Even if you do live under a rock, you probably heard that the Pats signed Darrelle Revis to a 1 year, $12 million deal. And if you are a Pats fan with a pulse, you’ve probably already read 1000 comments about it. I don’t want to sound repetitive, so I’ll try to cover some stuff in the deal that I don’t think many others are saying.
First, while it might be true that the contract contains nothing preventing the Patriots from franchising Revis next year, I don’t think that will come into play. People consistently talk about how much of a “businessman” Darrelle Revis is, but somehow don’t extend that form of thinking into the talk about franchising Revis. There is an infinity percentage that Revis would hold out if he has a good season and then the Pats still franchise him. If he has an injury plagued season and Belichick thinks it’s the only way to keep him, then maybe that changes, but if he plays like the $16 million man he was only 24 hours ago, he’s holding out. And I think BB knows that.
Also, as a few, but not a ton of people, have noted (Ben Volin and Mike Loyko both summed it up pretty well on Twitter), the next major action that the Pats will make personnel wise is to try and restructure Vince Wilfork’s contract. Wilfork’s cap hit is $11.6 million, but New England could save $8 million by cutting him. Wilfork will turn 33 during the season, and he’s coming off of an injury plagued year. Considering that he hates being franchised (he said he’d hold out if he was franchised going into 2010), maybe Wilfork would want to negotiate a smaller deal that stipulates that he can’t be franchised next year as a guarantee. Then again, I think even he knows that he is unlikely to be worth it next year. But if Wilfork doesn’t restructure, then his era in Foxboro is probably over.
The Pats still need at least one DT, depending on whether or not Wilfork is back, S to replace Gregory, LB to replace Spikes, and probably a WR and TE. Even if they fill all those holes, remember, the defense wasn’t exactly great last year. It would be nice to get some actual upgrades and not just roster fillers. The Pats have only around $5-6 million left in cap space before whatever they do with Wilfork. They could save $2.1M by cutting Tommy Kelly, and, if what I’m seeing at the very useful overthecap.com is correct, then they could also save another $1.1M by cutting Adrian Wilson. I had thought that Wilson was unofficially retired, and that his contract wouldn’t mean much. If that’s the case, I don’t know why Belichick hasn’t already cut him. Overthecap is awesome, but I question whether or not their info on Wilson is correct there. Then again, they would know better than I.
If Stephen Gostkowski hadn’t been so damn good last season, he’d probably be cut to save $3 million, as $3.8M is a lot for a kicker. But he was so damn good last year.
Now that Eric Decker got an average of $7.25M per for 5 years, which was a little more than expected, it’s another reason that I don’t see Edelman coming back. We’re gonna miss him, but I think he’s replaceable enough to let go. I’d rather offer Hakeem Nicks a prove-it deal, like the one Revis got but obviously for a lot less. Nicks is really talented, only 26, and, lest we forget, Eli Manning was not a very good NFL quarterback last year. Tom Brady is better. I don’t know why Nicks isn’t getting more attention, and I hope the Pats sign him for relative peanuts.
Mark Ockerbloom of Fox 25 reported that Brandon Browner is in town to visit the Pats tomorrow. I would also love this signing. Sure, he’s suspended for the first 4 games of the season, but this could be another cheap, buy low move by Belichick. You know that Browner would love to prove himself on a big stage — with a defensive genius coaching him that could improve his value, although the Seattle defense was no slouch the past few years — in order to cash in next year. BB could get a top corner for nothing. The Pats secondary might go from Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard (both of whom had durability questions last year), Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Kyle Arrington, Tavon Wilson, and Steve Gregory to Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, McCourty, an improved Ryan, a hopefully-healthy-and-not-in-jail Alfonzo Dennard, an improved Wilson, and whoever else the Pats get at safety in free agency or (likely) in the draft. I like it.
But the Pats still need one more pass rusher, in my opinion. The loss of Spikes hurts their run defense, and the loss of Wilfork would be huge. If both of those guys are gone, then they will have to use Wilfork’s cap space to upgrade there, too, but it’s time the Pats had a pass rush to help its secondary, however improved it may be. If I had my choice, the Pats would get somewhere between $10-13 million after doing whatever they do with Wilfork, and they’d get Nicks and Browner for cheap. Then they’d go for 2 of the 3 of DT, LB, and S with high picks in the draft, and fill in the 3rd of the 3 positions either later in the draft or with a minimum salary-type pickup.
The worst thing about signing Darrelle Revis is that, because he’s Darrelle Revis, there’s a 90% chance he holds out before Week 1. Just kidding, he’ll on the field for the Patriots this season. That feels good to say.