After a frenzy of activity took many big names off the free-agent market, we now have one very big name to add to the mix.
The Patriotswill not pick up the option on Darrelle Revis' contract, meaning that he's set to hit free agency at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. New England was set to pay Revis an exorbitant salary of $20 million. The Patriots and Revis will continue to negotiate a potential contract, but they will have competition for his services now.
So where could Revis land?
1. New York Jets
We'll make the Jets the slight favorite for Revis' services for a few reasons. The Patriots have had the last month to come to terms on a new contract for Revis, and they failed to do so. In theory, they still have another 24 hours to get a deal hammered out before Revis hits the open market. The Jets can't negotiate with Revis until after the Patriots officially decline his option. That hasn't happened yet.
In practice, Revis did not make this decision in a vacuum. It would be naive to think that he doesn't have a fair sense of his market value in comparison to New England's offers thus far. Owner Woody Johnson "misspoke" publicly about wanting Revis back, which inspired the Patriots to file tampering charges.
Recently, the New York Daily News has reported that Johnson wants Revis back. Watching Revis win a ring for the Patriots must have been tough to swallow, and the Jets have a ton of cap space to spend. (Thank you, John Idzik.) On deals this big, ownership involvement can add those few extra millions to complete a deal.
A return makes sense on the field as well. The Jets are wildly thin at cornerback and new coach Todd Bowles runs a scheme that relies on tough man coverage cornerbacks. Around The NFL's Dan Hanzus put it well in our newsroom Monday: This all adds up to finally creating the contract that Revis has always wanted.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick has to feel very uncomfortable. He doesn't want to get in a bidding war with the Jets for Revis, but he also knows how valuable Revis is to his defense. The "winning culture" argument probably isn't going to work with Revis. He reportedly took less money to play in New England last year, got his ring and now he's ready to cash in.
The Patriots are far tighter in the salary cap than the Jets. Revis is looking at a cornerback market in which Byron Maxwell, Kareem Jackson, and Brandon Flowers are accounted for. It's a market in which a defensive player like Ndamukong Suh can make far more money per-year than Peyton Manning. In short: The Patriots will have to pay Revis a salary that rivals Tom Brady. It wouldn't shock us if that happened because Revis is valuable and there is something personal on the line here while competing for the Jets. We give the Patriots a fair chance to bring Revis back, but the Jets deserve the edge.