Like it or not, “The Patriot Way” works. It’s a real thing. And it’s the reason why Bill Belichick’s “next man up” philosophy is so effective in New England.
But that doesn’t make Darrelle Revis’ departure OK.
Revis returned to New York on Tuesday, signing a five-year, $70 million deal with the Jets, the team he spent the first six years of his career with. The deal guarantees him $39 million over the first three years. And in the NFL, the only number you need to look at is “guaranteed” money.
Now that he’s back with the Jets, we may never know the real story. We may never truly know what it would have taken to bring him back to New England. Because I don’t expect Revis to say anything other than, “I wanted to come home to New York.”
But here’s what we know. Revis is a business man. Always has been, always will be. Believe what you want, Revis was going after the most guaranteed money he could get. I’ve yet to read the report that says Revis turned down $45 million guaranteed. The only report we’ve heard is that the Patriots weren’t willing to go beyond $35 million guaranteed. And regardless of how well “The Patriot Way” works, letting Revis leave town at this moment in time is a horrible move.
Revis turns 30 in July, but he’s still the best defensive player in football. That’s an opinion, of course. But seeing his impact on the Patriots’ defense last season, it’s a borderline fact.
Now, I’ll never crush a player for chasing the money, especially in the NFL. And the best defensive player in football, coming off a Super Bowl championship, deserves to get paid. But the Patriots should have been in a position where they’d want to pay him. Because over the next few years, Belichick and Tom Brady have a chance to do something special: win a fifth ring. And Revis gave them their best shot at doing so.
Look, without Revis, the Patriots will probably still win the division. Under Belichick and Brady, they won’t fall off the face of the earth. But their defense won’t be the same.
Perhaps the Jets were always going to counter with an offer higher than the Patriots. So maybe the Jets were never going to let Revis return to New England.
But it doesn’t look like the Patriots tried too hard to keep him around.
And knowing what they have a chance to do in these next couple of years, I have a major problem with that.
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