Not only is the ink not dry yet on the contract, I don’t think it’s even been signed yet.
There’s still a physical to pass, and a press conference to have.
Technically, something crazy could happen in between now and tomorrow.
There’s still time for the (arguably) biggest free agent signing in New England Patriots history to jump on the table in front of a hundred cameras, roar with laughter, and rip off his dress shirt to reveal a #24 New York Jets jersey, while Rex Ryan sits smiling outside in the Dukes of Hazard car.
These things could happen. They probably won’t.
Less than an hour ago, the Internet blew up, and thousands of New Englanders all gave the same simultaneous silent fist-pump.
We got him. We got Darrelle Revis.
There will be more time to dissect this deal further, and much more coherently, in the near future. But here are the things you need to know now:
1. This is what they call in the biz a “win-win”
Some fans (yours truly included) will look at the 1yr/$12 mil deal, blink a few times, and go “What? That’s it?” But give it a few, you’ll love it eventually.
For the Patriots, the appeal is obvious. While seemingly every other team in the NFL handed out behemoth contracts to mid-tier talent, New England just signed the best cornerback in the NFL for $2 mil more than Aqib Talib. That the contract is only one-year long allows the Patriots to suss out Revis’ fit with the team without having to do what Tampa Bay basically just did, giving them a whole lotta flexibility should they decide to go a different direction next season. Also, because Revis was released, they’ll get pick compensation (a 3rd round pick) next season. So there’s that.
For Revis, there are a lot of things to take away from this deal. 1) He still gets to be the top-paid corner in the NFL, something that he obviously takes pride in. 2) Just as the Patriots get to test him out, he gets to test them out 3) This deal is a big middle finger to everyone who said he wouldn’t take a pay cut to play for a good team, as he not only shaves of $4mil from his Buccaneers contract, but almost certainly got a better offer money-wise elsewhere, which 4) immediately sets him up for potential folk hero status. No matter how this shakes out for him he’ll get paid top dollar next offseason, whether it’s with the Pats or not. In the meantime he gets to play for a perennial Super Bowl contender with one hell of a chip on their collective shoulders.
(Also it means that Revis will be playing for a new contract. Which, as history has shown us, only leads to good things.)
2. Stock Swings
It’s weird to say that the Patriots secondary is better off now than they were 24 hours ago, as the sting of Aqib Talib leaving is still festering a bit, but it’s true. Things looked dark this morning. But no longer. As several pundits have pointed out, a player like Talib was huge for the Patriots defense; having a shutdown corner meant being able to try different things with the rest of the formation with one less offensive weapon to worry about.
Well Revis is that player, but on a higher level. Putting him in as the No. 1 corner resets the secondary back to their preferred spots: Dennard as the feisty No. 2, Arrington out of the slot, and Logan Ryan as the all-upside youngster to groom into a starter. From what we’ve seen from Revis his entire career, Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia will love to have the star defensive back on their team, and he will make everyone around him better.
3. Dominoes To Fall
Oh yeah the other win about this deal? It leaves a lot more wiggle room than fans thought when the possibility of signing Revis first arose. With the releases of Isaac Sopoaga and Markus Zusevics, the Patriots, as of now, have about $5mil in cap space. Figure in the possible contract extensions of Devin McCourty/Vince Wilfork, and the potential releases of Adrian Wilson or Dan Connolly, and resigning Julian Edelman seems a lot more likely. Maybe even one of the veteran defensive linemen lying around.
Secondly, the need to draft a stud corner early in the draft becomes a lot less drastic. Rather than trading up for Gilbert/Dennard, or reaching with their first round pick for Bradley Roby, Kyle Fuller, or Jason Verrett, the Patriots can sit back and see who’s left in the middle rounds for the taking.
4. Belichick wins the skirmish his own way
On a day where John Elway was throwing contracts around like they were attached to Monopoly money, Belichick played the waiting game, and game away with one of the prizes of the offseason. Whereas Broncos fans will be rationalizing away the positively insane deals for Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware because “they wanted to win now” and will worry about a grim future later, Belichick both won for this season and the future
Because he’s the best.
Follow me on twitter @isportspeters and keep sending me stuff at email@example.com. Once all this free agency craziness dies down a bit, I’ll get back to my normal Patriots draft previews, and I’ll assemble my fan-sent mock draft article, so keep sending those as well!