The Patriots have agreed to contract terms with three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, according to his business manager.
"Now it's Official.@Revis24 has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots!" John Geiger tweeted Thursday.
The Patriots wasted little time in finding a replacement for another top cornerback. On Tuesday, Aqib Talib left for a six-year contract worth a reported $57 million with the Denver Broncos.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the three-time All-Pro on Wednesday before he was due a $1.5 million bonus. Revis was cut after efforts to trade him and his $16 million salary failed.
Now he's with New England, the AFC rival of the New York Jets, the team Revis spent his first six seasons with before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before last year's draft.
As a Jet, Revis faced the Patriots 12 times in the regular season and postseason, more than any other opponent. He had two interceptions, nine passes defensed, one fumble recovery and 50 tackles in those games.
Revis, known for his lock-down coverage of receivers, trademarked the phrase "Revis Island," a nickname he was given because of his ability in man-to-man coverage.
He's an upgrade over Talib, and more durable, and comes to a defense that allowed the 15th most yards passing in the NFL last season and the seventh most overall. The Patriots also could use another pass-rushing defensive end to complement Chandler Jones, who led them with 11 1-2 sacks last season.
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They won the AFC East with a 12-4 record but lost the AFC championship game in Denver 26-16 as Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Patriots usually don't sign big-name veteran free agents. Last year, they let wide receiver Wes Welker leave for Denver and replaced him with oft-injured free agent Danny Amendola, who caught 54 passes in a disappointing season.
Now the Patriots can focus on finding receivers to help Tom Brady, who will be 37 when he begins his 15th NFL season.
Julian Edelman, who emerged last season with a career-high 105 catches, is a free agent but could remain with New England.
Other free agent wide receivers who might interest the Patriots are Jason Avant, who has 297 catches in eight seasons with Philadelphia, Brandon LaFell, who has 167 catches in four seasons with Carolina, and Emmanuel Sanders, who has 161 catches in four seasons with Pittsburgh. They combined for 154 catches for 13 touchdowns last season.
Revis spent less than a year with the Bucs, who obtained him from the Jets for a first-round choice last year and a fourth-rounder this year. But with Lovie Smith taking over as coach after Greg Schiano was fired and Jason Licht becoming general manager, both in January, the Bucs are rebuilding a team that went 4-12.
If Revis had remained on Tampa Bay's roster at 4 p.m. Wednesday, he would have been due the bonus, and the 2014 pick the Bucs sent to the Jets would have become a third-rounder.
Just 28 years old but a five-time Pro Bowl selection, Revis, a first-round draft pick in 2007, likely will team with Alfonzo Dennard, drafted in 2012, as the starting cornerbacks. Dennard could see a lot of passes thrown his way since teams are reluctant to throw toward Revis.
Dennard, 24, is currently serving a 60-day jail term in Lincoln, Neb., for a 2012 assault on a police officer. He began the term last Saturday and must serve at least 35 days, after credit for good behavior and the three days he already spent in jail.
Defensive captain Devin McCourty is one starting safety, but the other spot is open after the Patriots released Steve Gregory after last season.
Revis started all 16 games last season for Tampa Bay after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and receiving a $96 million, six-year contract. He played in just two games for the Jets in 2012 after starting 77 of their 80 regular-season games in his first five NFL seasons. He made the Pro Bowl last season when he had two interceptions, a sack and two forced fumbles.
Releasing Revis "was a tough decision. He's a very good player," Licht, a former personnel executive with the Patriots, said at a news conference Wednesday. "Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season."
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