Some thoughts in the aftermath of cornerback Darrelle Revis agreeing to a five-year, $70 million contract with the Jets that includes $39 million fully guaranteed:
1. One of the obvious questions is where the Patriots go from here personnel-wise at cornerback. I don't see any big investment on the free-agent market who would markedly improve who's already on the roster or who fits into the team's culture. The best bet looks like the draft, so time to study up some more on prospects who could add a potential front-line talent to the cornerback group, which includes Florida State's P.J. Williams, Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson and UConn's Byron Jones.
2. The feeling all along was that if Revis landed with the Jets, it would strengthen the Patriots' case in tampering charges against New York. In late December, Jets owner Woody Johnson said, "Darrelle is a great player. If I thought I could've gotten Darrelle for that, I probably would've taken him. It was our best judgment to do what we did. I'd love Darrelle to come back." How much that poisoned the waters for the Patriots is up for debate, but it's hard for me to envision the NFL ruling it isn't an obvious no-no. At last check, the league's review of the tampering charges was pending, and this adds another chapter to it. The Patriots currently have seven 2015 draft picks, will likely pick up at least one additional compensatory pick (projected third round for Aqib Talib), and I wonder if they might get another pick from the Jets at some point in the draft from the tampering charge.
3. Just as the Patriots are projected to receive a high compensatory draft pick in 2015 for Talib's departure last year, they'll likely get a similar one in 2016 for Revis. The highest possible compensatory pick is at the end of the third round. Not a fair trade, of course, but an asset for the future nonetheless.
4. The Patriots were tighter to the salary cap this year, in part because of some of the moves they made in 2014. Based on the way last year ended, that's a trade-off most would take. These things run in cycles, and the team's flexibility should be greater in 2016 when some of the team's younger core players could be considered for contract extensions; a group including linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, defensive end Chandler Jones and left tackle Nate Solder.
5. It's been fun to match up the actual contracts signed by Patriots free agents and our proposed deals. Revis' deal with the Jets included $39 million fully guaranteed, while our proposal had the number at $42 million (although it wasn't specified as fully guaranteed). The proposed contract also had a higher total value ($80 million) than the total value of his deal with the Jets ($70 million), a result of higher base salaries in the final two years of the pact. So we overshot it slightly.