FLORHAM PARK, N.J.
In the wake of the devastating news that All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will be lost for the season because of a torn knee ligament, speculation is swirling that the injury could derail future contract negotiations and lead to Revis' departure from the Jets after the 2013 season.
The Jets' two leading decision-makers told Newsday Thursday that they have every intention of keeping Revis well beyond the final year of his current contract, which runs through 2013. As long as Revis recovers from surgery that is expected to take place within the next two or three weeks -- and there is every expectation within the organization that Revis will get back to full strength -- the Jets will make every attempt to sign him to a deal that goes well beyond next season.
"Do I assume that Darrelle Revis will retire a Jet? I do," Ryan said. "That's something that I believe. Obviously, both sides have got to come together, but from my perspective, I think the Jets want Darrelle here and I think Darrelle wants to be a Jet. That right there is probably the biggest thing in having a guy long-term here."
Former Ravens assistant coach Ryan recalled when All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis made it known that he wanted to retire in that team's uniform. "I've seen it happen in Baltimore, where Ray wanted to be a Raven for life, and he is. That's my take on it," Ryan said.
Tannenbaum, who will handle contract negotiations that could be complicated by the injury situation, said the Jets will do everything in their power to keep Revis for the long haul.
"Right now, our focus is putting forth the necessary resources to help him make a full recovery," Tannenbaum said. "It's always been our hope that Darrelle would be a Jet for life."
But first things first. The Jets will want to make sure Revis makes a full recovery from his injury before initiating contract talks. The expectation heading into this season was that they'd wait until the off-season to work on a new deal. But Revis might not be back at full strength for as long as nine months, so there could be a delay in discussions.
Revis had indicated before training camp that he might not show up as a way to force a contract renegotiation, but the Jets declined to make any changes with two years left on the deal. "Discussions regarding his contract will take place at the appropriate time," Tannenbaum said Thursday.
Revis was unavailable for comment, and one of his agents, Jonathan Feinsod, did not return an email seeking comment. Feinsod and fellow agent Neal Schwartz negotiated a four-year, $46-million deal in 2010. Revis made $32.5 million in the first two years of the contract and is making $7.5 million this year. He is scheduled to make $3 million in base salary next season, plus a $3-million roster bonus.
In all likelihood, the Jets would have to rework the deal before next season to get a long-term deal done. But unless Revis suffers some unforeseen complications, they will do everything possible to keep him with the team for years to come.
Players routinely recover fully from ACL surgery, and Revis is only 27 years old, still in his physical prime. It's not a stretch to see him play at an elite level for another seven or eight years, which would absolutely justify a contract extension. Consider: Charles Woodson, the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, still is a terrific player at age 35, having transitioned from cornerback to safety. He's signed through the 2014 season.
Remember, too, that the Bills rewarded defensive end Mario Williams with the richest free- agent contract for a defensive player this year (including $50 million in guaranteed money) although he had season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle last year.
Assuming Revis gets through the surgery in good shape, the Jets will need to make sure their best player -- and possibly the best player in franchise history -- will be here for years to come.
Is there a risk in putting so much money into a player coming off a significant injury? Sure there is. But the risk is even bigger if you don't make the investment and Revis plays somewhere else at an elite level.
Ryan and Tannenbaum made it clear Thursday that they hope it won't come to that.