being in the wrong. Whether it be that they refused to give him the years most get as a rookie or that they refused to pay him for playing well, the holdouts were always spun to be the Jets fault. Last year he convinced most of the media that the Jets really just gave him a band-aid contract and were going back on their word when they forced him to play on that contract. On his way out the door he made sure to make it known that he wanted to be a Jet, would have taken the same deal, but the Jets were too cheap and didn’t even want him to stay.
Now that Revis Island has a new home the same techniques won’t work. At some point people begin to look at the player if the same thing occurs with two franchises. Though a different type of situation this was similar to Terrell Owens stay in multiple cities. Once it was the team but by the time he is doing sit ups in his driveway everyone pretty much turned the other way when it came to discussing him. Owens was able to punch his ticket to Dallas but if Revis Island cant relocate a third time it makes it impossible to win back those fans.
Now that doesn’t mean Revis won’t try to get more guaranteed money it just wont come in the form of a holdout. The NFL is all about precedence. You look at other players to come up with pricing points on a player. You look at how a team likes to structure deals to understand the way you need to work with that team. Remember in Jerry Maguire when Jerry signs the number 1 pick but his father says they don’t do signed deals but instead just shake hands? Jerry (much to his dismay) shakes his hand because he needed to play ball on his field. The same holds true when you approach Tampa to negotiate. You don’t ask for bonus money. You simply begin on a yearly cash basis.
But the Buccaneers did tip their hand last year when they restructured the contracts of Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson at the end of the 2012 season. Neither player had bonus money in their original contracts but both players received large bonuses in which their 2013 salary was almost all converted to a prorated bonus in order for the Buccaneers to create huge cap room to go out and have a big offseason acquiring Revis and Dashon Goldson.
My guess is what will happen is that Revis’ agents will approach the team in December (and remember Revis’ agents are the same ones who represent Jackson), point out that their client is healthy and how Revis understands he takes up a large cap percentage next year but wants to help the team win in the offseason as well. Ideally it would be great if at the time the Bucs were a 7-5 or 8-6 type team. A team that looks decent enough to get in the playoffs but not good enough to where you think you can just stick with the team the way it is in 2014. Its possible that they could wait until the new year as well if the team looks like a playoff team.
They will attempt to convince the Buccaneers to reduce Revis’ base salary from $13 million to $855,000 and prorate the difference at a charge of $2.429 million a year. Such a move would reduce Revis’ cap from $16 million in 2014 to $6.284 million. If done in December the Bucs would also lose $2.429 million in 2013 carry over, making the net gain $7.287 million in cap space. That money would be enough to sign a pass rusher or a Mike Vick type QB in the event Josh Freeman can’t get the job done.
That $7.287 million in cap savings would become the dead money charge for Revis in 2015 giving him some added layer of protection towards reaching the real milestone of seeing the third year of the contract. Its very close to the same level of dead money that Jackson and Nicks now have in the third years of their contracts, making the format likely acceptable to the Buccaneers front office since its simply following the path through a door that they already opened. Who knows maybe the two sides have even discussed the possibility of this since it was done so recently for others, but if the Bucs say no there might be some grumbling behind closed doors but it wont amount to anything more than that.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.