Darrelle Revis has made plenty of money in his NFL career. The estimated number according to sportrac.com exceeds $118 million. So at this point, his focus doesn’t need to be on money anymore. He should be looking to go to a contender and capture another ring.
We all saw that Revis Island regressed from an exclusive resort to a heavily populated tourist trap in 2016. Quarterbacks are no longer allergic to throwing in his direction. Just look at this stat posted by Sam Monson at Pro Football Focus:
The elite speed just isn’t there anymore. But the instincts are. You don’t just forget how to play in coverage. Revis is just getting burned by younger receivers at an alarming rate.
He needs to find a situational role to play on a defense. The days of lining him up on a number one receiver and worrying about the other ten guys on the field are over.
Cue his return to New England. It’s not often that Belichick and company welcome a player who left in free agency back a second time, but it’s not unheard of. Deion Branch returned after four years in Seattle and helped the team to a Super Bowl berth in 2011.
The match would be perfect. In Matt Patricia’s complex defense, with which Revis is already familiar, the aging veteran wouldn’t be asked to take away a whole side of the field.
The Patriots like to line up in man coverage with safety help over the top. In this defense, Revis would likely have to concede his starting role and, as mentioned above, play more situational football.
The Patriots have locked in Stephon Gilmore already this offseason as a presumed starter to replace the departed Logan Ryan. On the opposite side, for now Malcolm Butler is the starter, but it appears his tenure with the team may be nearing its end. Revis would not be filling that vacancy as the full-time starter in Butlers abscense. The team would likely look to the draft for a potential young player to plug in.
Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are locked into their roles, while number three safety Duron Harmon just resigned with the team for $20 million over four years according to NESN.com.
At cornerback, beyond Gilmore, the Patriots have Eric Rowe, Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones and undrafted free agent Jonathan Jones.
Rowe played his role well a year ago, and Jonathan Jones saw action in 16 games. Coleman underwhelmed, and the Patriots first draft pick in 2016, Cyrus Jones, couldn’t find his way out of Belichick’s dog house. So the need for veteran leadership and experience is certainly there.
Revis would be smart to take the salary of an average cornerback, maybe something like 2 years and $7 or 8 million to come in an play in the slot or as a third corner in the New England secondary. Granted, he’s never made less than $5 million in a season since his entrance into the league in 2007, it’ll come down to if he wants to get overpaid or if he wants to cement his legacy.
The young Patriot corners could learn from one of the best corners of the past decade, while Revis could ride off triumphantly into the sunset if they repeat as champions in 2017.
He wouldn’t have the spotlight on him while his skills continue to creep downhill. And with all the moving parts in Patricia’s defense, there’s help all over the field if he gets burnt or there’s a bust in coverage.
This is all just guesswork, of course. The Patriots may not want him back, even with their penchant for veterans in the twilight of their career. He himself may even be contemplating retirement. Who knows? But if he wants to add another Super Bowl ring to his trophy shelf, and resumé, a return to New England is the way to go.