I’ve been fascinated by the recently conflicting reports regarding whether (or not) the Jets and cornerback Darrelle Revis are closing in on a new deal, which would end a 23-days-and-counting holdout.
Here’s a brief summary of the key events to date.
1. Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News and ESPN reports via Twitter that a deal will be done this week, “probably Wednesday.”
2. Reporters mobilize to confirm or debunk Cowlishaw’s report.
3. Multiple media types, including Jets beat writers and national information folks, report unequivocally that a deal isn’t close.
4. Some Internet hack with no credibility and no sources somehow pulls off the blind squirrel/acorn trick, reporting that it’s center Nick Mangold, not Revis, who is close to getting a deal. Other reporters thereafter confirm this development.
5. Cowlishaw stands by and reiterates his Revis report.
6. Time passes.
7. Mangold signs a new contract with the Jets.
8. Cowlishaw reports that the two sides will meet on Tuesday night. Dan Graziano of FanHouse.com confirms it, and he also reports that a deal is close.
9. The blind squirrel, still feasting on slow-roasted acorn, reports that Cowlishaw and Graziano’s reports are incorrect. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and John Clayton and Bob Glauber of Newsday separately concur, along with Adam Schein and Adam Schefter. (Specifically as to Mort, he has said that the Jets claim the reports are incorrect.)
So how can this be? How can Cowlishaw and Graziano be reporting that a deal is close when so many others report that nothing is happening?
We see four possible explanations.
First, Cowlishaw and Graziano — or, more accurately, their sources — are wrong or lying.
Second, the various other reporters — or, more accurately, their sources — are wrong or lying.
Though some may be tempted to cram the outcome into one of these two categories, we think that it could be more complicated than that. Keep in mind that a deal can be done with no further negotiation between the two sides. Each party has a proposal on the table.
So, third, it’s possible that the Revis camp secretly plans to cave on or about Wednesday, and to accept the last offer from the Jets. (In this regard, it’s also possible that Revis will hire new agents before caving; however, that would delay the process by at least five days, given the rules of the NFLPA that apply to changing representation.)
Fourth, it’s possible that the Jets secretly plan to cave on our about Wednesday, and to accept the last offer Revis put on the table. More specifically, it’s possible that owner Woody Johnson has decided that he’ll be paying Revis what he wants, that G.M. Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t know it yet, and that Johnson plans to tell Tannenbaum on or about Wednesday to get the deal done, possibly after first trying to negotiate Revis down a bit.
We’re intrigued by the fourth possibility. This would mean that Cowlishaw and Graziano have sources with knowledge of Johnson’s plan — and that all of the other reporters are harvesting the contrary reports from folks who have no idea that Johnson is close to resolving the situation once and for all by ordering Tannenbaum to get it done.
That said, the fourth possibility doesn’t fit cleanly with the Cowlishaw and Graziano reports, unless tonight’s meeting isn’t between Tannenbaum and Revis’ agents but between Johnson and Tannenbaum. Also, Graziano’s report that the deal is “very close” implies that there has been significant negotiation and movement, which is a far cry from one side or the other caving.
Either way, it’s one of the strangest stories we’ve encountered in more than 10 years in an often strange business. And if it ends up that the situation is resolved before the clock strikes 12 on Wednesday night, we’re confident that the truth will be that either Revis or Johnson abruptly told the people who work for them to let it be written, and to let it be done.