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Revis could have an ace in the hole against the Jets

When the possibility of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis skipping a mandatory minicamp first arose a couple of weeks ago, some believed that the Jets were hoping he’d do so, since it would void the guarantees applicable to $20 million he’s scheduled to earn in 2011 and 2012.

As it turns out, the guarantees may be irrelevant.

A league source tells us that persons familiar with the Revis contract believe that the Jets ultimately won’t be able to buy back the final two years of the deal, once Revis opts to void the remainder of the contract after the coming season.

Here’s how it works. Revis signed in 2007 a six-year deal that, upon the achievement of certain modest triggers (which he has satisfied), can be reduced at his option to four years. Then, the Jets can buy back years five and six at $5 million guaranteed in 2011 and $15 million guaranteed in 2012.

Here’s the problem. When the contract initially was approved in 2007, the 30-percent rule that limits the giving of raises in uncapped years to players under contract didn’t apply, because a salary cap was in place. The thinking is that, when the Jets try to buy back the last two years of the deal, the NFL will block the maneuver as a violation of the 30-percent rule.

And because the contract includes language preventing the Jets from applying the franchise or transition tag to Revis, he’ll be able to walk away.

The only potential limitation on his movement comes from the rules applicable to unrestricted free agency. If, come 2011, a player needs five or six years of service to qualify, the Jets could be able to apply a restricted free agency tender to Revis. That said, it’s possible that the contractual language preventing the use of the franchise or transition tenders is sufficiently broad to prevent any effort to limit his movement.

But even if the Jets can still use the highest possible RFA tender, which other team wouldn’t gladly give up a first-round pick and a third-round pick in order to book a six-year vacation on Revis Island? Though the Jets would have the right to match any offer Revis receives, the reality is that, in 2011, he’ll be in line for a long-term, market-value deal.

It’s unknown whether the Jets or Revis’ camp previously knew about this potential complication. It’s fairly safe to say that they soon will.