Fan Op/Ed: Responding to the Peter King Article on Revis & the Bucs

Reader Joe B. asked if he could send a rebuttal to a Peter King report that came out today about the Darrelle Revis trade rumors.

The report, titled “Revis trade talks between Jets, Bucs in a fragile state” explains that Tampa Bay and the Jets are in a stalemate over the possible trade of Revis. Enjoy.

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One of the major storylines of this season’s free agency period has been the potential trade of New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. On the day the Jets named John Idzik their new General Manager, rumors swirled of the team seeking to move their best player.

Revis is entering the final year of his contract and is seeking to be one of the highest paid players in the league. The Jets and Revis have had a contentious history of contract disputes, dating back to his rookie season and a lengthy holdout leading up to the 2009 season.  The Jets cannot franchise Revis in 2014 and the relationship between Jets owner and Revis’s agents is presumed to be frosty.

Daily reports have spotted the 2013 free agency period with potential Revis destinations and trade discussions. Peter King of Sports Illustrated has thrown his opinion into the morass with his latest article. His article makes too many assumptions to be declared anything close to objective, even if it is only his opinion.

According to King the Jets

… have apparently been stuck on acquiring the Bucs’ first-round pick this year, as well as an additional choice, which would likely come in next year’s draft. That would give New York the ninth and 13th picks overall this year.

King does not think the Jets best course of action is to acquire Tampa’s first round pick this season but rather aim for the Buccaneers’ first and second round picks in 2014.

With the likelihood that this is Rex Ryan’s final season as head coach, and the certainty that New York will try one last time to make Mark Sanchez work at quarterback this year, it doesn’t make much sense to draft a quarterback in the first round. What happens if the Jets pick, say, USC quarterback Matt Barkley, and the new coach next year — if there is one — isn’t a Barkley guy?

That is a pretty bleak picture that contains three assumptions. First the head coach is certain to be fired.

Rex Ryan is widely believed to be in the final year of his contract, so on the surface it would appear he could be a lame duck. However, as Dan Leberfield pointed out earlier today, he actually has two years left on his deal.

A counter-argument could be made that Ryan’s teams have achieved success in spite of lesser talent. No one will confuse the 2013 Jets with the 2012 San Francisco 49ers, but the Jets are not entirely devoid of talent.  The Jets have promising young players such as Quinton Coples, Muhammed Wilkerson and strong core players such as Antonio Cromartie, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.  The last two seasons have ended in disappointment yet the Jets were still in the playoff race by the last quarter of each season under the leadership of Ryan.  It can be argued that with a few more talented players the Jets can be in the playoff race again in 2013. While Idzik inherited Ryan and would likely prefer to hire a coach of his choosing, if the Jets were to make the playoffs in 2013, Ryan would be hard to fire.

Next, King insists the Jets will find a way to make Mark Sanchez the quarterback this season.  In doing so he ignores statements from Ryan and Idzik that the quarterback spot is a “wide-open” competition that includes the recently signed David Garrard, a potential signing of free agent Kevin Kolb or a likely draft pick; a point he conveniently mentions in the final part of his myopic picture.

Let’s assume that the Jets do draft a quarterback this season, it won’t be in the first round, as King has pointed out. If Ryan were to be fired after the season, a potential head coaching candidate would likely not be dissuaded from the position because of a quarterback taken after round one. Furthermore, the Jets would likely not be married to a quarterback outside of the first round (certainly not financially) and force said player as a starter on any potential coaches.

King continues that the picks would be better collected for the quarterback class of the 2014 NFL draft that could include potential top prospects such as Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel. What he and many others fail to acknowledge is that both prospects are underclassmen and do not have to declare for the draft next season. In addition, Tampa Bay’s Achilles heel in 2012 was its pass defense. With the addition of Revis and recently signed safety Dashon Goldson the Buccaneers certainly have the talent to make a deep playoff run. The picks that the Jets would acquire will likely be in the 25-29 range, not exactly the best ammunition to make a move for a top quarterback that may not be available.

Finally, despite the friction between ownership and player there is no reason the Jets could not end up re-signing Revis. The Jets may not be among the teams with the most cap space but with a few creative contract restructures from players like Nick Mangold and David Harris, as well as Mark Sanchez’s contract likely coming off the books in 2014, the Jets could certainly fit Revis under the cap at $12-13 million per year and have enough room to fill out the rest of the roster. While re-signing Revis is probably the least likely scenario it is not impossible.

Peter King continues to fuel the “worst-case scenario mentality” among media analysts that has recently been following the New York Jets franchise.  The Jets need to add talent now, yet King argues they should suffer through a bad season for potential gain that may or may not exist in next season’s draft. He perpetuates misconceptions, ignores realities and speculates to ideas merely designed to incite anger and furor among the fan base.




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