The New England Patriots waited a day and a half to sign their first marquee free agent. It was worth it.
The Patriots got a steal when Darrelle Revis reportedly took a pay cut and agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract — $4 million less than what he made with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before they released him Wednesday.
The deal works out for both parties. The Patriots add a better player than the one they lost (Aqib Talib), and Revis still can say he’s the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. He’s even making slightly more than the franchise tag number for cornerbacks, which is $11.834 million.
Revis also gets to play for a team that’s nearly guaranteed to make the playoffs every season. Not many teams can offer that kind of prolonged success, which Revis hasn’t experienced. Revis has been to the playoffs twice in his seven-year career, and he just suffered through a 4-12 season with the Bucs.
The Patriots also received a third-round compensation pick when Talib signed with the Denver Broncos. The Bucs don’t receive a compensation pick for Revis since they released him, so the Patriots basically traded Talib and $2.5 million for Revis and a third-round pick.
Revis wasn’t expected to take such a relatively team-friendly deal, so he no longer can be criticized for being “all about the money.” With teams such as the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets rolling in salary-cap space, Revis absolutely could have found a better deal than one year for $12 million.
But every player’s goal is to win a Super Bowl, and the Patriots give Revis that chance while he still can retain his bragging rights.
Patriots fans collectively freaked out when the Broncos took Talib with a six-year, $57 million contract with $26 million guaranteed, and that looks pretty stupid in retrospect. The Patriots landed a better player for $14 million less in guaranteed money.
Patriots fans need to learn that Bill Belichick always has a plan, whether it works out or not. When the Patriots let Wes Welker walk last year, they signed Danny Amendola just minutes later. Belichick won’t lose a key player without signing a similar — sometimes better — player.
The Patriots’ secondary looks pretty stacked now. Revis and Alfonzo Dennard will be the starting cornerbacks, with Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington competing for the No. 3 role. Devin McCourty is an All-Pro free safety, and Duron Harmon looked just fine as a starting strong safety in his rookie season.
The Patriots certainly aren’t done making moves, but adding Revis will go a long way toward bringing them back to the AFC Championship Game and possibly the Super Bowl.