The hunt for Darrelle Revis' signature has ended almost as quickly as it began.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Revis has agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots:
CB Darrelle Revis and the New England Patriots have reached agreement on a one-year, $12 million deal, league sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2014
However, Newsday's Kimberley Martin reports the deal may not be done just yet:
Ummmmm... (Revis' business manager) RT @JohnGeiger_: As of now, nothing has been agreed to with Revis and Patriots.— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) March 13, 2014
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the star cornerback after just one season with the team, per the Bucs' Twitter account:
General manager Jason Licht issued the following statement in the team's official press release:
We would like to thank Darrelle for his time and effort with our organization last year. Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season. We have specific ideas regarding the best way to build this defense and, while you never like to lose a good player, we believe this is in the best interests of our team moving forward. Darrelle was a true professional here in Tampa Bay and we wish him continued success in his career.
Translation: We don't want to be buried by his huge contract, we couldn't trade him and he isn't a good enough fit in our defense to justify the expense.
The NFL media Twitter account provides another quote from Licht that suggests teams were interested in trading for Revis:
Licht on how close they came to trading Revis: "It came close couple of diff times but at end of the day the teams didn’t feel comfortable."— NFL Media PR (@InsideNFLMedia) March 12, 2014
But plenty of teams out there are likely willing to splash the cash to bring aboard Revis, who is still only 28 years old and is arguably the best man-to-man cover corner in the NFL. So, which teams can we expect to enter the fray for the superstar corner?
Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com is hearing the Philadelphia Eagles could be in the running:
Source tells me the Eagles are expected to be among the teams in mix for UFA Darrelle Revis.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 12, 2014
It would make sense.
The Eagles had a dreadful secondary last year and lack a lock-down No. 1 cornerback. The team already added Malcolm Jenkins to improve its safety position—and could see the top corners fall off the board before it selects in the first round—so adding Revis would represent a huge upgrade for its defense.
But the popular pick to win the Revis sweepstakes has been the New England Patriots. Consider the following, from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
Member of Darrelle Revis camp chimes in on if he thinks cornerback will end up on Patriots (assuming he's cut). "It's going to happen" #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 12, 2014
Mehta later confirmed that both parties were interested:
The Daily News has learned that the Jets and the Darrelle Revis camp have discussed the possibility of a reunion one year after a bitter divorce sent the All-Pro cornerback to Tampa.
And after the Denver Broncos signed Aqib Talib on Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter predicted the Pats would be players in the Revis bidding:
And now with CB Aqib Talib a Bronco, Patriots figure to make a real push for Darrelle Revis.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014
Another team that might make a play for Revis is the Cleveland Browns, reported Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com:
Cornerback is a high priority for the Browns in free agency, a league source told cleveland.com. But some of the best ones are already off the market, including Green Bay's Sam Shields, Talib and Alterraun Verner, who signed with Tampa Bay and made Revis expendable.
In addition to being arguably the best shutdown corners in the NFL, "Revis Island'' would help set the tone here for Pettine's new defensive scheme and provide locker room leadership.
The thought of Revis pairing with Joe Haden at the position is terrifying. And the Browns make more sense than you might think—they have the cap space and they play the style of pass defense he prefers (i.e. they'd allow him to operate on an island and lock down an opponent's best receiver in man coverage). Revis also has ties to the team's new head coach, Mike Pettine, who was his defensive coordinator with the New York Jets for four seasons.
The Browns already have a solid defense, so adding Revis would make them formidable.
Of course, more teams are likely to emerge in this mix. Could the Oakland Raiders decide to simply out-bid every other team with their excessive cap room? Will a surprise team emerge?
Let the hunt begin.