Revis contract woes to continue

Revis may need to play out his rookie deal before making any headway on a new one. Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Here's a guarantee as solid as Joe Namath's: Just because New York Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis returned to practice this week doesn't mean his contractual issues have gone away.

The Jets will hear about it again, and so will the public.

Revis wants to be paid like the top cornerback in football that his own head coach, Rex Ryan, declared him to be. But Revis' biggest issue is not his talent but his timing. He still has three years remaining on his rookie contract that he negotiated in 2007.

Here's a look at the five highest-paid cornerbacks in football, from documents obtained from the NFL Players Association:

Football's highest-paid cornerback, Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha, signed a deal that averages $15.155 million per year just before he became a free agent. The second-highest-paid cornerback, Philadelphia's Asante Samuel, signed a deal that averages $9.523 million per year only when he became an unrestricted free agent. The third-highest paid, Atlanta's Dunta Robinson, signed a deal that averages $9.5 million per year when he became a free agent last winter. The fourth-highest paid, San Francisco's Nate Clements, signed a deal that averages $9.145 million when he became a free agent back in 2007. And rounding out the top five, Denver's Champ Bailey signed a deal that averages a shade over $9 million per year after the Broncos acquired him in a trade from Washington.

So there is the list that Revis wants to headline. But the common thread here is that all these players played out their contracts. As good as Revis has been -- and that point cannot be argued -- it is one thing he has not yet done as the league's premier cornerback. He has not entered the last year of his deal.

Until he does, the Jets and general manager Mike Tannenbaum are willing to take care of Revis, just as they have taken care of many of their players through the years. But the deal has to make sense for both sides. In this era, and in light of the potential CBA issues and rules changes, both sides have to work collectively and together to make this happen. This will not be easy.

Keep in mind: The goal of every rookie in the league should be to get to a point where he feels he is underpaid. It is a sign that he has exceeded expectations. Just like Tennessee's Chris Johnson, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson, San Diego's Vincent Jackson and many others, Revis has.

But beating wide receivers the way Revis has is one thing. Beating the system is even more challenging.

And now for a few questions from the mailbag. Got a question of your own? Submit it right here.

Q: I was wondering what your thoughts were on how quickly Eric Berry and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Javier Arenas will impact the Kansas City Chiefs' defense and what my expectations should be for that unit going into this year. I am patiently waiting to see how our other two very hyped (and very rich) young stars, Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, work out up front -- but I think, with Denver and Oakland seemingly pretty weak offensively, this could be our opportunity to step up and challenge San Diego if our D gets it together.

-- Andrew (Charleston, S.C.)

A: Well, Andrew, the good part is I think the Chiefs nailed it with Berry and Arenas. Each has the chance to be an excellent player. This team should be dramatically improved this season, especially with the addition of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Dorsey and Jackson have the chance to be solid, reliable players. Problem is they were taken with such high picks and given so much money that fans expect way more out of them. It's fair of the fans but also a bit unfair to the players. Expectations for them are higher, and it will be tough for each player to justify the pick and money spent on him. It doesn't mean each can't be good, because each can. But it would be surprising if Dorsey and Jackson, two reliable players, have the type of impact that all-time Chiefs Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith once did. All this doesn't mean the Chiefs can't challenge in the AFC West this season -- they can. But general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley knew the mess they were inheriting. They knew it would take time to straighten out. But the rebuilding project is moving along. It shouldn't be long now before the Chiefs are relevant again.

Q: The Dallas Cowboys released LT Flozell Adams and S Ken Hamlin in the offseason. They did not replace them with playmakers in the draft nor in free agency. Do you think this hurts their chances next season, or do you believe the Cowboys will remain at least at the same level as last season? And if Wade Phillips makes the playoffs or wins the division but loses again early in the playoffs, how do you see his future in Dallas?

-- Debbie (Dallas)

A: Dallas knew exactly what it was doing, and it didn't feel Adams or Hamlin were worth the price it would have cost to keep them. So far, the Cowboys look correct -- nobody has signed either player, so what does that tell you? The younger players that Dallas is counting on are going to have to step up, but it's not as if Adams and Hamlin were playing at some irreplaceable level. It can be done -- and the Cowboys think it will be done. As for Wade's future, it's tough enough to predict a coach's future in January, no less June.

Q: How do you think Alex Smith will fare this year? I believe he will excel, as I watched him carefully at Utah! I don't believe he ever got the same staff to help him develop. Urban Meyer always said, "Once Alex gets a system down, watch out!" I believe he has the system down as of this year!

-- Bruce Croxall (St. George, Utah)

A: Bruce, what's interesting is that, earlier in his career, Smith seemed about ready to take off. Then his growth stunted. And it did seem to have something to do with the constant change of offensive coordinators. Clearly you're not the only one who believes in him. The San Francisco 49ers had the chance to pursue Donovan McNabb and Jimmy Clausen and never wavered. They were committed to Smith all along, which is the biggest statement anyone can make. They think he can get the job done. If he doesn't, they won't be so patient next offseason.

Q: There is already talk of coaches being on the hot seat, and Josh McDaniels' name has been thrown around as one of them. However, if you listen to Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis, they seem to think they have a gem of a coach in McDaniels, and the drafting of Tim Tebow only adds to the fact that McDaniels will get at least get three years for sure, but more like 4-5 years to prove he was a good hire. Your thoughts?

-- Willie (Windsor, Colo.)

A: Willie, my thoughts, which Bowlen and Ellis are aware of, is that McDaniels is going to be a star head coach. Sometimes coaches go through growing periods -- look at Mike Shanahan in Oakland and Bill Belichick in Cleveland. And that's not to say that McDaniels won't succeed in Denver. But sometimes it takes a little time for young coaches to make their mark. Bowlen and Ellis know how skilled McDaniels is. They know how much it means to be patient in this league. And they're standing by their man -- can't blame them, as much as some Broncos fans want to.