Darrelle Revis is headed back to where it began.
After Super Bowl season with the New England Patriots, the four-time All-Pro cornerback has agreed to a return to the team that drafted him, the New York Jets.
His agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, made the announcement late Tuesday night, less than five hours into unrestricted free agency. And Revis left his own mark via Twitter shortly thereafter.
The 29-year-old corner will receive $39 million fully guaranteed in his return to the Jets, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. And in all, his contract will earn him $70 million over five years, with $48 million over the first three years.
It’s a deal far from the one Revis agreed to one year ago. It’s one it would be hard to blame him for.
After spending his 2013 campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the No. 14 overall selection in the 2007 NFL draft signed with the Patriots last March on a one-year, $12 million contract with a $20 million option for 2015. The Patriots will still hold $5 million of that cap hit through to the 2015 campaign, but on Tuesday, that was only part of the equation.
New England officially declined Revis’ option when the new league year began at 4 p.m., making the 5-foot-11, 198-pound Pittsburgh product a free agent once again.
And once again, knowing what is now known, the move hits a restart button for the Patriots. Not unlike the departures that transpired over the years before it. Not unlike the departures that shifted the DNA of the defense one way or another.
Revis’ presence allowed the secondary to play primarily Cover-1 man in 2014, while he starred across from fellow free agent Brandon Browner and had re-signed safety Devin McCourty roaming deep. His technique allowed the championship defense to be what it was, while he picked off three passes, limited quarterbacks to 44-of-85 passing, and conceded just 582 yards and four touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.
He was as advertised on the way to a Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seahawks, in which his only catch allowed surfaced as he ran into an official and wideout Doug Baldwin caught a touchdown. Revis was the six-time Pro Bowler, the former AFC Defensive Player of the Year, the best cornerback in football, the difference.
Yet now, he is all of those things elsewhere. And all head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots can do is focus their attention and cap space elsewhere, knowing that the biggest domino in the 2015 free-agent class has fallen back to where he started, in East Rutherford.
New England, in many ways, met their match with Revis. The organization had its number; the corner had his. But in the end, it would be remiss the 363 days weren’t all worth it.
Both sides achieved what they set out to.