In many people’s minds, and I include myself in that, Darrelle Revis is the best NFL cornerback of this generation. I know that I have not seen someone as good as him play in my lifetime.
But when you look at his career closely, he may just also be the best businessman the NFL has ever seen.
During Revis’s first three seasons with the New York Jets, he quickly became one of the top defensive players in the league. That is why, prior to the 2010 season, he decided it was time to get paid. Revis held out for most of training camp with the Jets and eventually negotiated a four-year, $32 million-guaranteed contract.
For Revis, it was an incredibly smart business move to hold out knowing he wasn’t getting adequately compensated for his play. He had all of the leverage and decided to use it.
After tearing his ACL in 2012, Revis still held leverage and cashed it in for another big payday. After being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Revis signed a six-year, $96 million contract, making him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
The only catch was that none of it was guaranteed, but that didn’t matter to Revis. He had the business smarts and confidence to bet on himself.
After making $16 million with the Buccaneers in one season, they decided to cut him. Revis almost immediately signed with the Patriots to a deal that is technically worth $32 million over two years (although he won’t see the second year of that deal in all likelihood).
This contract was again betting on himself while still making $12 million in one year.
Being so good at what he does helps in negotiations, but Revis clearly knows how to use that leverage to his advantage.
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