In the first part of this two part article, I went over the upcoming offensive contract situations as we head into another playoff run. The time to evaluate players who are upcoming free agents is right now until February (hopefully). These are some interesting contracts to watch on the defensive side.
Darrelle Revis – Here’s the thing about Revis – the Patriots need him more than he needs them. Revis shouldn’t take a huge discount to stay here because most teams will want him, even Super Bowl contenders, so don’t give me that ‘he wants to win’ crap. The guy is the balls and QB’s ratings against him are in the mid 50’s. Revis is Batman and makes Patrick Chung look like Robin when in reality Chung is a hack in coverage.
I wouldn’t put it past the Patriots to extend Revis this week simply to annoy the Jets as they head into the game. I would prefer the Patriots to make Darrelle Revis play through the playoffs to see his performance simply because there’s nothing to lose. Revis has already proven he’s the best corner so if you sign him now, or in February, the contract won’t really change. On the flip side, if he struggles, you may gain a little bit of leverage in negotiations.
Devin McCourty – McCourty has been the ultimate Patriot. He played corner when asked and now he’s settled in nicely at safety. Depending on what McCourty asks for, I would try to keep him, but I don’t think McCourty is a player you need to extend yourself for. Right now, McCourty leads the Patriots in interceptions (2) with Logan Ryan and Darrelle Revis.
No one talks about McCourty’s durability, but almost through his fifth season, he’s only missed 3 regular season games and has played in 75. The guy is seldom injured and the safety position can be a taxing one on the body at times. What you get with McCourty is what you get with our next guy, consistency.
Jerod Mayo – Speaking of the next guy, Jerod Mayo is nothing but consistent when he’s on the field. Lately, he hasn’t had much of the ‘on the field’ part as he went down in week 6 in both of the last two seasons. Jerod Mayo is a great assignment linebacker and an exceptional tackler, but the problem you run into is whether or not he’s a play-maker.
Mayo’s loss hurt a lot last year, but this season have the Patriots missed him? Right now the Patriots are 10th in rush defense, but how far does Mayo move the needle? Hightower was thrust into a tough position last year of stepping in for Mayo, but this year he’s looked like he belongs there instead of Mayo.
Mayo’s reworked contract brings his base salary from $3.25 million to $6.25 million and it’s clear that he hasn’t been worth that a majority of his reworked deal. Durability is the first concern, but the second is the additions of Casillas and Ayers paired with the giant leap Jamie Collins has taken. All these factors make him replaceable and makes a tough decision upcoming.