After the Buccaneers abruptly cut cornerback Darrelle Revis last year, he quickly landed in New England, with what widely was reported as a one-year contract. In the end, however, the player and his latest new team agreed to a two-year deal.
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft recently described the second year as a placeholder. Revis, who hasn’t commented on his situation, would describe it differently. From the player’s perspective, the second year was aimed at allowing the Patriots to divide the signing bonus over two years, for cap purposes. So, from the player’s perspective, the potential alternatives are: (1) sign a new contract with the Patriots; or (2) be released by March 9 and sign a new deal elsewhere.
Of course, what Revis envisioned a year ago doesn’t mean the Patriots will proceed in that fashion. If they want to give him $20 million fully guaranteed in 2015, they possess the contractual power to do so. But that will conflict with his understanding of the arrangement.
Many will say he shouldn’t be miffed about getting $20 million fully guaranteed for another year of football. But that overlooks the possibility of hitting the open market with his stock much higher than it was a year ago. He has re-established himself as one of the best cover corners in the NFL, and he carries the added sizzle of allowing one of the 31 teams that didn’t win the Super Bowl to take a major chunk out of the defending champions. This year, Revis could get a lot more than $20 million fully guaranteed upon signing on a long-term deal.
A year from now, who knows? Revis will be 30, progressing toward the inevitable conclusion of his career and possibly far less attractive to a new team than he is right now.
So Revis will want a long-term deal that reflects his current value. If the Patriots won’t be giving it to him, he’ll want it from someone else. Sure, $20 million fully guaranteed for one more season would be good. But $40 million or more on a multi-year contract would be even better — especially since this may be his last shot at a major payday.