There's no reason to kick Aqib Talib on his way out the door. He played 23 good games at cornerback for the New England Patriots, and cashed in on his opportunity to make some bank.
But boy, did the Patriots get an upgrade by signing All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Initially, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported it was a one-year, $12 million contract, but USA Today's Tom Pelissero clarified that the contract is actually for two years and $32 million. The deal is worth $12 million in the first year and has a $20 million club option for a second year.
Darrelle Revis' deal with #Patriots includes an option for 2015 at $20M, including a $12 roster bonus.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2014
If #Patriots exercise option before end of 2014 league year, he'd get a $12M roster bonus April 1, 2015 and have a base of $7.5M in '15.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2014
This means that the Patriots will have a difficult decision to make before the 2015 season, much like the Buccaneers had to make on Wednesday when they released Revis. No matter what the future holds, it's a win-win for the Patriots.
There's little debate from anyone in football cyberspace that Revis is the better player, from a pure football perspective. Talib has limitations against smaller, shiftier receivers. Revis has covered anyone he's been assigned, from shiftier receivers like Wes Welker to big, vertical receivers like Vincent Jackson. Revis' skill set was misused as a zone corner last season. He's good in that role, but he's elite in man coverage.
Factor in the Broncos signing Talib to a six-year, $57 million megadeal with $26 million guaranteed, and we might even have to call it a win-win-win.
The Broncos and general manager John Elway "put a ring on it" for a long-term commitment to a free agent with more than his share of warts. The only thing Bill Belichick and the Patriots are engaged in is a one-night stand with a perfect 10.
Revis may "love" to play for the Patriots, but he is essentially a low-commitment one-year rental, but there are still some options: they can try to re-work his deal during or after the 2014 season, trade him after the season, or simply let him hit the open market. Revis does not have to be one-and-done, but the Patriots do not have to commit big, long-term dollars to him if they don't want to. The future is in their hands.
Talib is the long-term commitment most teams are frightened to make. He's 28, has battled nagging hip and hamstring injuries throughout his career, and has off-field concerns dating back to before his days in New England. There is a distinct possibility that Talib's contract could leave the Broncos hamstrung (
no pun intended) a few years down the line.
Throughout his career, Talib has missed an average of 2.8 games per season to either injury or suspension, and has not played a full 16-game season in his entire career. It's almost a guarantee that the Broncos will not get their full money's worth; based on his career, they'd be lucky to get over 85 percent worth just in terms of Talib's time on the field.
Revis has also missed 17 games in his entire career, but 14 of those were after tearing his ACL in 2012. He is now back to 100 percent after rehabbing during the 2013 offseason and playing all 16 games this past season, for the fifth time in his seven-year career.
The Patriots could have used the franchise tag on Talib, but they should be thankful they didn't. The franchise tag for Talib would have cost $11,834,000, just $166,000 short of Revis' dollar figure. As it worked out, the Patriots are paying $2.5 million "per year" more than the Broncos are for Talib.
Even for the value-crazed Belichick, $12 million for Revis has to feel pretty good compared to the alternatives.
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