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If Malcolm Butler isn’t on Patriots in 2017, are there free agents New England could be interested in? 04.10.17 at 12:04 pm ET
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Are there free agents who could replace Malcolm Butler? (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Are there free agents who could replace Malcolm Butler? (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It’s still unclear what will happen with Malcolm Butler for 2017.

It seems unlikely a team will sign him to an offer sheet, but there’s still a chance once he signs his tender he could get traded to another team. Or, he simply could sign his tender and stay in New England and play for $3.91 million.

While remaining with the Patriots remains the most likely scenario, if Butler does depart the Patriots may need to scramble to find another cornerback.

Without Butler, the Patriots would have a big question mark with who to play opposite Stephon Gilmore. Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Justin Coleman are next on the depth chart, but certainly cannot be depended on to step in and be the No. 2 corner. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either step up and prove themselves, but it’s far from a sure thing.

Because of this, if Butler were to leave, the Patriots would likely be in the market for another cornerback. Via the draft wouldn’t be the smartest move because no player at No. 72 overall or lower would likely be ready to contribute on Day 1. A free agent would be the way to go and while the majority of the free agent corners are gone, there are a few who remain available.

Alterraun Verner — This is an interesting one because the Patriots have shown some interest in him in the past. Prior to the 2014 season, he signed a four-year, $26.5 million deal with the Buccaneers and the Patriots were one of the reported interested teams, but signed Darrelle Revis instead. Verner was released by Tampa Bay before the start of free agency to free up some cap space, so perhaps the Patriots make a run at him again. With him still being a free agent, he likely would welcome an offer from the Patriots.

Justin Gilbert — Gilbert was drafted No. 8 overall in the 2014 draft by the Browns, but was effectively a bust. Prior to last season he was traded to the Steelers for a 2018 sixth-round pick. With Pittsburgh, he wasn’t much of a contributor on defense, but did return kicks. The Steelers released him after the season and he remains available. The Patriots could take a shot at bringing yet another first-round player and hope another change in scenery turns his career around. Also, being a kick returner certainly helps his cause.

Darrelle Revis — The former Patriots cornerback is still available so naturally there are still some rumors having him be an option for the Patriots. It is interesting that if the Patriots were interested in trading for Richard Sherman, wouldn’t Revis make more sense because not only would the Patriots not have to give up anything, they wouldn’t have to pay him much either. Yes, Sherman is better than Revis, but the value would point to Revis being a better option. From this viewpoint, a reunion with Revis does not make sense, but certainly remains an option.

Read More: Alterraun Verner, Darrelle Revis, Justin Gilbert, Malcolm Butler
Darrelle Revis back to Patriots? Robert Kraft ‘would love it’ 03.27.17 at 4:47 pm ET
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Robert Kraft would welcome Darrelle Revis back to New England. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Robert Kraft would welcome Darrelle Revis back to New England. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

With Darrelle Revis being a free agent and the Jets owning him $6 million for this season, it’s seen a team could get tremendous value on the cornerback by not paying him a lot of money.

Over the last week the rumors have circulated of a possible return to New England, including one NFL personnel man being convinced it will happen.

Speaking at the NFL league meetings Monday, Robert Kraft endorsed such a move to the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers.

“I would love it,” Kraft said. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome if he wanted to come.”

Myers asked Kraft if there had been any contact between the Patriots and Revis and he replied, “Ask my boy,” referring to Bill Belichick.

It’s worth noting CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran reported last week there hadn’t been any contact between the two sides.

Revis played 2014 with the Patriots where the team won Super Bowl XLIX, but things didn’t end smoothly with the organization as he went on a late night social media tirade against the franchise and then didn’t attend the ring party.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,
Patriots, Darrelle Revis reportedly have not discussed contract 03.24.17 at 9:38 am ET
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Darrelle Revis and the Patriots reportedly haven't talked about a contract.  (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis and the Patriots reportedly haven’t talked about a contract. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

If the Patriots are indeed interested in Darrelle Revis, they haven’t acted on it yet.

According to CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran, the Patriots and Revis have not discussed a deal that would bring the cornerback back to New England.

On Thursday, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora quoted a NFL personnel man who said he is convinced Revis will return to the Patriots.

“We did our work on him. He can still play,” the personnel man told La Canfora. “He can cover. He doesn’t have that long speed anymore; he’s not going to cover a No. 1 receiver deep. But he can cover in tight spaces and he has great instincts. The film is not as bad as some would have you believe. He’s a perfect fit in that quarters scheme Belichick runs, and they have the kind of safeties who can help him out, too. We’re convinced he’s going back to New England. It just makes too much sense.”

 

Revis, 31, was released by the Jets before the start of free agency, but is still owed $6 million from the team, so whatever team signs him likely doesn’t need to give him a big contract.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,
NFL personnel man ‘convinced’ Patriots will sign Darrelle Revis 03.23.17 at 1:41 pm ET
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Despite the fact that he won a Super Bowl with the Patriots, Darrelle Revis left no doubt as to where his allegiance lies these days. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis could potentially return to the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Maybe there was actually something to the rumors of Darrelle Revis returning to the Patriots last weekend.

Speaking with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, a NFL personnel man said he’s convinced the cornerback returns to the Patriots for the 2017 season.

“We did our work on him. He can still play,” the personnel man told La Canfora. “He can cover. He doesn’t have that long speed anymore; he’s not going to cover a No. 1 receiver deep. But he can cover in tight spaces and he has great instincts. The film is not as bad as some would have you believe. He’s a perfect fit in that quarters scheme Belichick runs, and they have the kind of safeties who can help him out, too. We’re convinced he’s going back to New England. It just makes too much sense.”

The Patriots could have a need at cornerback if Malcolm Butler indeed goes to the Saints.

After being released by the Jets before free agency, he’s still getting paid $6 million from the Jets for the upcoming season, so a team that signs him doesn’t need to give him a huge contract. Perhaps, Bill Belichick sees that as value and takes a chance, but Revis had his worst season as a pro last year and reportedly was out of shape most of the year.

For how signing Revis doesn’t make sense for the Patriots, here’s a column from earlier in the week.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,
Why is there buzz surrounding Darrelle Revis potentially signing with Patriots? 03.19.17 at 1:26 pm ET
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There's been recent buzz of Darrelle Revis coming back to the Patriots. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

There’s been recent buzz of Darrelle Revis coming back to the Patriots. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

As soon as charges were dropped against Darrelle Revis in a Pittsburgh court last week, many started to connect him to signing with the Patriots as a way to get his career back on track.

It raises the question, why are the Patriots the team he’s connected to?

First off, he wouldn’t cost much at all considering the Jets have to pay him $6 million, so any team that signs him would not need to give him a big contract with what he’s already getting from the Jets. The Patriots and Bill Belichick love value and Revis’ situation certainly gives him good value to any team that potentially signs him.

Secondly, playing for the Patriots would likely get Revis’ career back on track.

Currently, the 31-year-old is at the lowest point of his career coming off his worst season ever and then having the legal situation hanging over his head. A productive season in New England, likely going deep into the playoffs, would get his career back on track and have teams wanting his services once again. Of course, this is all dependent on Revis putting the work in again (unlike last year with the Jets), which he says he is willing to do.

Also, by playing for Belichick and the organization in 2014, Revis knows the Patriots’ system well and Belichick knows how to use him best.

There’s nothing to suggest the Patriots are actually interested in Revis, but it can be seen why rumors are out there of him signing with the Patriots to get his career back on track.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,
Jets coach Todd Bowles addresses releasing Darrelle Revis, his recent arrest 03.02.17 at 2:09 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis will be a free agent. (Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis will be a free agent. (Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)

The Jets made headlines before the NFL combine began when they informed Darrelle Revis he will be released before free agency begins on March 9.

While Revis’ play slipped last season, some speculated he was released after his arrest for felony assault a few weeks ago.

“No, not at all,” head coach Todd Bowles told reporters Thursday at the NFL combine.

Given his performance last season, the Jets could have tried to switch Revis to safety, but in the end it was better just to release him and move on.

“Obviously, the business side of it … had a lot to do with it as well,” Bowles said. “Trying to move a guy and project a guy from corner to safety at that kind of salary is kind of tough.”

Revis was on the books for close to $10 million in 2017 after signing a five-year, $70 million deal after the 2014 season. Bowles isn’t looking at the deal as a mistake.

“No, I think it was a good idea,” he said. “I think it was a good call at the time. Obviously, he didn’t play as well this year. Neither did anybody else, but he’s a good football player, and that doesn’t bother me at all.”

As for his arrest, that isn’t the person Bowles knows Revis as.

“It’s shocking, because I know the man,” Bowles said. “Forget the football player; I know the man. I know he has good character and he’s a good guy. Sometimes you get put in situations that things happen. I don’t really know what happened or who’s at fault or anything like that. I just know the guy.”

Revis will be a free agent and can sign with any other team.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Todd Bowles,
Jets tell Darrelle Revis he will be released 02.28.17 at 8:15 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis will be a free agent. (Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis will be a free agent. (Jim McIsaac /Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis’ second stint in New York is up.

The Jets announced Tuesday night they have informed the cornerback he will be released and become a free agent on March 9.

“Darrelle Revis is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Jets uniform,” said Jets owner Woody Johnson in the press release. “His combination of talent, preparation and instincts is rare and helped him become one of the most dominant players of his generation. I appreciate Darrelle’s contributions to this organization and, wherever his career takes him, his home will always be here with the Jets.”

Revis, who is 31 years old, faces charges after an alleged altercation that took place nearly two weeks ago in Pittsburgh. The trial has been reportedly pushed back to March 15.

He was going to enter the third year of a five-year, $70 million deal he signed after winning Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots. Revis’ play dipped dramatically in 2016. It will be interesting to see what kind of market he has over the next few weeks.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,
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