Another storm has developed between Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets. This time, the issue is the offseason conditioning program, which begins April 15.
Even though they may trade him before or during the April 25 draft, the Jets plan to enforce language in the star cornerback's contract that requires him to participate in the voluntary workouts to collect bonus money, sources said.
Revis has been rehabbing his surgically repaired knee with his personal trainer in Arizona and, with an uncertain future, he'd prefer to stay there at least through the draft to focus on his rehab and avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation, according to sources.
His presence at the Jets' training facility would be awkward to say the least, also creating a possible distraction for the team. The Jets have been shopping him for almost two months.
But, barring a change of heart, Revis is expected to fly to New Jersey for the start of the conditioning program. He won't be thrilled, but he has $3 million riding on it.
When Revis renegotiated his contract in 2010, following his second holdout in three years, he agreed to a clause that requires his attendance in all offseason activities -- even non-mandatory workouts, sources said.
If Revis doesn't participate in approximately 80 percent of the workouts, he will forfeit not only a $1 million workout bonus, but two other bonuses -- a $1 million roster bonus (triggered March 17, but payable at a later date) and a $1 million reporting bonus at the start of training camp.
They're tied together, providing significant financial motivation to attend. It was the Jets' way of making sure Revis stays on his best behavior, an aspect of his four-year, $46 million contract that was kept relatively quiet -- until now.
Revis always has been a regular in the offseason program -- even in 2010, when he staged a lengthy training-camp holdout -- but this isn't a normal offseason because of his injury and a possible trade.
Nevertheless, the team is holding his feet to the fire -- or, in this case, his knee, insisting that he show for the offseason.
The Jets declined comment, but they're aware of his feelings about the offseason program, sources said.
Throughout the offseason, general manager John Idzik has maintained the team's priority is Revis' health. He underwent ACL surgery last October and, barring a setback, should be ready for the start of training camp.
Idzik said recently he has no problem with Revis rehabbing in Arizona, but he also said, "I can't wait to see Darrelle in the building." The Jets have received weekly updates on his progress, but they'd also like their doctors to examine him.
If the Jets allow Revis to skip the early part of the offseason program, it could hurt their leverage in trade talks because it would give the impression they've decided to deal him.
Right now, their best form of leverage is that he's under contract for another year, allowing the Jets to convey the message they're under no obligation to trade him.
"I think as we get into the offseason program -- it's all voluntary -- but you would hope that most of your players want to be there and be in the building and get the juices flowing with our staff and everybody that we have," Idzik said at the scouting combine in late February.
"We have a fine medical staff. We have a great training staff. We have tremendous facilities, so we feel that we have a lot to offer Darrelle and all of our players. We would hope that they would be there, but at the end of the day, it's what's best for Darrelle, how can we get him to clear medically and get back to the field to where he was before as quickly as possible."
It's not that simple, of course.
Revis will become an unrestricted free agent after the season (they can't use the franchise tag on him, per his contract) and the Jets appear reluctant to sign him to a long-term extension. As a result, they've been dangling him in trade talks.
Idzik and owner Woody Johnson are playing a game of semantics, insisting they're not actively shopping Revis but making it clear they'd consider a trade it if would help the team. Revis is in limbo, wondering if he'll be back.
So far, only one serious suitor has emerged 00 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There was heated speculation at last month's league meetings of a possible deal, but the talk has died down in recent weeks. The issue could be whether the Bucs are willing to include their first-round pick (13th overall) in a compensation package.