The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to release Darrelle Revis if they cannot trade him by Wednesday afternoon, which is bad news for guys like Aqib Talib. If and when Revis becomes available, Talib can no longer make the argument that he is the best free agent cornerback on the market. His leverage with the New England Patriots would almost certainly be affected.
The Patriots need a lockdown corner if they want their defense to continue making strides. That was evident last season with the difference we saw when Talib was on the field vs. out with an injury. If New England is not able to get Talib at a fair price, the team could turn its attention toward Revis.
Revis will cost more than Talib, but most would argue he is a better investment. He played in all 16 games for the Bucs last season and was targeted fewer than any other player in the NFL not named Richard Sherman — despite undergoing ACL surgery the previous year. Talib battled a hip issue in 2013 and, unlike Revis, comes with off-field concerns.
Last week, the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin outlined a logical plan the Patriots could use to go after Revis. His ideas centered around the notion that New England would have to trade for the All-Pro corner. If the Pats had the flexibility of being able to sign Revis to a fresh contract that was structured to fit their needs while still paying him what he deserves, the move could make even more sense.
Of course, there will be obstacles. Any team that signs Revis would need to work some salary cap magic. For New England, that could mean restructuring someone like Vince Wilfork or making him a cap casualty.
There’s also the fact that Revis has said in the past that he doesn’t like Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, but we know how quickly things can change when a championship is a legitimate possibility. The Patriots will be a Super Bowl contender without Revis. If they could somehow land their former rival, the rest of the AFC would be terrified.