When the Jets cut ties with veterans Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones and Leon Washington this offseason, part of the explanation centered on their desire to take their money and use it to sign some of their young veterans to contract extensions.
Those extensions haven't come to fruition, but the wheels may be starting to get greasy thanks to Darrelle Revis's decision to skip Thursday's organized team activities.
The cornerback hasn't made any public statement about his desire for a new contract, but his absence from the voluntary minicamp spoke volumes.
Revis is due to make $1 million this season and while he has denied reports that he's looking for $20 million per year, he is likely looking to top the $15.2 million salary of Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha. Dan Graziano of FanHouse.com reports that Revis is considering sitting out mandatory minicamp and some of training camp if there's no movement on a new deal.
The Jets do have some leverage in this situation -- Revis is in the fourth year of a six-year deal he signed as a rookie -- but their behavior this offseason makes it hard to believe they'd try to exercise it. Every move they've made on defense has been predicated on having the Revis of last season locking down one half of the field and doing anything to screw with implementing their full defensive package is going to be met with catcalls from across a fan base that hasn't exactly flocked to buy up the team's remaining tickets.
Another reason why they'd be unwise to push their leverage is that this isn't the first time they've dealt with a disgruntled employee. Chris Baker, Laveranues Coles and Washington all left the team complaining about lowball offers and broken promises. Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports that Revis is singing a similar tune. The Jets can't get away with treating Revis the same way as those players and they'll lose a public relations battle on that front in a rout.
They'd lose a battle with Nick Mangold just as quickly. Mangold is either the best center in the NFL or one of the few guys in contention for the honor, just like Revis at cornerback, and missing him during crucial practices with Mark Sanchez would be counterproductive in the extreme. Mangold is going to practice but admitted that he and his agents rethink things along every step in the offseason process. He's got time pressure on his side, his deal is up after this season, but the pressure to keep Revis happy is just as great.
Throw in D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards, David Harris and Santonio Holmes and the Jets have cooked themselves up quite a salary cap stew over the next couple of years. Their attitude has been win now and pay later, either in dollars or by losing good players.
But it's starting to look like winning now might also require paying now when it comes to two of the team's best and unhappiest players -- and that calls for a change in plans.