The 2017 NFL season started recently with the start of free agency, and, after just a couple weeks into the offseason, the New England Patriots seem to be the consensus “winner” of the NFL offseason. Things started with a bang with the signing of arguably the best cornerback on the market in Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has spent his entire four year career with the Buffalo Bills, but was lured to New England with a contract of five years and $65 million dollars.
There were a few other significant moves, including trading a first and third round draft pick for former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, trading a second round pick for Panthers DE Kony Ealy, and re-signing pro-bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a four-year deal.
However, among all of these additions there might be a significant subtraction. Ever since the Brandin Cooks trade, it is believed that cornerback Malcolm Butler is unhappy with his current situation in New England, and both he and the Patriots are interested in trading him away, most likely to the New Orleans Saints. With this trade seeming more and more likely to happen, what should the Patriots do to fill the void left by Butler?
Why not bring back Darrelle Revis?
— WEEI (@WEEI) March 19, 2017
Before many begin to state just how ridiculous this option is, and how much of a waste of money that would be, there should be a few things to consider:
Last year was an off year
Many believe that Revis’ last season with the Jets was an outlier, as he spent the majority of the season dealing with injury and weight issues, it might be too quick to assume that his career is all but over. He played exceptionally well in 2015 with the Jets, and was a vital part of the 2014 Patriots Super Bowl team.
He could very well come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, and a desire to prove himself. Revis turns 32 in July, but there have been examples, such as Charles Woodson, of cornerbacks who have been able to play well into their 30’s. If he really wants to get back into shape and continue playing at an elite level, it is certainly an attainable goal.
Regardless of what Revis does with his next opportunity, the risk of signing him is almost non-existent.
Revis would play for almost nothing
After his one year with the Patriots in 2014, Revis signed a massive five-year, $70 million dollar contract with the New York Jets. While he is no longer employed by the Jets, he is still owed many millions of dollars by New York, which almost certainly will affect his asking price for any team that is currently interested in him. As many other people on social media have pointed out, Revis taking very little money to come back to the Patriots is not entirely out of the question:
any doubt Darrelle Revis now goes and plays for the Patriots while the Jets pay him millions and he wins another Super Bowl
— Jason Scukanec (@Big_Suke) March 15, 2017
Further, this could be a chance for Revis to prove himself. A scenario that could happen is Revis signs a one year deal for the veteran minimum, but is loaded with incentives. From this, Revis would have to earn almost every dollar of his contract, and re-claim his title as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
And if he is a bust? Simply release or trade him with little repercussions. This is the ideal situation for the New England Patriots – low risk, high reward.
He fits in the Patriots system
The last point that helps the argument that Revis would be a great fit for New England is that he’s been here before. He spent the entire 2014 season with New England, and did an exceptional job as the number one cornerback. Also, with the recent acquisition of Gilmore, Revis could be very interested in becoming one part in one of the best secondaries in the entire league. He is already comfortable in the Patriots’ defensive system, and as a veteran it can definitely be appealing to know that he would not have to put as much work in to get himself re-acquainted with the playbook.
In short, there is still no saying exactly what the Patriots will do in regards to Revis. There is still a chance that they keep Butler for another year – but if Butler’s days with New England are numbered, then Darrelle Revis could be a great fit for the Patriots.
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