Wow. The New England Patriots have signed Darrelle Revis. In a shocking turn of events following yesterday evening's departure of Aqib Talib to the Broncos, the Patriots actually managed to upgrade the cornerback position. The team that "would never spend the money" just signed the player who "would never take a pay cut" to a deal that is lucrative, but still a pay cut.
We're going to spend much of the next few days dissecting the move. But a good place to start is with a quick run-down of the Patriots current cornerback depth chart and how Revis changes things:
1. Darrelle Revis: Revis will be the clear-cut number one cornerback, and perhaps the very best the Patriots have had at the position since Ty Law. Revis can play either the left or right side, and is likely to shadow the opponent's number one wide receiver. With a schedule that includes teams with receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, and Demaryus Thomas, that ability will be a huge asset for the team.
2. Alfonzo Dennard: Dennard was a bit up and down in 2013, but finished the year allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 51.8% of passes thrown his way. He might not have the talent of a number one, and lacks elite athleticism, but he can mix it up with physicality and has good ball skills. He's not a number one cornerback, but is a pretty solid #2.
3. Logan Ryan: If anyone is going to make a jump up the depth chart this season, it might be second year player Logan Ryan. Ryan showed signs of being a difference maker in the secondary late last season, making plays on the football (five interceptions) and displaying good discipline. If he doesn't start opposite Revis, he's a strong candidate to play in the slot as the team's primary nickel back.
4. Kyle Arrington: On paper heading into the offseason, Kyle Arrington likely is the #4 cornerback. In a team as sub-package heavy as the Patriots, he'll still see significant playing time at that place of the depth chart. Arrington's best when playing in the slot and is a strong special teams presence.
5. Justin Green: Green saw just nine snaps on defense in 2013 after spending much of the season on the practice squad. The Patriots coaching staff is high on Green however, so don't be surprised if he sticks on the final roster for additional depth and special teams.
Final Thoughts: Regardless of whether or not the Patriots had picked up Darrelle Revis, the cornerback depth on this team was going to be solid with the presence of Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan, and Kyle Arrington. With Revis in the fold, the Patriots have the elite #1 cornerback to shadow an opponent's best receiver, as well as a group of three solid #2-talented players behind him.