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Some Perspective on Revis’s Contract

J.I. Hassel, Football Outsiders salary cap guru, weighed in the Darrelle Revis contract situation by discussing the unusual deal Revis signed as a rookie.

Before we discuss a possible contract for Revis, it should be noted that, if the Asomugha extension raised a few eyebrows, then Revis’ rookie contract did the same. As the No. 14 overall pick in the 2007 draft, Revis received a contract in which the guaranteed money could escalate from nearly $10.5 million up to $22.5 million, and even as much as $26.5 million. To put $26.5 million guaranteed in perspective, Redskins safety LaRon Landry, the No. 6 overall pick that year, received $17.5 million guaranteed. The No. 3 overall pick, tackle Joe Thomas of the Browns, received $23 million guaranteed.

Revis’ rookie deal was structured in a way that practically made it a four-year deal with the Jets having the ability to buy years five and six at a price tag of $15.7 million guaranteed. Due to Revis reaching a playtime threshold of his rookie deal, he will be eligible to pay back the $1.3 million that was advanced to him and void the fifth and sixth years of his contract starting the day after the 2010 Super Bowl. The Jets reserve the right to buy back those years by paying a $100 buyback bonus and guaranteeing Revis’ 2011 and 2012 salaries at $15.7 million, with another $4 million of possible salary escalation in 2012 based on Revis’ performance. Another interesting aspect of this structure is that, in the event of Revis voiding the final two years, the Jets are prevented from franchising Revis instead of buying back 2011 and 2012.

This contract is by far one of the most unique rookie contracts in the past few years. Under this deal, Revis is scheduled to make $550,000 in 2010, and assuming a Jets buyback, Revis would make a fully guaranteed $4.85 million in 2011. In 2009, Revis was paid a $5.6 million roster bonus in addition to $560,000 in base salary and workout bonus. Revis didn’t exactly make peanuts in 2009, and the 30 percent rule threshold calculation isn’t prohibitive of a new deal.

As we enter 2010, and the Jets and Revis look to do a deal, it’s not absurd to envision Revis getting Asomugha-type money. People get hung up on Asomugha’s $15 million average per year. While average per year is an important metric, so is the three-year total, and Revis’ three-year total will more than likely equal Asomugha’s. Non-quarterbacks with three-year totals in excess of $40 million include Asomugha ($45.5 million), Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware ($45 million), Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs ($43.4 million), Chicago’s Julius Peppers ($42.3 million), and Washington’s Albert Haynesworth ($41 million). All of these deals have been signed in the past few years and represent the three-year total market for elite defenders. Moreover, all of these defenders received guarantees equal to or greater than $40 million. So, while Revis may not equal Asomugha’s per-year average, Revis should be handsomely compensated similarly by making more than $45 million in the first three years of his new deal.

Essentially what Hassel is saying is that Revis could earn just as much or slightly more than Asomugha over the first three years of his contract, but the yearly average would be less than $15.2 million Asomugha makes annually. It would be more around the are of $12-14 million.

That sounds like a fair compromise that I think both sides could agree too.

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