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So here are a couple of fascinating questions for the New York Jets to consider: If the season goes awry because of the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, does owner Woody Johnson cut general manager Mike Tannenbaum and/or coach Rex Ryan a break?
And if Tannenbaum and Ryan get said mulligan, what does that mean for Revis' contract situation this coming offseason? In essence, Johnson would be saying that Revis is so important to the team that he saved the GM and the coach.
The answers to those questions are obviously going to play out over the coming months as both the Jets' season and Revis' recovery from a torn ACL unfold. But Jets fans should understand this about Revis, who will be entering the final year of his contract in 2013 and can't be franchised by the Jets: If he doesn't have a contract by the beginning of the 2013 season, I'm all but guaranteeing that will be his final season as a Jet.
As much as Jets fans may think that Revis owes New York something after his season-ending injury last Sunday, that's not going to register with him or his family, led by uncle and former NFL player Sean Gilbert. Gilbert is a man of strong principle. Like him or not, he believes very strongly in a player's rights and that it's the team that owes the player in a business transaction, not vice versa.
Moreover, despite how serious this injury is in the short-term, players come back from ACL surgery all the time. This year alone, Adrian Peterson is back (even though he was injured in late December), as are Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry (both hurt in September 2011).
Revis, who'll have a year to recover before the '13 campaign begins, didn't do any other structural damage to the knee (there was no cartilage, MCL, LCL, PCL or other damage) and the chances of him making it back fine are excellent. On top of that, the Jets will have a very good idea about his progress by the end of February or March, well in advance of next season.
Put it all together and you have tremendous pressure on the Jets to get a new deal done with Revis, particularly if the Jets don't make the playoffs and both Tannenbaum and Ryan survive.
If not, 2013 is likely to be Revis' swan song in New York. And if that happens, Tannenbaum and Ryan will really be on the hook.
L.A. COUNCIL FACES BIG VOTE
Politicians in Los Angeles have had a little more than a week to chew on the news about billionaire Phil Anschutz putting his company, AEG, up for sale. AEG has been pushing the downtown Los Angeles stadium proposal to help return the NFL to the city. The sale of the company is the latest twist in a story that has more turns than Mulholland Drive.
On Friday, the 15-member L.A. City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to approve an Environmental Impact Report on the stadium project. While approving the EIR, which will then go through a six-month legal challenge, does not legally lock the city into a deal with AEG, it certainly is a huge emotional connection.
Enough of one that residents of Los Angeles should be wondering exactly for whom do the council members work?
[Related: Surprise atop NFL power rankings]
That question should have been posed to L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week when he said that he had known for some time about the potential AEG sale but didn't share that information with members of the council. If Anschutz sells AEG, the city of Los Angeles is about to put itself in a very awkward negotiating position with any incoming owner of the entertainment conglomerate.
The city has already pledged $315 million in bonds to the stadium project, which will also serve as a much-needed update to the L.A. Convention Center, if everything comes together. However, it's easy to see that if someone such as billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong or the Guggenheim Group buys AEG, the financial situation is about to change.
AEG is estimated to be worth somewhere between $7 billion and $15 billion, depending on which analyst you believe. Whatever it's worth, Anschutz isn't selling for a bargain, which he telegraphed by hiring the Blackstone Group to handle the sale. L.A. folks should know that name well. Blackstone ran the sale of the Dodgers for former owner Frank McCourt, getting a record $2.1 billion for the baseball team.
Or as one source with knowledge of the situation said: "[Anschutz] hired them for one reason: To get every dollar possible."
Once someone or some entity purchases AEG, it will then be faced with more than $1 billion in cost to build the stadium and whatever other expense it takes to bring a team to L.A. (and that could mean actually buying a team).
In other words, this is one expensive project. It's also emotionally expensive. Don't think for a second that many L.A. citizens aren't going to be geeked up about bringing a team back to the city. That's a serious emotional investment that politicians understand.
In other words, politicians will have a hard time surviving if they promise a team and then fail to deliver. With that in mind, if the council takes the step to commit on Friday, what is it going to do if the next AEG owner comes back in nine months or a year and says he needs another $300 million or this won't happen?
"No question, that is going to happen at some point if this deal is ever going to happen," said another source with extensive knowledge of the L.A. situation. "At some point, if this is ever going to happen, the city is going to have to kick in more money and the politicians know that. This deal has only a small chance of happening."
In short, the council on Friday isn't just about an EIR. It's about a litmus test in understanding big business and the chess match that goes on. If the council is wise and isn't just a group of people looking for a cheap bit of positive publicity, it will table the EIR and wait to see who buys AEG.
That will keep the leverage in the hands of the politicians. At least for now.
Don't bet on that scenario.
1. Houston Texans (3-0): The win at Denver got a little dicey, but the first 3-0 start in team history is still impressive.
2. Atlanta Falcons (3-0): Falcons have a great shot to be 6-0 going into the bye week, but will have to keep scoring.
3. Arizona Cardinals (3-0): When you allow one TD per game, it makes life really easy on your suspect quarterback(s).
4. San Francisco 49ers (2-1): Despite the stumble in Minnesota, this is the best overall team in the NFC.
5. Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Transition to becoming an offensive juggernaut is going quite well.
28. Carolina Panthers (1-2): Dear Cam, pouting is not part of leadership. You have to get over this as soon as possible.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2): Nice win at New Orleans, but that may be more of a testimony about the Saints' D.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2): Sorry Jags fans, I'm not believing just yet after one miracle finish at Indy.
31. New Orleans Saints (0-3): Being winless is bad enough, but two home losses already are a huge blow to any playoff hopes.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3): Good for the Browns that they're not putting up with Greg Little's immaturity.
THIS AND THAT
• So after watching the NFL Referees Association get some important concessions from the NFL regarding overall pay (the average official will make $187,000 this year, up from $149,000 last year) and the pension plan (pensions won't be phased out for five years), you have to wonder if the NFL players will actually learn. You have to be willing to sacrifice games to get what you want from the owners. Think about that for the next time.
• Houston linebacker Brian Cushing has received high praise from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as the guy who gets the rest of the defensive players going. After the Texans extended quarterback Matt Schaub and offensive tackle Duane Brown following the start of training camp, Cushing figures he'll eventually be rewarded. "We've taken care of a lot of guys who were coming up by the end of the year, so I know my time will come," Cushing said.
With 27 catches and 277 yards through three games, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is on an early pace for a monster year and easily should surpass his career highs of 87 catches and 967 yards last season. With that in mind, look for the Vikings to try to lock him up to a long-term deal before the end of the season. If the Vikings don't get something done, expect the mercurial Harvin to be very difficult to deal with next offseason.
• To those people who think that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's use of an old hand signal was a sign of a divide between him and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, please think a little. It would be more of a problem if Haley refused to make the adjustment. That's called good coaching and adaptation to what your players do.
• Speaking of the Steelers, it looks like all the talk about them getting back to the running game hasn't taken hold. Through three games, the Steelers are averaging a paltry 65 yards per game. For all those Pittsburgh fans who ripped Rashard Mendenhall in the past, I bet you're begging for his return now.
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