BOSTON (CBSMiami) – If Miami Dolphins fans wanted to know why the team has been chasing the New England Patriots for the better part of a decade now, all they have to do is look at the sequence of moves that went down over the last two days.
Word broke Tuesday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were trying to trade cornerback Darrelle Revis, or would release him before a $1 million bonus was due on Wednesday. Revis wasn’t willing to renegotiate his contract, so a trade seemed unlikely at best.
At the same time, the New England Patriots were debating whether to re-sign cornerback Aqib Talib. The troubled cornerback had kept himself clean in New England and was considered one of the top corners available, before the Revis news broke.
The Patriots decided to let Talib walk rather than pay him a massive new contract. Talib left the Patriots and quickly signed with the Denver Broncos for 6-years and $57 million with $26 million guaranteed.
Word quickly began to spread the Patriots were eyeing Revis as a replacement for Talib. The news was made official Wednesday night when the Patriots signed Revis to a one-year contract for $12 million.
Instead of re-signing a cornerback that hadn’t finished the last two seasons, the Patriots let him walk and replaced him with arguably the best cornerback in the league. Plus, the Patriots aren’t locked into a long-term contract that could hamstring the franchise in a few years with salary cap issues.
So in a series of moves, the Patriots let a good cornerback walk away and sign a long-term contract with a rival and replaced him with the best cornerback at the same age for a one-year contract that will also allow the team to franchise Revis next season if necessary.
Now, consider what the Dolphins have done in the last week or two. They’ve made a series of good moves re-signing Brent Grimes at a fair market value price and overpaid for left tackle Branden Albert a year after overpaying for wide receiver Mike Wallace.
The Fins’ signings of Grimes, Albert, and Wallace will cost a cumulative $32.825 million against the salary cap next season. Meanwhile, the Patriots can keep Revis on a franchise tag, re-sign him, or let him walk away with no cap penalties.
Remember, the Patriots were at their most dangerous when they had a lockdown corner that allowed the defense to put plenty of pressure on the cornerback. With Revis, the Patriots have the best corner in the game, which should allow Belichick plenty of room to create devastating blitz pacakges.
It’s just another reason why the AFC East is perpetually chasing Belichick as long as he walks the sidelines and Tom Brady is under center.