Will Darrelle Revis
return to form after missing most of 2012 with a knee injury? (Perry Knotts/AP)
Not that the New York Jets and Darrelle Revis need any added complications in their ongoing drama, but the steady trickle of available cornerbacks into free agency might provide just that.
The latest meaningful name added to the list: Chris Gamble, released by the Panthers Friday in a cap-cutting move. With the official start of free agency just days away, Gamble joined Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, Aqib Talib, Chris Houston, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Keenan Lewis and Greg Toler among the more intriguing cornerbacks expected to make it to unrestricted free agency starting March 12.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg on what is a deep group.
For the Jets, who may have no choice but to trade Revis, this constitutes a problem. The NFL is a supply-and-demand league. If there is an overabundance of supplies at cornerback, how can the Jets drive up the price on Revis?
The answer that the Jets' front office will be hoping for is this one: Revis is better than any of the free agents.
Assuming the 27-year-old CB gets back to 100 percent after an ACL tear last season, that's absolutely true. Even the best of the best in that free-agent list come with concerns -- Smith is inconsistent, Grimes tore his Achilles last year, Talib has character issues, etc.
A healthy Revis, meanwhile, is the NFL's preeminent shut-down cornerback (despite what Richard Sherman will tell you). He is a game-changer on defense, capable of forcing offenses to adjust their plans around him.
But will any team break the bank for that type of player when it could sign one or two very solid, high-upside guys, hold on to all their draft picks and avoid handing out the $11 or $12 million Revis wants per year?
Because of the current cornerback landscape, New York may wind up holding onto Revis for at least several more weeks -- which would give Revis time to continue proving he's on the fast track to being ready for training camp. Some patience also would lessen teams' free-agent options, possibly taking a few trade partners out of the running but leaving those unable to cash in increasingly desperate.
Both the Jets and Revis figure to keep an eye on the contracts that come in starting next week, too. Revis reportedly wants to become the league's highest-paid cornerback, so he'll certainly want substantially more money than any of the 2013 free agents will command annually. Should Talib or Smith break the bank, any chance the Jets have of keeping Revis in the long run will diminish.
The Revis standoff feels like it has been going on for ages as it is. As free agency sets to open with a profusion of cornerbacks looking for work, there's no immediate end in sight.