Super Bowl or bust? Well, the New York Jets' big hopes might hinge upon the one player not at training camp.
And, unless a major resolution occurs soon, it could be a while before they see Darrelle Revis on the field. The All-Pro cornerback sat out the first two practices of camp Monday, locked in a contract dispute.
"We've got to get who we have ready to go," coach Rex Ryan said. "If Darrelle's not here, then we're going to move on. We won't make excuses. ... We think we'll have a great defense anyway, and I know we will. It's just a lot easier if Revis is out there."
Revis has been hailed by his coach as the best cornerback he has ever coached. He is now looking to become the highest-paid in the league at his position, seeking a deal higher than the three-year, $45.3 million extension Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha signed last offseason.
"Am I disappointed? Yes," owner Woody Johnson said. "I would like everything to be clear sailing right to the Super Bowl and we win that. Boom, boom, we're done."
Getting a contract done with Revis has turned out to be far more complicated. He is scheduled to make $1 million in the fourth year of his six-year rookie deal, which general manager Mike Tannenbaum has acknowledged Revis has outplayed. Agents Neil Schwartz and Jon Feinsod said Revis was very deliberate with the decision-making process, and his actions would speak louder than words.
By sitting out, Revis is being fined $16,523 for each day he's not with the team. He also waived a clause in his contract which would have guaranteed him $20 million over the last two years of his deal. The sticking point, both Johnson and Tannenbaum said, is the amount of total compensation — not fully guaranteed money.
"We love Darrelle," Johnson said. "We want to give him something that he's comfortable with, but also something that we are comfortable with."
Tannenbaum said Sunday that the team made three offers in the 72 hours leading up to training camp: a long-term deal that would keep him with the Jets for life, a short-term deal and a face-to-face meeting — and all were denied.
"We're going to keep trying," Johnson said. "We're going to try until we can't try anymore."
The team said Johnson told Tannenbaum to reach out to Revis' agents Monday night to reiterate their willingness to talk. Johnson again offered to be a part of any future meeting.
Dwight Lowery worked mostly with the first-team defense Monday alongside Antonio Cromartie, who was moved from right cornerback to Revis' normal left-side spot.
"We'll adjust as we go along," Lowery said. "I mean, only Darrelle can answer when he's going to be here. If he's not, we've just got to do what we need to do until he comes. It's not like he's going to be out all 17 weeks of the season."
Cromartie, acquired from San Diego in the offseason, said it was a bit strange playing on the left side of the field.
"I got comfortable with it today," he said. "It only takes about a day or two to get used to it."
Good thing, since he might be practicing there a while. But Cromartie is looking forward to teaming with Revis — at some point.
"All I can say is best of luck to all the receivers we face," he said. "We're really going to be the best tandem in NFL history, hands down, that's our goal."
Ryan added that whenever Revis returns, he'll slide right into his usual spot.
"If he signs a contract one day before the first game, Darrelle would be starting," he said. "It's as simple as that. I'd love to get him here."
Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Sanchez was a full participant in both practices, saying he's a full-go after being limited in the offseason following surgery on his left knee to repair the patella-stabilizing ligament.
"My knee feels good," he said.
Ryan is already impressed with how Sanchez looks in camp.
"He's got a command of this offense like he never had last year, even in the playoffs," Ryan said. "All that is, and you've got to tip your cap to him, the work ethic that he showed in the offseason and rehabbing himself."
NOTES: DT Kris Jenkins (hamstring) and QB Kellen Clemens (left calf) did not practice, as expected. LB-DE Jason Taylor was a full participant after not fully practicing in minicamp following offseason surgery on his right shoulder. ... Ryan was impressed by fullback John Conner, the team's fifth-round draft pick. "He took the breath out of three linebackers today," he said. "This kid's the thumper we think he is."