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March Madness Underway for Patriots, Darrelle Revis

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Darrelle Revis may be gone after just one season in New England.Getty Images

Darrelle Revis got his ring.

It was exactly what he wanted from the Patriots - a championship to cement his legitimacy as one of the best cornerbacks of all time.

The money always was going to be the easy part.

Revis went to Pitt. Dan Marino went to Pitt. Marino is the Greatest NFL Player Ever Who Didn't Win A Championship Ring. Revis had the potential to nudge next to Marino on that podium following his run with the Jets and Bucs.

That's no longer a concern.

A ring. Followed by the metaphoric ringing of the cash register. Revis was paid $12 million and got a championship for his brief one-year stand with the Patriots in 2014. He took minimal risk by signing that bogus "two-year" deal. Most folks figured out immediately that deal really a one-year contract disguised as something else. The Patriots simply made it official on Monday.

The Revis plan, it seems, was to play one year here, win a title, then hit the open market and sign for a bazillion dollars.

Mission accomplished. Almost.

There is no way on earth, at least in this time-space continuum, that the New England Patriots will offer Revis a better deal financially than the New York Jets. Not going to happen. We're still being told the Patriots are "the favorite" to sign Revis. Many of the local NFL "Experts and Insiders" were caught by surprise the news broke that the Patriots were signing Revis last year.

Anyone who is planning on seeing Tom Brady hoist his fifth Lombardi Trophy next February in Santa Clara, Calif., had better hope their speculation about Revis returning is correct.

The Patriots will give up exclusive control of Revis as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, unless of course they sign him to a long-term deal in the interim. It would have cost New England $25 million to keep Revis from becoming a free agent. The Patriots will eat $5 million in "dead" cap money by not exercising Revis' option, hence the net savings of $20 million.

That's way too much dough for the Kraft family to spend on anyone, for one year, with no long-term guarantee. Thoughts of the Patriots ditching changing their ways, and spending what it would take to keep their Super Bowl-winning secondary intact without any of them risking free agency, were just Super Bowl-highlight fueled dreams across Patriots Nation.

The Pats very rarely stand pat, especially when it comes to expensive free agents.

NFL free agency has become a far more interesting and intriguing version of March Madness than the one trademarked by the NCAA. [Except perhaps for students at Northeastern].

Fans across New England and the digital sphere are left wondering if the core of the Patriots' secondary will return. Brandon Browner, who like Revis was under contract until Monday, has been allowed to shop his wares around the NFL. Presumably to set a market value that the Patriots will [presumably] match.

That's a lot of presumably.

Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots' brain trust reminded us all how smart they were this past season.

In Bill We Trust.

Do Your Job.

We're On To ________.

Words that are now part of the permanent New England lexicon. Words that we would have forgotten had Malcolm Butler not timed Russell Wilson's pass perfectly - thanks in large part to Browner's block on Jermaine Kearse.

The Patriots and their fans now are left clinging to the groundless hope that Revis will take substantially less money to play in New England than he would to play for the Jets, or Chiefs, or whomever else surfaces as a suitor if/when he becomes a free agent Tuesday.

Robert Kraft has spread his wings, at least publicly, in the past week. He watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. Congress last week. Then, two days later, he appeared on Fox Business to talk about Israel, his friendship with Netanyahu [it goes back to Bibi's days at MIT], the economy, his box company, and eventually, NFL free agency.

"The good players are in great demand and fortunately we have quite a few good players who are now free agents and well do our best to keep them. At the same time, the lifeblood of the NFL is the draft and the college players," Kraft said. "Our head coach, the staff and all the scouts are working very, very hard at this point.

The lifeblood apparently isn't No. 24, who basically shut down half the field and served as the difference between reaching another AFC title game and winning another Super Bowl.

The Patriots, we were told Monday, managed to break their financial mold when it came to safety Devin McCourty. They pretty much matched the market price for McCourty, and he agreed to come back at what's been deemed a reasonable number for both sides.

Can they do the same with Revis? There's plenty of real cash and fake cap money available. The Patriots' frugality of the past two years has given them leeway this year [and/or next]. This is thanks to the fact that NFL salary cap penalties are based on a four-year average. In this case, it's from 2013-16.

Much like "Deflategate," the Revis situation and free agency in general remains a fluid situation. Few have ever gotten rich trying to guess what the Patriots will do when it comes to player moves. In the case of Revis, all the signs point[ed] to the fact that he would return to the team. And that's going to back to Brady's latest contract restructure.

For now, the return of Revis to the Patriots hinges on nothing but speculation, football prayers, and your Twitter feed.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Patriots' championship DVD is now available in stores and has arrived in the homes of many who ordered it in the aftermath of Super Bowl XLIX.

It includes lots of highlights featuring No. 24.

His role on next year's DVD remains yet to be determined.

Let the madness commence.


The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros.Reach Bill on the OBF Facebook page, Twitter @realOBF or at
bsperos1@gmail.com
. Thanks for reading.

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