The New England Patriots have acquired prized cornerback Darrelle Revis in possibly the biggest free-agent signing this offseason by an NFL team.
The two sides reached a one-year, $12 million deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
The move comes one day after the Patriots lost their top cornerback Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos as part of free agency. They’ll replace Talib with a player who most consider to be one of the top two cornerbacks in the NFL, along with Seattle’s Richard Sherman.
At $12 million, Revis will be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, as he was last year on a $16 million contract.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers parted ways with Revis earlier Wednesday because of his contract, which they deemed too expensive for a franchise in rebuilding mode.
Despite not being 100 percent healthy last season, Revis played in all 16 games for Tampa Bay. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in six seasons.
Talib also had an excellent year, but left the last two AFC Championship games with injuries, both of which New England ultimately lost.
Earlier this offseason, owner Bob Kraft hinted the Patriots might not be willing to commit longterm to Talib beacuse ‘ he wasn’t on the field a lot of the time since he’s been with us.’
Revis, however, has been relatively reliable health-wise during his career. He has played an average of 15 out of 16 games in six of his seven years in the NFL, only missing significant time in 2012, when he suffered a torn ACL.
And with a one-year contract, both sides can see if they’re comfortable with a partnership before committing long-term.
The response to the signing by NFL insiders and fans on social media was overwhelmingly positive Wednesday evening.
“Martha’s Vineyard to be renamed ‘Revis Island’ for the next 365 days,” tweeted Megan Cassidy of ESPN, referencing Revis’ popular nickname.
“Revis was the only available player that was an upgrade over Talib, who was excellent in his 1.5 years with the Patriots,” wrote ESPN’s Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss.