Darrelle Revis trade rumors: Jets shopping cornerback

Rob Carr

The Jets are trying to unload the Pro Bowl cornerback. But what are they looking for in return?

The Darrelle Revis Trade Saga is the biggest circus in New York since Tim Tebow came to town.

Daily trade rumors. Reports of agents being snubbed. The only thing missing is a dedicated ticker slot that reads, "Revis Rumors 2013."

So what's the deal? Why are the New York Jets shopping the best cornerback in football at the NFL Combine, according to the New York Daily News? Let's break it down from start to (potential) finish.

The Situation

Revis, 27, tore his ACL in the second game of the season last year. It required season-ending surgery. In less than two games, Revis recorded 11 tackles, three pass deflections and an interception.

But his season was immediately over. Doubt was immediately cast.

Can Revis come back from a torn ACL and still be the same shutdown corner? Adrian Peterson returned in 2012 from a torn ACL and looked like a bionic man. He almost set the single-season rushing record. He made it look easy. But it's not that easy. It shouldn't be that easy. Fans can point to Peterson and say Revis can do the same thing, but you'd be kidding yourself if you actually expected that.

Then there's this: Revis is on the final year of his contract. He is on the books for $9 million this season. Indications are he'll want to be the highest-paid defensive player in the league -- whether he successfully comes back from ACL surgery or not.

Now you're caught up to speed.

Why Deal Revis?

Darrelle Revis is, arguably, the league's best cornerback. Darrelle Revis is also going to be really expensive to sign to a long-term deal.

Whether or not Revis is himself in 2013, he will demand top dollar because of his track record. When you have an island named after you, you can make high demands.

But the Jets are in no position to offer contracts worth $16 million per year. The Jets are a bad football team. They went 6-10 last year, and even that was probably an over-achievement. Bad football teams can't justify paying contracts like that in today's salary cap world -- even if that player is the best cornerback in football.

SB Nation's Gang Green Nation expects Revis will be traded, because that sort of thing has been the typical for the Jets lately:

All signs point to the Jets trading Revis for 20 cents on the dollar. All signs also point to the Jets being a bad team for a long time. These past few years they have been doing everything bad franchises do from giving out bloated contracts to now possibly letting elite talent get away.

The Jets could use $16 million a year much more wisely. They could buy three or four starters on the defense with $16 million a year. It just does not make sense to tie all that money into one player.

Why Not Deal Revis?

Maybe the above should read: "Why can't the Jets deal Revis?"

There are more pros than cons to trading Revis. Saving money, obviously, is the biggest pro. But what is stopping the Jets from trading Revis is that whole torn ACL thing. Trading a player fresh off of surgery -- and one who hasn't hit the field in what will be almost a year -- is a tough proposition.

Despite five really good -- no, great -- NFL seasons, a torn ACL can turn any team off of any player. No one knows if Revis will be Revis when he hits the field in 2013. So why trade a first-round pick -- or anything -- for unknown production?

Teams also don't know if they'll have Revis for just one year or more. Remember, whoever trades for Revis will get the first crack at giving him a huge contract. But if Revis and his agent don't hear the right dollar figure, he could just flea. One and done. That's a lot of cost (first round pick? multiple picks?) for what is hopefully one really good season. But it very well could be just one mediocre season.

If the Jets change their minds on Revis, it would have to be for two reasons: 1) They know he's going to return to excellence in 2013 and beyond, and 2) They aren't gashed across the knee with a crowbar and actually get a hometown discount from Revis. Both aren't far-fetched, but both would have to happen for the Jets to keep Revis after 2013.

No matter what happens, a trade scenario could happen at 4 pm on March 12, the first day teams can start making deals, or it could happen in October. No one knows. Although the Jets would like to get some additional draft picks for April, they can afford to wait to see how good Revis is once he hits the field. If he returns to form, the Jets have more leverage. If he doesn't, the Jets might be able to negotiate a cheaper deal.

Possible Compensation

Here's the tricky part: What exactly is Revis worth?

Some think Revis is worth the Kansas City Chiefs' No. 1 overall selection in April's draft. And since the Chiefs are reportedly shopping that pick around, it could make sense for the Jets.

But is that what's best for the Jets?

The 2013 NFL Draft is not chock full of future superstars. There is no Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or even Russell Wilson. But the draft does have a lot of depth. If the Jets want to trade Revis for a pick in the draft, they should aim to get multiple lower-round picks so they can improve more than one position.

A No. 1 overall pick won't do much for the Jets unless they know they are getting a superstar with it. But what about a second-rounder, third-rounder and a fourth for Revis? Teams might be willing to part with this package more than a first-round pick. This also helps the Jets -- as long as they draft well -- to build a team, not build around a player.

I'm tempted to say, for once, quantity beats quality in this case. But the argument can be made that the quality difference between a first-round pick and a third-round pick isn't great. Depth can be had in this draft -- it's just a matter of having the picks to do so.

More in the NFL:

NFL Mock Draft: We have a new No. 1

Free agency: Every NFL city is awful

Monday's NFL Combine winners and losers

Spencer Hall: Combine notes from a college football fan

Tom Brady's new deal includes $30 million signing bonus

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