It’s now Revis or bust.
Aqib Talib is a Bronco for an absurd amount of money – six years, $57 million with $26 million guaranteed – and the Patriots now must turn their attention to the best corner remaining on the market.
The question now becomes whether the Patriots were already in the process of trying to acquire Revis throughout the past few days or if Talib’s flight will force them now to scramble.
Revis is going to be released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 4 p.m. Wednesday if another team doesn’t deal for him. That will put him on the open market and allow the Patriots to cut the deal they want with him.
But Revis drives a traditionally hard bargain so the Patriots will be paying top dollar to the league’s top corner.
The Patriots currently have $15M in cap space available. They can easily get to $20M with the release of Isaac Sopoaga and a few other minor players. A renegotiation or release of Vince Wilfork would get them around $25M in cap space.
That would clear room for them to make the deal for Revis.
Given New England’s traditionally solid sense of the market, they must have been wise to the fact Talib was being courted and courted heavily. And with Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis, Brent Grimes and Sam Shields either staying put or finding new homes, the Patriots probably had a sense of the market and that all corners would be spoken for except Revis.
The likelihood of Revis is this: despite protests that the Patriots don’t pay, the truth is, they do. Annually. Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady, Jerod Mayo and Wilfork are all proof of that.
Clearly, the secondary they took the field with in the AFC Championship even with Talib wasn’t enough to stem the tide against Denver.
It’s inconceivable they would put themselves in position to go into the 2014 season with Alfonzo Dennard on one corner, Logan Ryan on the other and Duron Harmon at one of the two safety spots and think they improved their secondary.
The Broncos added safety T.J, Ward and Talib on Tuesday. That’s a powerful secondary combo.
Revis reportedly will not take a pay cut to facilitate a trade.
That means if the Patriots swing a deal with the Bucs and Tampa GM Jason Licht – a former Patriots executive – they’ll be on the hook for Revis’ $16M salary.
The Patriots would probably be better off dealing for Revis and giving up the compensation and the $16M salary. Because, if they don’t and Revis hits the open market, there’s no guarantee he’ll go anywhere but to the highest bidder. And that could leave the Patriots out in the cold. Without a blanket for coverage.
It’s now Revis or bust.