Clash of two powerful forces in tale of Darrelle Revis, Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The first day of free agency wasn't a good one for the New England Patriots, not when you lose a player such as cornerback Darrelle Revis to the rival New York Jets.

From a bottom-line perspective, it can be summed up this way: On March 10, 2015, the Jets got better and the Patriots got worse.

That stings.

There will be the standard passionate reactions that result when a landmark shift like this is made. Some will call Patriots ownership cheap. Others will rail on Revis for taking the richest deal that doesn't seem to give him the best chance to win. Some will question Bill Belichick's focus on value. Others might hail the Jets for bringing Revis home.

Chances are you won't have to search far for all of that, and more. Take your pick.

Although it won't move the needle as much as any of the aforementioned topics, I'm not going down any of those paths at this time.

Here's why:

I don't blame Revis. He came to New England on a discount ($12 million in 2014), did everything the team asked of him and more, and then decided to cash in after playing a big role in helping the franchise earn a Super Bowl ring. Just as Belichick often says he makes decisions in the best interests of the football team, Revis is doing the same for himself. He has earned that right and is a darn smart businessman in that respect; Robert Kraft-like, if you will.

As for the Patriots, this comes back to their core beliefs on the best way to build a complete team. They obviously felt matching the contract the Jets gave Revis (five years, $70 million, including $39 million fully guaranteed) compromised them in that area. Many will passionately disagree. At the same time, the track record -- nine conference championships, six Super Bowls appearances and four Super Bowl titles -- speaks for itself. Championships aren't won on March 10, and while the Patriots took a step back Tuesday, they're among the best in the business at adjusting over time. This will be a big challenge for them.

So here's the final takeaway:

For one year, the Patriots gave Revis what he needed -- his first ring, a larger stage to showcase his skills after essentially disappearing the year before in Tampa, and a chance to strike it rich on the open market the next year for likely one final time in his career. In turn, Revis gave the Patriots what they needed -- top-flight cornerback play, a great teammate, a class act and someone whom club president Jonathan Kraft said went beyond what even the team anticipated.

When it came to football for one year, it was a dream-like match. But once it came down to business, Revis and the Patriots in a negotiation were two like-minded forces colliding from opposite ends of the spectrum.

In the end, I keep coming back to the thought that Revis is essentially the player's version of the Patriots -- intelligent, ruthless and often cut-throat at the negotiating table.

We often praise that approach when it works in favor of the team.

It isn't often that the team has it turned on itself, which is what Revis did to the Patriots.