Patriots didn’t value Darrelle Revis as much as we thought

FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2014, file photo, New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) defends New York Jets' Jeremy Kerley (11) during NFL football game in East Rutherford, N.J. Revis is coming back to the Jets after winning the Super Bowl with the rival Patriots last season. Revis agents Neil Schwartz and Jon Feinsod wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, March 10, that "pending legal," Revis had agreed to terms on a new deal with the Jets. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
file/Julio Cortez/AP
Cornerback Darrelle Revis (left) will still be lining up against Jets receivers next season — but only in practice.

Here in New England, it’s great to be the Patriots.

They win Super Bowls. They sell out all of their games. They dominate the airwaves. And they enjoy unanimous support of a region that’s downright . . . collegiate.

Really. When it comes to the Patriots, our traditionally cynical, hard-edged, ever-suspicious constituency turns to butter. The Patriots at this hour are very much like the Wildcats of Lexington, Ky. Around the country, there is hatred and jealousy of our juggernaut. Back home, it’s boola-boola 24/7. It’s like Jermaine Wiggins said at the pep rally before the Super Bowl: “They hate us because they ain’t us!’’


In this spirit, we have suddenly come to discover that it was universally understood that cornerback Darrelle Revis was a one-year rental. He was like one of those Kentucky one-and-dones. Thanks for playing. Thanks for the championship ring. No hard feelings.

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Silly me, I didn’t realize this when Revis was here. There was considerable talk about the possibility of the Patriots locking him up with a long-term contract. We were told that Revis liked it here. He liked winning. He liked Bill Belichick. Why would he not want to stay here?

Now that dialogue has dissolved. Now the Patriots knew all along. The same people who told us Revis liked it here are telling us that — all things being equal — Revis was going to go back to the Jets no matter what. And everybody’s buying it, because, well, the Patriots just won the Super Bowl and everything they do is part of a master plan that is unmatched in American sports today.

Baloney. Revis is in New York because the Jets guaranteed him the most money. The Patriots elected to pass when the guaranteed dough got into the upper $30 million range. That doesn’t make them wrong, or evil, but it’s hilarious how toady Patriots fans are suddenly rationalizing their club’s bottom-line decision.

Suddenly, Revis is an “old” 30. Now it’s mentioned that he had only two interceptions last year and wasn’t involved in that many plays.


Oh, and the big whopper. Revis said his decision to go to the Jets wasn’t about money. He’s “going home.’’

What a crock. Revis misses the Statue of Liberty. He likes the New Jersey Turnpike more than he likes Route 1.

No. Revis is not here because the Patriots would not pay him what the Jets would pay him. And that’s OK. But please don’t try to make it something else. That’s what the Krafts and the Patriots always do. Winning is never enough. They have to be more special and smarter than the competition. The need to be loved and admired for “The Patriot Way.’’

It would be nice to hear from the Patriots’ bosses on the Revis topic, but they do not speak to us during this crucial time on the NFL calendar. Most NFL teams are the same. It’s accepted practice. I’m told that Belichick will next be available to the media sometime around March 22 (owners meetings in Phoenix). No doubt Bill will address questions about Revis with something to the effect of “Darrelle Who?’’ or “I’m only here to talk about players who play for the Patriots.’’

Swell. But at the very least, the ever-needy Patriots owner should be accountable. Nobody loves the parades, the CBS-stroking, and the fashion show photo-ops more than Bob Kraft. So where is he when the Patriots won’t pay for their best defensive player?


Why is the decision to bow out on Revis positioned as a Belichick decision? I don’t believe it. When the Red Sox failed to compete for the services of Jon Lester, we certainly knew that it was an ownership decision. Red Sox/Globe owner John Henry was pretty clear about his feelings regarding free agent pitchers over the age of 30. It was Sox ownership that decided not to spend for Lester. It was not general manager Ben Cherington. It was not baseball ops. And we knew it.

I wonder if Belichick — left to his own judgment — would have paid Revis. If it were up to the coach, why not trigger the 2015 option and swallow the cap poison ($25 million) that comes with it? Brilliant capmaster Jonathan Kraft no doubt could figure out how to make it work. Absent that, why not offer Revis $39 million in guaranteed money? Until someone tells us otherwise, this is an ownership call. And it’s OK to say so. The Patriots certainly have a track record of making good decisions in this area.

But they don’t need to explain themselves because their blissful fans will say it for them.

Let Revis go. Let Brandon Browner go. Let Vince Wilfork go. The Patriots don’t want to be in cap jail. The league is changing. Smart teams won’t be playing man coverage in the future. Revis was overrated. Age was creeping up on him. He was going to go to New York no matter what.

If New England signed Revis it would have been a stroke of genius. But since it opted not to commit $39 million, it’s also genius.

Lexington, Mass., is no different than Lexington, Ky. Unconditional love.


Here in New England, it’s great to be the Patriots.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.