Champ Bailey has relinquished the title of best corner in the NFL.
Long considered tops at his position, the Broncos' veteran recently acknowledged that the Jets’ Darrelle Revis has him beat, the New York Post reports.
"I was reluctant to give it to anybody because I thought I was the best," Bailey said on 104.3 the Fan in Denver.
"I watched every game he played last year, and I've got to give it to him. He's better than anyone right now."
While Revis may be the greatest, he’s keeping his talents to himself in the midst of an ongoing contract dispute with the Jets that’s keeping him out of training camp.
"If the Jets want to do anything, they better get this boy in camp," Bailey told the Post.
Revis wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the game, ahead of Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha, who is scheduled to make about $16.5 million in 2010. Under Revis’ current contract, he would only make $1 million this season and $10 million in each of the last two years of his contract.
While the decision to hold out may seem selfish, Bailey agreed with Revis' choice, saying, "If I was making what he's making, I'd probably do the same thing."
Bailey has a point — Revis is making peanuts compared to some of the other cornerbacks in the game, and deserves a raise that’s on par with his skills. Asomugha’s exorbitant deal was a rarity, though, averaging fifty percent more than stars like Asante Samuel, Dunta Robinson and Bailey.
While Revis surely deserves a big, fat contract, it wouldn’t kill him to be a little more flexible. If the Jets don’t figure out a way to make him happy, Revis’ holdout is going to be more than a distraction — it’s going to be a problem.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan hasn’t been shy about saying he would prefer Revis to play.
"The tape doesn't lie," Ryan told the New York Daily News. "This guy's a heck of a football player. He is under contract for three years, so you like to see him out here. You hope it works out in the end where both sides are happy. That's what needs to happen."
But in the face of having to take the field without such a large piece of the defensive puzzle, Ryan remains confident.
"We admit that if Darrelle’s not here, that it’s going to be more difficult," Ryan told the Daily News. "You’re taking the best corner in the league out of your defense. But by no means does that mean we’re not going to still get it done. We will still get it done on defense."
Ryan’s optimism may be wishful thinking. Revis is the best player on the team, and at such a key position, his impact is crucial for the Jets to succeed in 2010.
Ryan and recent addition LaDainian Tomlinson have both predicted a Jets Super Bowl win, before even taking the field.
Without Revis, the chance of that happening doesn’t look good for the Jets.