When we published an article on Darrelle Revis' history of holdouts a few days ago, we concluded that the star cornerback's history of holdouts wouldn't be an issue in Tampa. After all, the Buccaneers could simply build in anti-hold out language into the contract. That's because we looked at a traditional contract structure.
The Bucs gave Revis a very, very rich contract. At $16 million per year he has nothing to complain about. But there's no holdout protection in that contract, either, as it's mostly just a series of one-year, $16 million team options. the Bucs get to decide whether they want to keep Revis every season. And Revis gets to decide whether he wants to play at that level of compensation every season, too.
Some people think that's a problem. Pro Football Talk does. And so does Alfie Crow over at the mothership.
The real problem that could arise with the contract situation is that Revis can once again pull a holdout after a season or two and demand more money, especially if he gets back to form.
With the way Revis' contract is structured, he kind of has the Buccaneers by the... wooden leg, so to speak. It will be tough for the Buccaneers to part with Revis, especially if he's playing to form, but if he is playing to form than he's likely going to try to get paid more, as he's done in the past.
I'm going to have to disagree with Alfie here. Revis is the second-highest paid defender in the NFL, and the third-highest defender (Julius Peppers) is getting $2 million per year less than Revis. With only Mario Williams eclipsing Revis' contract in total value, he cannot realistically hold out for more money. Where is he going to get more money? Mars?
Revis' previous holdouts didn't revolve around squeezing a team for maximum money, though there was a hint of that. Instead, they revolved a player who thought he was getting paid well below what he was worth -- and there was certainly truth to that. Especially in 2010, as he was coming off arguably the best season a cornerback had ever had, but he was still playing on a relatively cheap rookie contract. Revis settled for less than top-market value, too, getting a deal worth slightly less than $12 million per year compared to Asomugha's $15 million per year.
There's no hint of being underpaid in this contract. Revis might balk at the lack of guarantees in future seasons, but that would be foolhardy. As a vested veteran, his full salary for a season becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster starting week one of the regular season.
At some point in the future, Revis won't be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL anymore. I'm willing to be that happens when Von Miller gets his second contract, though perhaps J.J. Watt could push for that title too. But even if that happens, would Revis really hold out when he's getting $16 million per year, every year? Would he be willing to risk his $1.5 million annual workout bonus, just to finagle what would likely amount to a few million? That seems stupid.
And it's not like the Buccaneers wouldn't have leverage in those cases. They can cut Revis at any time and owe him nothing. Problem solved. In fact, it's a lot more likely that the Buccaneers come to Revis in a few years if his skills start to decline and ask him to take a pay cut. They've done that before with veterans whose guarantees have run out, getting Jeremy Trueblood and Eric Wright to take significant pay cuts in recent years. If anything, a new contract standoff is more likely to come from the Bucs than Revis' camp.
Inside the Revis negotiations: "I''m all in"
How Revis changes the Bucs' defense