Patriots have until March 9th to decide on Revis’ massive option. (USA TODAY Images)
As the Patriots head into next week there will be some interesting decisions to be made as they try and do the best they can to keep their championship group together, although there will likely be changes heading into 2015 that will see some current players who won’t be around for kickoff in September.
One of the biggest issues facing the team is the obvious one in Darrelle Revis, who has a massive option that some reports say will cause him to hit free agency if it isn’t picked up. Â One would believe the Patriots are trying to hammer out a deal and that Revis should be their top priority, butÂ after New England franchised Stephen Gostkowski, it seems to lean in the direction that Devin McCourty is going to reach free agency and that the they may instead be prioritizing the veteran cornerback in their future.
Keeping the two initially seemed like a possibility, but after the Patriots opted to franchise Gostkowski, that immediately became more difficult. Â However,Â the team clearly felt that the franchise number for McCourty was too high and the good news is placekicker won’t have to be a priority this offseason, but potentially finding a new safety might be. Â Given the issues this team has had in the secondary in recent years up until this past season, losing someone like McCourty would definitely sting and it’s hard to see Duron Harmon or Patrick Chung being guys who can fill his shoes or be the same type of player in coverage.
But in the event deals don’t get worked out and both Revis and McCourty hit the market, there will likely be plenty of suitors lining up to add that caliber of player to their roster, and it’s going to probably become a big problem for New England.Â TheÂ Patriots have a host of other deals that need to be restructured or extended (Nate Solder, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, just to name a few) so if some team opens their checkbook and the two receive above-market value offers, all of a sudden the Patriots priorities will shift dramatically and will be tough to imagine they’ll recover as quickly as they did a year ago when they replacedÂ Aqib Talib‘s signing in Denver by signingÂ Revis. Â This year, there’s not really anyone out there that will measure up to put the minds of fans in New England at ease of losing a guy that finally helped them secure their fourth title.
Needless to say the only constant in the NFL is change and it appears to be on its way in one form or another. Â There was a lot of optimism a couple weeks ago that these two would be in their plans for next season. Â Now we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if they’ll even be around and if not, the challenge will begin for Bill Belichick and company to formulate a plan on how they’ll handle life without them.
MCCOURTY HINTS AT BEING “HOME” IN NEW YORK:
Just imagine the Patriots having to face McCourty against the New York Jets next season. Â It’s not a happy scenario but it sounds like the veteran would be open to it after some of his comments in the NJ Advance MediaÂ where the native of Nyack New York saidÂ that he would be open to signing with a New York team.
âI would be lying if I said that it wouldnât be cool being back home,â McCourty said. âBut I also know being back home comes with some new stresses and different things that way with family and friends being so close. For me right now, everything is open. I donât want to turn something down. Iâm willing to leave everything open and see how it works out.â
For now he’s following the lead of his agent, who looks to be ready to take his client to market and McCourty is ready to take these next few weeks in stride and explore all his options.
âNow itâs deciding what to do next as far as visits and different offers and what will happen from there,â McCourty said. âIâm talking to my agents and seeing whatâs best for me and getting their opinion and what theyâve heard and what they know as of right now.â
– Ben Volin has a good long look at some of the big decisions facing the Patriots, which he points out could be “franchise altering”. Â Among some of the players that will be in focus when it comes to having their deals altered or extended will likely be obvious names like Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, along with Vince Wilfork, Nate Solder, Brandon Browner, Sebastian Vollmer, Jerod Mayo, Danny Amendola, and Kyle Arrington, just to name a few.
– Interesting to hear on the radio outside the New England market that so many people seem to believe Houston’s Andre Johnson could land in New England. Given how little spending money the Patriots have and so many key players of their own they need to sign, it would be hard to imagine them opening up their wallet and giving it to a guy who seemingly could be a problem in an offense where he likely wouldn’t be “the guy” given that they already have three guys in Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell who accounted for 248 of Tom Brady’s 373 completions in 2014. That doesn’t leave much more to go around and unless he’d be happy with a reduced role – which he doesn’t appear to be open to in Houston – it would be a surprise to see him land here.
– The Patriots added long-snapper Tyler Ott on Wednesday, who spent part of the 2014 training camp battling Danny Aiken. Aiken is slated to become a free agent on March 10th and the signing is interesting since Ott didn’t land with another NFL team in 2014. That’s a position that doesn’t get much talk unless something goes wrong, so it may be one to keep an eye on heading into next year in the event Aiken isn’t retained.
– Shane Vereen joined us for a fan Q&A on Twitter yesterday and talked about a variety of topics, and had some fun answers to a few questions he was asked. One of the more notable ones was his answer when asked who the most difficult player he’s had to pass block against. His answer? Teammate Jamie Collins. Other questions included:
Q: When you first got here, how long did it take for you to really get a hold of the Patriots offense?
Vereen: I would say a couple months to learn it but a whole season to really get it
Q: Who do/did you model your game after?
Vereen: Walter Payton is my favorite running back of all time I always wanted to be like him
You can read the entire session by CLICKING HERE.
– The Patriots apparently were one of 22 teams who attended Minnesota’s Pro Day on Wednesday and were also on hand for one held in Virginia. Obviously this is a key time for their scouting department as they start gathering information heading into the draft, but many of these players could be guys who end up making an impact as an undrafted player and as we saw from Malcolm Butler, those are sometimes the ones who make plays when you least expect it. According to several reports the Patriots are expected to visit Clemson’s Pro Day today.
– In a tidbit highlighted by Phil Perry of CSNNE.com, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star telegram the Patriots conducted a private workout with Texas A&M tight end Cameron Clear. Clear is 6’5″, 277lbs and could be on their radar to compliment Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots may be looking to upgrade the position on the other side, which for now has Michael Hoomanawanui and Tim Wright.