One of Game’s Most Certain Players in Line for Game’s Most Certain Contract
Securing the Darrelle Revis deal has presented Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots with one of their most intricate negotiations to date.
Over the past 15 years, the Patriots have demonstrated unparalleled proficiency in assessing player value, propelling them to six Super Bowl appearances since 2000, resulting in four championship victories.
In this cap-based system, understanding the intrinsic value of a player is paramount.
Contrary to popular belief, a player’s worth is not determined by an abstract “market.”
Instead, it has a defined limit. Manipulating player value within the confines of the salary cap is a non-negotiable aspect of sustaining success, particularly in high-stakes deals.
However, this tried-and-true Patriots philosophy faces its ultimate challenge.
Negotiating with one of the league’s most invaluable players, and for once, it’s not Tom Brady.
The solution, in my opinion, is remarkably straightforward for both parties: strip away the complexities.
Forge a deal that defies the conventions of a typical NFL agreement.
Remove conditional clauses, offset language, and escape routes lurking in every corner.
Leave out half-baked contract clauses that resemble birthday presents.
A real contract, for f#%@’s sake.
Just as I outlined in the Devin McCourty agreement, it’s imperative that guarantees take center stage in negotiations involving Darrelle Revis, whether with the Patriots or the New York Jets.
Drawing from my experience with both teams, the more concrete football assurances you offer during their close evaluation, the more likely they are to reciprocate with contractual certainties.
In 2014, Revis demonstrated an unparalleled level of on-field assurance.
Revis maintains an unwavering consistency in his performance, day in and day out, particularly in a position that relies least on external factors in football.
Thankfully for New England, they offer the closest approximation to a football guarantee in the NFL: a track record of consistent winning.
The Patriots stand as the best bet in the league never to have to contemplate packing up for home come December.
From the Patriots Side of the Table
The Patriots should recognize that Revis’ representatives are armed with essentially the same data as they are.
The provided table doesn’t dwell on the “total contract value” of top cornerbacks – this conversation should be focused on concrete realities, not speculative scenarios.
Both parties are aware that total contract value in the NFL often holds as much weight as a fantastical notion.
Neither side should introduce total value into the discussion unless it’s grounded in tangible reality.
The prevailing norm for this position seems to be guaranteeing up to 70% of the total contract value.
While this figure may sound substantial, it still leaves 30% of the contract vulnerable without guarantees.
Considering the parties involved, why settle for anything less than complete certainty?
Peterson’s $47 million in guarantees is notable due to the extended duration of his seven-year deal.
It’s highly improbable that he’ll see out the full term without adjustments or a potential release.
Therefore, this contract’s particulars shouldn’t heavily influence the Patriots’ perspective on Revis.
An argument can be made that the apparent high standard of a $14 million annual salary, as exemplified by players like Peterson and Sherman, might actually be lower in the absence of unlikely years.
This, potentially, could be the contract concession on the Patriots’ part.
They could concede that $14 million is the top-of-market rate (even if it likely isn’t) in return for not resetting the market but merely reaching it.
A proposed deal could be three years at $42 million, fully guaranteed at one hundred percent.
From Revis’ Side of the Table
In truly successful negotiations, both parties should depart content.
For Revis, securing a “win” with increased annual values doesn’t truly benefit him if those figures reach a level that could lead to his release midway through the deal.
This encapsulates the dilemma of negotiating in today’s NFL.
Unless, of course, those forthcoming years come with guaranteed assurances.
As for the breakdown between the signing bonus and base salary in this deal, that’s a determination to be made by the respective cap personnel for either the Patriots or Jets.
However, for Revis, any deferred payment should stand on its own merit. It must be a genuine form of guarantee, or there’s no deal.
Including a fourth or fifth year for a cornerback entering the deal at 30 years old is inherently speculative, and any such extension is likely to be offered on a non-guaranteed basis. It’s advisable to discount this possibility.
Noteworthy predecessors like Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson continued to excel beyond the age of 32, which is the point at which Revis would conclude this deal.
Hence, there’s no immediate need to assume a decline in his value.
If it lacks a guarantee, then it shouldn’t factor into the discussion.
For the Jets to entice Revis back to New Jersey, it appears they’d have to present substantially higher rates and a greater number of fully guaranteed years – effectively surpassing the Patriots’ offer by a considerable margin.
In such a scenario, Revis would face a challenging decision. However, at this point, all parties will have put forth their best efforts and made the most appropriate moves.
There’s no need for grandiose promises. The true victor is the one who remains grounded and authentic…