The Core Four
Much has been speculated about whether or not the Jets will be able to afford to keep their own players in the future. They've drawn comparisons to the Redskins of the 90's (which is highly debatable to say the least...); saying they put newly acquired players before their own team. And yes, they have made several big moves this off-season that could potentially tick off players looking to renew contracts, that is, if the players acquired weren't all just signed for one year. Players like Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, David Harris, and D'Brickashaw Ferguson are all nearing the end of their rookie contracts and are looking for deals. Many are wondering how the Jets will manage this, but here's why Revis and the others won't be going anywhere.
Revis is currently holding out during the Jets' OTA's and, while having three years left on his current contract, is looking to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL; meaning the Jets will have to pay over $15 million a year in order to lockup the lockdown corner.
"I think that is fair," Revis told ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk on May 21. "This is nothing behind closed doors [like] I am fighting against the Jets and they are fighting against me. I have talked to Coach [Rex] Ryan and [general manager Mike] Tannenbaum himself and they believe I should be the highest-paid player at my position. They understand that and I understand that. It is something that is going to get done. The Jets are family to me."
I think most would agree and would even side with Revis, despite the high dollar amount. If you play like the best, why not get paid like the best? The Jets and owner Woody Johnson have plenty of money around to take care of the Jets' version of the Core Four (Revis, D'Brick, Mangold, and Harris), however that won't matter if a salary cap is re-established during the Collective Bargaining Agreement meetings; this would be the one potential problem for the Jets' future. (I would also like to take this opportunity to clear up the PSL issue as PSL sales have nothing to do with the money the Jets will be able to spend on players, despite what Mike Florio says.)
According to a league source familiar with the team's thinking, the Jets have gathered and saved enough money to pay the Core Four. There were initially many concerns and complaints regarding the release of players like Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca. These moves now seem to have had a financial motif in addition to their age. They saved several million in total from cutting the two and letting others, like Jay Feely, go.
The Jets' front office understood the salary situation as well as the current CBA situation well, so Jets Nation needn't worry about re-signing their current players. The issue is no longer if, but when, and how much. Darrelle Revis is priority number one for the Jets, with Mangold following, already hinting at a holdout also. It remains unclear when deals will be done, and Revis' current status is that both sides are "far apart", but an eye-popping deal is inevitable for the shutdown corner. Mangold will most likely become the highest pasid center, and Harris and Ferguson will be paid a top ten salary for their respective positions
There is no concern over whether or not current players will be treated differently from newly acquired ones. New additions include Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, Nick Folk, Lance Laury, and Brodney Pool. Everyone of those players have something in common: they all have only one year left on their contract with the exception of LT, who has two years left, and JT, who has an option that probably won't be picked up. With essentially one-year contracts for these players, deals will be have to be made for them, but after this upcoming season. If anything, these new additions show that the Jets feel their original players are more important to them than the others.
The Jets have it all worked out and have a plan to keep the key parts of the team. After that, all other players will have to work for and wait for a new contract after the 2010-2011 season. Revis will be the first to sign and it should be by the time mandatory workouts are held. Right now, the talks for a new contract aren't going very well, but I think that will end soon. My forecast for Revis Island: cloudy in the beginning, then turning into sunshine around mid-late June, and finally, sometime around late June, it will rain, dollar bills that is. Revis will become the highest paid cornerback once he gets his deal. Mangold, Harris, and D'Brick will have a much quicker process when it comes to contract negotiations.
Rich Cimini wrote a great article about the Jets' current contract and budget situation, which can be found on ESPNNewYork.com, or you can click here.
The sooner the Jets get these four signed, the sooner every Jet fan can feel at ease. Personally, I feel they can sign all four, and I know it's a new ownership and philosophy, but the Pete Kendall fiasco wasn't all that long ago...