Projecting the financial market for some of the New England Patriots' top free agents:
Player: Darrelle Revis
Age: 29 (birthday: July 14, 1985)
Credentials: Returned to top form in 2014 after working his way back in 2013 from an ACL tear. He started every game in 2014, totaling 14 passes defended and two interceptions while showing a willingness and effectiveness in run support. Statistics don't fully reflect his value because the football often isn't coming his way. Was used as a matchup option in man coverage against top pass-catchers in various game plans. Also fit in off the field, adapting to Patriots' locker room culture and impressing many. "He's been everything and more since he's been here," team president Jonathan Kraft said recently on sports radio WEEI.
Assessing the market: Revis has set the benchmark himself when it comes to average per year at the position, at $16 million. That remains the high point, followed by Arizona's Patrick Peterson ($14.01 million) and Seattle's Richard Sherman ($14 million), with Cleveland's Joe Haden ($13.5 million) the next in line. But part of the reason Revis had such a high average annual value is because of the "placeholder" second year of his Patriots contract, which matched up with his prior deal in Tampa that paid him $16 million per season but didn't have the same bonuses/guarantees as deals later signed by Peterson ($48 million) and Sherman ($40 million). For Revis, a financial win-win would be to keep himself in the $16 million average per year range and match it with bonuses/guarantees of the Peterson and Sherman pacts. It would be unprecedented, and Revis is older than Peterson (turns 25 in July) and Sherman (turns 27 in March), but all it takes is one team to take the plunge.
Our take on Revis' value: Revis' play in 2014 warrants a top-of-the-market contract. He's one of the best in the game, if not the best. In assessing value over his next contract from a team perspective, the question then becomes at what point would that "best in the game" status potentially dip -- third year, fourth year, fifth year, not at all etc.?
Projected contract: Five years, $80 million ($16 million signing bonus, $42 million in first three years).