When it comes to his future in New England, Darrelle Revis is facing an important stretch. (Getty Images)
This week kicks off an important stretch when it comes to the future Darrelle Revis and the Patriots, as the team and the cornerback are facing a few important deadlines as it relates to his current deal.
March 2 – The deadline for the 2015 franchise tag is set for Monday afternoon. This deadline is moot, as the Patriots cannot hit him with the franchise or transition tag for 2015. However, New England still has exclusive negotiating rights with the cornerback when it comes to a possible new deal, one we’ve written about in the past. (Joel Corry of CBS Sports also has a terrific breakdown on what it might take to get a new deal for Revis here.)
March 9 – The deadline for Revis’ option year for the Patriots. If option is picked up, he would make $20 million in 2015 with New England (with a $25 million camp number), including a $12 million roster bonus, which would be due on March 10. Even for a difference-maker like Revis, it’s a massive number, and as a result, it wasn’t a surprise to hear Patriots president Jonathan Kraft tell WEEI last month that he viewed the option as a “placeholder” that would keep in New England for another year.
“He is under contract for next year. I realize that it’s probably, people understand that that’s a placeholder,” Kraft said on Feb. 6. “We’ll get to work on trying to make that happen and hopefully both sides will want to make a deal and we’ll get that done. He’s been everything and more since he’s been here.”
As Pro Football Talk notes, if the Patriots do exercise the option on Revis, franchise safety Devin McCourty (at roughly $9.5 million a year) and pay cornerback Brandon Browner the $5.5 million they currently owe him for 2015 ($2 million of which comes in the form of a roster bonus due next week), that would mean they’d be committing more than $40 million to their secondary, a massive amount that could leave some other key free agents (Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Stephen Gostkowski) out in the cold when it comes to potentially re-upping with the Patriots.
If the option isn’t exercised — as previously stated — the Patriots are prohibited from designating Revis as their franchise or transition player for 2015. That would mean he’d be released, and free to negotiate with anyone else. However, there is the remote possibility that the Patriots could exercise the option on Revis, and then circle back around with his reps in an attempt to try and re-work the deal in hopes of gaining more financial flexibility down the road.
Match 10 – The start of the new league year. At that point, if the Patriots have not picked up his option for 2015, Revis is a free agent, and is available to begin negotiations with anyone else. While it would free up a sizable amount of cap space for New England, it would also mean the Patriots would be bidding against the rest of the field for the cornerback.
There would be no shortage of suitors for Revis — Jets owner Woody Johnson said on Dec. 29 he’d love to have Revis back with the Jets, while new Buffalo coach Rex Ryan has a deep relationship with the cornerback who he worked with for six seasons in North Jersey. That doesn’t even take into account the rest of the league, who would gladly pony up the cash for a chance to sign Revis.
Over the summer, there was a report that the Patriots had already started working on Revis about a potential long-term deal, but when talk of his current contract came up over the course of the year, he quickly shut things down.
“I mean, you guys know my contract — there’s no reason to really get into it,” he said in June. “I’m here. I’m here for this year.
“Everything else will take care of itself after the season.”
And now, both sides have arrived at that point. While it’s important to note that the team-building process is a year-round activity, it’s clear that the first steps in the creation of the 2015 team — and whether or not Revis will be part of the mix — will start to come into sharper focus over the next few days.