darrelle revis 2014

As predicted, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Darrelle Revis Wednesday rather than pay him a $1.5 million bonus. The Buccaneers also avoided giving the New York Jets a third-round draft pick for keeping Revis on the roster. The Jets will now get a 4th round pick with the release.

The New England Patriots wasted no time picking Revis up Wednesday for one year at $12 million despite the cornerback's history of having nothing nice to say about New England while he was playing with the Jets.

Former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib's blockbuster deal with the Denver Broncos really forced the hand of the Patriots to pick up Revis. Unfortunately for New England, Talib's departure also set a very high bar for cornerbacks and their value this season.

Talib's $57 million, six-year contract ($26 million guaranteed) means he will earn more than any team in NFL history has ever paid to any other cornerback in the league. Still, Revis is coming out of Tampa Bay rather than New England.

His decision to go with New England is most likely about much more than the contract numbers. Every player dreams of getting a Super Bowl ring before they retire, so that had to be weighing on the mind of Revis after his release.

Revis brings an incredible resume with him to the Patriots. He skipped his senior year in college to declare himself eligible for the 2007 draft, where the Jets selected him at No. 14 overall.

He also earned five Pro Bowl designations and was named AFC Defensive Player of The Year in 2009. He led the AFC in interception return yards in 2011. Over his career he has so far recorded 344 tackles, two sacks, 21 interceptions, five forced fumbles and 367 interception return yards.

The Patriots are relatively green at cornerback without Revis, so his addition to the defense automatically puts him in position to be a real leader on that squad. If the Patriots can avoid the injury bug that plagued the team last season, the Revis acquisition will help them recapture the essence of their once-feared and dominating defense.

Head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office have been working on re-inventing the defense over the last few seasons by bringing in multiple young players and draftees to take the place of seasoned veterans lost due to retirement, free agency, or the trading block.

What was once a top defense in the NFL was more of a "bend, but don't break" outfit last season. Putting "Revis Island" on the field could have a major impact in bringing the Patriots defense back to their glory days.

The Patriots are also taking a hard look at Broncos middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who could be another natural leader in that position. Signing Woodyard would be a nice "eye for an eye" move in response to Talib going to Denver.

Still, after the Broncos picked up three solid defenders over the last few days (Talib, DeMarcus Ware and TJ Ward), the Patriots will still be one superstar behind Denver on the defensive acquisition front even if they can get Woodyard signed.

Though he will not come cheap, recently-released Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers could be a huge steal for the Patriots if they can land him at an affordable price.

Peppers was poised to make nearly $30 million over the next two years with the Bears, forcing the team to let him go despite the epic numbers he put up for the team during his tenure.

Peppers started in every Bears game (64 total) he was on the roster for, compiling 37.5 sacks while making the Pro Bowl in every season with the team except for 2013.

Peppers also accounted for 118.5 sacks over the course of his career, which ranks as the 17th-most in NFL history since the league first started recording sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

Despite his off year last season, he is clearly not as injury prone as other free agents on the market, and he represents an established star who is a bit older but maybe also a little wiser than DeMarcus Ware.

As far as offensive targets, the Patriots will most likely pick up at least one wide receiver.

Julian Edelman could be on his way out if negotiations with the team don't go well, so the Patriots ought to be shopping around for a replacement should a deal not be possible with Wes Welker's former understudy. Notable possibilities include Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Miles Austin.

As for Revis, the one-year deal is almost perfect for his new squad. The Patriots can take the time to evaluate Revis to see if he's franchise material, and he can write his own ticket as far as what he might earn the following years based on how he performs.

All the onus is put on Revis to excell this season or face the grim reality of finishing his NFL contract with one single-year deal after another. Revis also represents a genuine upgrade on Aqib Talib, despite their vastly different new contracts.

The one downside of the move is the cost, as there's really not much cap room left to bring in any more big name players and keep pace with the Denver Broncos. Also, should Revis turn out to be a dud the move will be exposed as a flop, and the Patriots will get little return on their investment.

Still, the Patriots are famous for creating a solid team atmosphere and working with players who had difficulties with other teams.

If anyone can refresh and refurbish this "island" property, it is the New England Patriots.


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