Johnson dispels notion that he's not willing to sign core players longterm
Woody Johnson dispels notion that he's not willing to sign core young players to longterm extensions
By Manish Mehta
Less than 24 hours after the cornerstone of Rex Ryan’s defense insinuated the Jets may be taking the “cheap” route in dealing with some of the core players looking for new contracts, owner Woody Johnson offered a different perspective.
All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has three years remaining on his rookie contract, left no secret that the team’s core young players like Nick Mangold, Davis Harris, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and him should get extensions.
"The Jets need to pay their guys," Revis said. “…Not just us, a lot teams might try to be cheap this year because they don't know what's going to happen in the future with the lockout. We understand those situations. But also as players, we’re fighting for ourselves.
Johnson dispelled the notion that he has somehow limited general manager Mike Tannenbaum from signing the core players to long-term extensions due to budgetary constraints.
“Last year, they said I was overspending like Dan Snyder or Al Davis,” Johnson told the Daily News this morning. “I was accused of being a profligate spender. Now, you’re saying that I’m not spending enough. We spent enough… We’ve been on the high end of the league spending for the 10 years that I’ve been in the league. I’ve never told Mike (Tannenbaum) that he couldn’t get a player. We have to live within the rules of the NFL and within the cap and with the player rules that were set years ago.”
“Within the rules, we’re going to do what it takes to win a championship,” Johnson added. “We’re committed to doing that. We’re committed to fielding the best team that we can field within those rules… We will live within those rules. But we’re dedicated to fielding a championship team. Nothing has changed in that department.”
Johnson, however, maintained the importance of operating within sensible rules.
“Despite what many people think, the Jets is a business,” Johnson said. “We do have payrolls to make and we have taxes to pay… We have some rules. We have a budget. Just like we have had every other year in the 10 years I’ve been here.”
“Revis is a great player,” Johnson added. “He’s under contract with the New York Jets for the next three years. We’re willing to negotiate with Revis, that’s for sure. And we have. We’ve spend a long time negotiating with his agents. Mike has done a good job listening to all the arguments.”
Revis admitted that the Jets recently gave his agents a second offer, but that it was still unacceptable.
“I think we’ve presented some things that Revis has looked it,” Johnson said. “But we’re committed to try to make this relationship work. We have a lot of respect for Revis as a player and as a person. We expect him to be a Jet for a long time to come.”
Johnson dispelled the notion that the slow-moving PSL sales have affected the team’s contract negotiations with the young nucleus. (The team reduced the prices of about 9,000 unsold PSLs -- and 18,000 total PSLs -- by as much as 50 percent today.)
“There’s no link,” Johnson said. “The PSL funds are dedicated to the construction of the building and don’t really have anything to do with the players at all. They’re dedicated to the building. So if we have more or less PSL cash, it doesn’t enable us or disenable us to sign a player.”
The Jets leaned on recent history before making the decision to cut the prices of 18,000 PSLs (including 9,000 unsold ones) today. In early February, the team slashed PSL prices for the Touchdown Corner and Touchdown goal line sections. (From $10,000 to $6,000 in on section and from $10,000 to $7,500 in the other). Those seats sold out in a “couple weeks,” according to vice president of business operation Matt Higgins.
“We knew that the end zones would essentially be the last section (that would) sell,” Higgins told me. “At what price? You learn as you go. …We can tell from the traffic this morning that the same thing is going to happen with these sections. We’re selling a lot.”
Johnson admitted that he hoped to replicate that February model this time around.
“That was so successful, so quickly,” Johnson said. “Why not do that again? These cuts are even more significant than those.”
“This just gives greater clarity to our vision of being sold out,” Johnson added. “It’s something we’ve talked about. We’ve talked about it to all of our sales people. We talked to fans -- both current PSL holders and prospective ones. This is part of our learning curve over the last couple of years. We feel this is the right move at the right time. It will get us where we want to get.”