It's getting harder and harder to reconcile the two sides of the New York Jets.
On one hand, they speak loudly about how good they plan to be this season and how they plan to wind up in the Super Bowl. They make bold trades and sign well known free agents to create a roster long on talent and experience, a willingness to take risks that plays into their overall swagger as a team on the rise. And they are so confident (or, depending on your point of view, desperate for stardom) that it will all work out that they've invited HBO to training camp so they can document everything that happens.
And then there's the other hand, the one that hasn't been fully extended to Darrelle Revis. The cornerback didn't show up for the first day of training camp on Sunday, a predictable move in the offseason storyline that will do more to determine the success of this Jets team than any of the players that joined or left the team this offseason. It's the latest episode in a long thread that continually has the Jets looking like they are willing to make any move up to but not including taking care of their own players.
Making matters worse right now is the fact that the Jets found a way to extend the contracts of Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum while Revis burned in the shadows. Obviously the budgets for players and front office staff are different, but the message is a terrible one to send at this moment. The Jets went out of their way to make Revis the centerpiece of their entire team last season. He became the face of the franchise, they openly discussed locking up his contract and then they turned around and treated him like just another cog in the wheel.
Revis is making it clear that he's more than that. Complain that he's not honoring his contract, if you like, but his only reason to play for $1 million this season is to guarantee $20 million in the next two seasons. If he gets seriously hurt, he's not seeing that money and understandably wants a little more committment from the Jets. Allegations and implications have and will continue to be thrown back and forth by both sides but what's clear is that the Jets haven't backed up their words with their wallet.
That's not acceptable nor are the Jets' excuses about the travails of working in an uncapped year or building a contract for an uncertain labor future. It simply calls for taking the same risks and rolling the same dice that they did when they traded for Braylon Edwards, signed LaDainian Tomlinson or ditched well-liked veterans.
This could end at any point but it won't be because Revis caves. His uncle is Sean Gilbert, who once sat out an entire season in a contract flap during his career as a Pro Bowl defensive lineman. That's a doomsday scenario, one we hopefully avoid with a contract that has Revis in camp and getting ready for the season sooner rather than later. If not, the truly unthinkable will happen.
The Jets will have found a way to end a promising season even quicker than Vinny Testaverde's Achilles tear did in 1999.