The Patriots just lost their best defensive player. Darrelle Revis is going to sign with the New York Jets.
Greedy Darrelle is going to New York for a five-year, $70 million contract. He’s going to make $48 million over the first three years of his Jet contract. He’s now got $39 million in guaranteed money coming his way.
The clever Patriots would not go for that. They reportedly stopped short at a guarantee of $35 million.
So, if the reports are true, this New England team, flush with cash, lost its best defensive player for $4 million.
Naturally, you are all OK with this. You are Patriots fans. Your team just won a Super Bowl. You subscribe to a long-standing policy that your team will not pay stupid money for talent. Sure, the Patriots have the money, but that’s not the point. The point is that players don’t matter. It is the system that matters. The system wins Super Bowls. The coach wins Super Bowls. The owner wins Super Bowls.
And you love it. You love that your team doesn’t play the Stupid Game. Your team doesn’t do the foolish things that other teams do. And your team just won the Super Bowl. So who is going to question the Patriot way? Only a fool.
Clearly, the Jets are idiots. Again.
The Patriots rented Revis for one year and they got what they wanted. They won a Super Bowl. So line up and guzzle the Patriots Kool-Aid. Never mind that the Patriots could keep on winning Super Bowls and keep their best defensive player. It’s more important that they win at the negotiating table. It’s all about the value.
It’s about the value because the Patriots are not only the best team on the field. They are the smartest. They are the most clever. They are playing chess while the other dimwits are playing checkers. Pity those foolish Steelers and Giants and Ravens and Broncos. And Jets. They do not know how to do business. The Patriots know how to win and they know how to do business.
When the Patriots parted ways with Revis, the Jets were ready with a bag of money. Everybody in this NFL-crazed nation knew the Patriots were never going to pay Revis $20 million for 2015, with a salary-cap hit of $25 million. But not everybody knew the Jets were going to lose their minds. That’s why they are the Jets.
Revis’s defection becomes the latest chapter in the ancient Patriots-Jet border war. Remember Bill Parcells? Curtis Martin? Bill Belichick? Eric Mangini? Now we have the Jets acting like the stooges we know them to be. They just added a great cornerback to their woeful, non-contending team. And the smarter-than-everybody Patriots no doubt believe they have a valid tampering claim against New York. It’s all there on tape. We heard Jets owner Woody Johnson gushing about Revis in December. Not cool. The Jets brought Revis back into their family just a few short hours after the Patriots set free the All-Pro cornerback? What’s up with that?
So now it’s time to fire up the Patriots media cartel. Time to demonize Revis.
Has anybody noticed that Revis only had two interceptions last year? Clearly, this guy is overrated. Right? And now we know for sure that he cares only about money. If he really cared about winning football, he would have stayed here for less. But no. Ultimately, Revis showed his true colors. He chose money over legacy. What a loser.
If I may stray from the party line for a moment, there might be some legitimate questions here. If the Patriots were willing to make Devin McCourty the highest-paid safety (five years, $47.5 million), in football, why did they draw the line on Revis, who is better at corner than McCourty is at safety? And how are they going to take the hit of also losing Brandon Browner in the defensive backfield?
Revis changed everything in 2014. In the six seasons after the undefeated season of 2007, the Patriots were good, but never great; not even when they got back to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis against the Giants. They were always good enough to win the AFC East (like signing up for AOL), but they were not good enough to keep good offenses off the field when it mattered.
Then along came Revis. In 2014, Revis enabled the Patriots to play any kind of defense Belichick wanted. Revis routinely erased the best receiver on the other team. Calvin Johnson. A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton. Revis got more Pro Bowl votes than any corner in the NFL. More votes than flavor-of-the-year Richard Sherman.
We know the Patriots don’t like to work with a gun at their heads. They like value. They don’t spend to the cap and they don’t like to overpay. Just because somebody else is willing to pay stupid money, why should New England?
Ordinarily, this thinking works with the Patriots and their fans. It’s “In Bill We Trust.’’ Fans support the team when Wes Welker leaves and when Logan Mankins is traded. Usually, this blind loyalty is rewarded. We just had another Duck Boat parade.
It seemed that Revis was different. He was the best player at a crucial position. He delivered a Super Bowl.
You would have thought he was a guy the Patriots could not afford to lose.
But there is no such player. It’s not about any one player. It’s about the system. The Patriots usually win, and sometimes lose, but at the bargaining table the Patriot Way is the only way. No player is bigger than the system.Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org