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On Air: The Official Blog of WSJU Sports

As the first episode of this season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” came to a close Wednesday night, Jets fans were probably hoping for more than just a cameo from star cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The Gang Green Pro Bowler, who has held out of the first two weeks of training camp in pursuit of a new contract, was featured just once in the show’s season opener, reminding Jet fans that this may be just the tip of the iceberg in what could be long contract negotiations.

But what really IS the big hold-up in all of this? Revis, who has been praised by teammates, coaches, and media alike as the best corner in all of football, is looking for a significant raise on his rookie deal, which still has three years remaining on it. Critics argue that, if he really is the best in the game, why not pay him like it?

The problem with this seemingly simple concept lies, believe it or not, 3,000 miles away in Oakland, California.

This is the point where a football problem turns into simple economics. The Oakland Raiders, in all their desperation, signed star corner Nnamdi Asomugha to a deal that includes two years with $28.5 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid cornerback in NFL history.

Now this is not to say that Asomugha doesn’t deserve top tier money, but what Al Davis and the Raiders did was effectively inflate the market value of a shutdown corner.

It’s Economics 101.

Compared to other positions, a corner, no matter how good, probably isn’t worth $14 million a year, but, the Raiders have set the water mark and now every negotiation will work from that statute. Darrelle Revis and his agents now know that a team is willing to pay $14 million a year for a player similar in style, so he wants that money plus $2 and a bag of sunflower seeds.

But, in reality, two years of close to $30 million in guaranteed money is ludicrous. Especially with a looming lockout next season, almost no other team is willing to put that kind of offer on the table.

So what is there to do? Revis is within his right to hold out. The Jets are within their right not to pay him because he is already under contract. Owner Woody Johnson has already acknowledged his doubts about Revis returning to the field for the 2010 season and the rest of the Jets organization is sticking to the basic rhetoric that, “if he’s here, great, if he’s not, we have the same goal…win a Super Bowl.”

This is what it boils down to: Revis wants his money. The Jets are in no place to offer his the deal he wants, so there is very little light at the end of the tunnel. The two sides have publicly agreed to take discussions behind closed doors, so the next we will hear would probably be an agreement of some sort. But, only time, and some creative bargaining, will tell when that can happen.

Dan Martin



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