The Patriots find themselves in a curious position.
From a financial stand point, the Patriots are more than a little strapped for cash, but picking up the best cornerback of his generation was an opportunity Bill Belichick couldn't refuse. Let's focus on the positives. Newly acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis is everything that the team needs and wants and more.
According to Pro Football Focus, the secondary is the current home for the defending #1 cornerback in the league and the #1 safety in the league.
Let that sink in for a moment and consider the implications.
1) Revis is the best man corner in the game. He's a field eraser. Like Aqib Talib, he'll be asked to cover the opposition's #1 target, reinforcing the shift in defensive identity by the Patriots defense. Unlike Talib, Revis shuts down the wide receiver every single game.
Cian Fahey has possibly the best breakdown method of corner's that you'll see on the internet and I highly suggest that you read it. In 2013, in the season the Buccaneers inexplicably asked Revis to play more zone than ever before, he was still dominant. Fahey breaks down cornerback success by whether or not they're in position to make a play. Of the opposing receivers, he had a 75% or greater success rate 13/16 times. He had 100% success twice.
We saw how important Talib was to the defense over the first five games of the season. We now have a player who can be expected to provide that service for the entire year.
2) McCourty is still developing as a safety, but he has the undeniable ability to be an impact player. Revis allows McCourty to cheat over to the side of CB2, whether that's Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan, or Kyle Arrington. While Ryan's still growing and should take a big step forward next season, we have a fairly solid interpretation of the other two corners:
2a: Arrington is a solid slot corner, who ranges from poor to average on the outside. He's better against fast receivers, as opposed to big or quick receivers. He should primarily show up in the slot and the addition of Revis bumps Arrington down to CB4 on the outside. He can comfortably remain in the slot next season due to the depth.
2b: Dennard is a great press corner, but he's just not capable of covering WR1s. He's a high level CB2 who can capably cover WR2s. By shifting McCourty over to Dennard's side of the field, it will allow Fonzie to be more aggressive and possibly turn the ball over more frequently.
3) The importance of continuity in defensive scheme cannot be understated. The Patriots went through a growth period between 2007 and 2012 where the team didn't know what it wanted from its corners. They went from the aggressive Asante Samuel and heavy hitting Rodney Harrison, to the soft bend-don't-break of...Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater? And the acquisition of Talib finally gave the Patriots direction.
They wanted to be more aggressive with their corners. Press coverage. Don't allow the quick throws to let the opposition walk down the field. Devin McCourty emerged as an excellent safety to monitor the back-end of the field and all of a sudden, the Patriots had an identity in the secondary that they could be proud of.
Bringing Revis into the fold allows the development of this identity. The players won't be forced into yet another defensive scheme. The Patriots can now spend time trying to improve their pass rush instead of trying to amend another hole.
All because of Revis. His value goes far beyond just what he produces as an individual. He brings consistency to the entire defense and he elevates the team to new heights.