By Sam Fortier
As the confetti rained down upon Darrelle Revis, he clutched the Lombardi Trophy, cradling it like an infant and kissing the crown.
But as the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory grew an hour old, books all around Las Vegas were already looking forward to the next season.
Now, with the parade over and pictures of Tom Brady already in training splashing across the internet, it appears the celebration for a Super Bowl has now become even shorter.Embed from Getty Images
With it comes the question of, “How will the Patriots repeat?” which is closely linked to the question, “Will the Patriots re-sign Revis?” If not, where does Revis go? There are only three options, each an AFC East team.
Revis’ 2-year deal was structured in a way that made it unlikely for the Patriots to continue paying him because his cap hit jumped – nearly quadrupling – from $7 million last season, to $25 million this season.
If the Patriots do not honor that agreement –which they’re not likely to do – this mean Revis becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Is Revis a hired gun, meaning that now he got what he came for (a championship), he’ll just leave? Will Revis follow his old coach to Buffalo? Does he love New York to the point where he’ll once again sign with the Jets?
It’s unclear if winning the Super Bowl made Revis more apt to stay or less apt, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Revis also reportedly loves Rex Ryan (the feeling’s mutual) and at the same time, he enjoys New York.
For Buffalo, pairing Revis with their former first-rounder Stephen Gilmore and solid second Corner Back Gorey Graham would be ideal. Plus, Leodis McKelvin, who went on injured reserve in November, returns next season, giving the Bills a solid, deep core of defensive backs.Embed from Getty Images
The crack in this plan is presented by the NFL’s salary cap. Spending $15+ million annually on Revis – which is what Pro Football Talk thinks it will take – is a serious commitment and would mean that the Bills would have to forgo the chance of signing someone else.
Jerry Hughes, the 26-year-old Defensive End, will command a big deal on the free-agent market this fall. He’s been a big part of the Bills defense the last two years, piling up 20 sacks with the fearsome duo of Mario Williams which made the Bills the NFL’s fourth-stingiest in yards against, via NFL.com.
Plus, the Bills needs right now begin with a quarterback as its duo of EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton clearly did not accomplish any task set to them this season.
This will be the first test of Ryan’s tenure in Buffalo to see how much power he possesses with the front office, because if he is going to get Revis, it’ll take quite a bit, but his relationship with Revis may be the deal-maker.
The other sneaky team rumored to be in the Revis-mix is the New York Jets, the franchise which took him in the first round of the 2007 draft. Jets’ owner Woody Johnson reportedly would “love” to have him back, and apparently Revis loves the city.
But how much does he love the city? Enough to re-join a squad which finished 4-12 last season without much hope? Enough to re-join a mediocre, 14th-ranked passing defense (according to Pro Football Focus)? Enough to go back to a team when his favorite quality about them was the coach who now has his office in Buffalo? Enough to actually play in New Jersey?
These questions make Revis’ return to New York unlikely, but not impossible. The Jets could blow Revis away with a huge offer, it has the fourth-largest projected future cap space, according to overthecap.com.
A Revis-Dee Milliner pairing would elevate the franchise, much less the defense.Embed from Getty Images
Finally, a Revis re-run in New England:
This scenario makes the most sense team-fit wise because the Patriots won the Super Bowl this year because they had a better defense than in 2007 and 2011. Sure, Malcolm Butler, an unheralded undrafted rookie, made the big play, but Revis shutdown Jermaine Kearse with the exception of getting picked by a referee and the catch which was second-coming of David Tyree.
Revis took away teams’ best options, losing him would be a huge blow for the Patriots. They know this.
The Patriots, however, have the third-fewest room in its cap. It is actually in the hole by near $5 million so Revis’ deal must be creative.
But, the Patriots will surely make it work if Revis wants to return.
Either way, it’ll be each team clamoring for his services.
Darrelle Revis is now on the clock.