One of the biggest names in free agency belongs to someone who isn’t a free agent. Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis is signed through 2015, under a contract that pays out a fully-guaranteed $20 million if Revis is on the roster as of March 10.
Before the Patriots have to decide whether to keep Revis at what would be a cap number of $25 million, the Patriots and Revis will try to negotiate a long-term deal. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, talks have not yet commenced.
They’ll necessarily begin soon. But there’s a chance they won’t begin Monday. Here’s our best guess (not report, but guess) on how they’ll unfold.
The Revis camp likely will know what other teams would pay Revis, if he becomes a free agent. Technically tampering, it’s become common for agents to “gauge the market” when faced with a Door No. 1/Door No. 2 dilemma.
Though Revis has a reputation for chasing the biggest offer, he could decide to take less than what he could get elsewhere to stay with the Patriots. The question becomes how much less would he take?
Another key factor likely will be the amount of money that is fully and completely guaranteed at signing. At a time when the Seahawks may be considering a higher full guarantee as part of a deal with a lower annual average for Russell Wilson, a device like that could be a major factor for Revis.
However it works out, there are three options: (1) Revis signs a new deal with the Patriots; (2) Revis is cut and signs a new deal with another team; or (3) the Patriots keep Revis at $20 million for 2015.
The third option is unlikely, because the parties contemplated that the contract signed in 2014 would be a one-year deal. While Revis wouldn’t like it if the Patriots don’t cut Revis loose absent a new contract, he’d show up for work, earn the $20 million, and inevitably head toward the open market in 2017, since it would cost the Patriots a whopping $30 million to apply the franchise tag.