With no end in sight to the Darrelle Revis holdout — indeed, it would be a shock if Revis caves in the face of the August 10 deadline for preserving a year of service toward free agency — the ultimate leverage for one side or the other will come after several games that count have been played.
If the Jets, who arguably have the highest expectations of any team in NFL history, fall into an early hole after playing the like of the Ravens, Patriots, and Dolphins to start the season, significant pressure will arise to get Revis into the fold. Conversely, if they start strong, the Jets will have no reason to cave.
Think back to the 1993 Cowboys. Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s holdout stretched into the regular season. Ultimately, he skipped the first two games: a Monday nighter in D.C. against the Redskins and the home opener against the Bills, whom the Cowboys had beaten earlier that year in the Super Bowl. Dallas lost both games, Emmitt got what he wanted, and the Cowboys became the first team to climb out of an 0-2 hole and win the Super Bowl.
If, of course, the Jets start fast, they’ll have no pressure to get Revis signed. In 1997, the Redskins raced to a 3-1 record, allowing them to harden their stance against defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, who ultimately sat out the entire year.
Meanwhile, Gilbert’s connection to Revis finally is getting more attention. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News takes a close look at Gilbert’s role in his nephew’s strategy.
And the most important quote comes from former Redskins G.M. Charley Casserly: “In Sean Gilbert’s case, he actually made more money by holding out for the season.”
So it’s time, we believe, to seriously consider the possibility that Revis will miss all of 2010. Whether he does depends in large part on what the Jets can do without him in September.