PHOENIX – New York Jets owner Woody Johnson didn't expressly say that his team will trade cornerback Darrelle Revis, but he didn't exactly do much to quell the speculation.
"If we can make our team better, we would be open to a conversation," Johnson said at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel as the annual NFL spring meetings kicked off. "But we're not actively out there beating the bushes, because he's on the team and we expect him to be on the team. … We fully expect him to be up to the Revis Island that we've all known and loved."
The speculation, which has focused most recently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading for Revis, could take another few days to play out based on what some people involved in the situation believe.
"The Jets are doing their best to get as much as they can, but it's going to play itself out eventually," one source said. "What are you going to do? There aren't a lot of choices."
The choices for the Jets boil down to three options. They can sign Revis to a long-term deal, something Revis would like to do but the team has yet to discuss with him.
Or the Jets could trade Revis – most likely to a team willing to both pay the price in terms of draft picks (somewhere in the range of a first-, third- and seventh-round draft pick) and a contract extension (something likely in the range of $13-16 million per season).
Or the Jets could let Revis play out the contract for the final year of his deal and then let him walk as a free agent in 2014 after he likely opts out of his contract. In that case, the best the Jets are likely to get is a compensatory draft pick in 2015. That pick would likely be at the end of the third round (roughly the No. 97 overall pick).
Think about it logically and all signs point to a trade unless Johnson changes directions and wants to pay Revis. The problem is that the clock is ticking. If the deal for Revis isn't done sooner than later, there's a good chance the market for him could dry up. The Buccaneers, who are in need of a top cornerback, may eventually move on to sign a player like Brent Grimes or one of the other cornerbacks still on the market.
Moreover, Johnson sounded like a man who was far more concerned about the big picture of his team as it tries to recover from a 6-10 season that featured some embarrassing moments. Part of that was the poor play of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has led the NFL in turnovers the past two years as the Jets have regressed from a team that went to back-to-back AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010.
"I think you need to look at the entire [53-man roster]. To build a team, if you don't look at the whole 53, you're not going to make a good decision," Johnson said. "It starts with the quarterback. You got to get your quarterback going … and then you have to work on the 53. Everybody has to add something. It's not one player."
If you read that another way, the Jets have more needs than just a great cornerback. That might be debatable, particularly when you consider how good Revis is at that position. Still, if the Jets aren't willing to pay, this becomes a fait au complait.
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