In December, the New York Daily News reported that the Jets will try to trade quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets responded by putting out the word that the Jets will simply explore their options with Sanchez.
Now, multiple reports have emerged that the Jets will try to trade cornerback Darrelle Revis. And, to complete the circle, the Jets apparently have responded by putting out the word to the New York Daily News that the Jets will simply explore their options with Revis.
It’s likely not a coincidence. Leaking an intention to trade the player helps get the attention of potential suitors. Subsequently leaking an intention to explore options provides the Jets with some leverage in trade talks — and also with a plausible path to avoid having a problem with the player, if he’s not traded.
With Revis, there’s another angle. His contract will evaporate after the 2013 season, which means that the Jets quickly need to decide what to do with Revis. His agents drove a hard bargain in 2010 with an extended holdout, and there were fears Revis was planning another holdout in 2012. Trading Revis becomes the nuclear option for the Jets, if they decide they just can’t work out a new deal with Revis.
Still, trading him won’t be easy, especially before anyone knows how Revis will perform with a new ACL in his knee. Conditional picks for the Jets and conditional payments for Revis would be critical aspects of a trade, if a trade can be pulled off.
In the end, Revis holds the cards. He’s one season away from free agency, via a contract that prohibits the application of the franchise tag or the transition tender next year. The Jets won’t get full value for Revis if his next team has no rights to the player beyond 2013.
And so if Revis simply refuses to negotiate a new contract with the Jets or anyone else, opting instead to prove that he’s still the best defensive back in the game before hitting the open market, the Jets can try to trade him — but they won’t get much.