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Patriots Free Agency: Pressing the Reset Button

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Always freaking out, aren't we? Let's all calm down here.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein

Irreplaceable. Must have. Can't miss. Have to retain at all costs. Belichick would be a complete fool to let him go.

And then, just like that, he's gone.

I've just described the general complexion of every New England March of this century. For some reason, no matter how many times the Patriots have proven that their system works, we all decide that this is the year where it's all going to come crashing down. This is year that New England's approach to Free Agency falls flat. This is the year when New England's steadfastness and fiscal responsibility comes back to bite them. It's amazing to me how quickly past moves become completely irrelevant.

Every year, almost without fail, something happens on the first day or two of Free Agency that causes Patriots Nation to let out a collective moan of despair. Be it losing a key member of the team, seeing a coveted player sign elsewhere, or simply waiting with bated breath as the front office bides its time and does absolutely nothing, if 4:05 PM hits on the very first day of Free Agency and nothing good has happened, people start to panic. And more often than not, the Patriots are the ones on the receiving end of bad news as soon as March comes around; after all, when you have what everyone else wants, you're bound to lose some things you'd much rather keep. But such is life, and such is the price of being the Super Bowl Champs.

We lost the best cornerback in the game tonight to a division rival. No sugarcoating the fact that it's not ideal. But there's also no sugarcoating the fact that the Patriots, as always, will be completely fine. They stuck to the winning formula, they know what works, and Revis simply didn't fit into that mold. No man is bigger than the team, plain and simple, and if reports are correct and the contract the Jets offered him is for an absurd 5 years, $70 million with $39 guaranteed, then of course he has to take that. Darrelle Revis has always been one to follow the money. At no point did he imply otherwise. You have to respect Revis here for being who he has always been throughout his career. There were those who thought that he would get a taste of a winning culture and be willing to change his tune, but at the end of the day he has always been about the highest bidder. Can't begrudge him for that, nor can you say anything against him for staying true to himself and agreeing to what can only be described as stupid money. He has his ring, now he has his money, and he can call it a career. The very best of luck to him.

But to everyone who is crying doom and gloom right now, I invite you to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt. They deserve it. Their track record speaks for itself. They have consistently lost core, must-have, cornerstone guys year in and year out and found a way to remain at the top of the league. They will find a way to make this offseason work to their benefit as well. No, they won't have a player of Revis's caliber, but they will remain competitive and will be playing football in January while Revis is off spending some of his guaranteed money on some guaranteed non-playoff related vacations. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what happens from here on out, and know that football is won in January, not in March.

And you know what? Even if this is finally the year where the Patriots stumble a bit...who cares? They just won the Super Bowl! Four rings! Tommy B, the greatest ever! It's all just gravy at this point. Let's all take a breath and enjoy being fans of the best team in the NFL instead of immediately hyperbolizing the worst-case scenario. The only real negative to all this is that the absolute best that the Patriots can do in 2015 is end their season exactly the way they ended it last year. It's literally impossible for them to do any better. So unless the Patriots repeat as Super Bowl Champions, a feat that is unbelievably difficult even with a roster that is completely stacked from top to bottom and was far from a sure thing even with Revis back, there will always be those who point to March 10, 2015 as the reason that the Pats couldn't get it done and Belichick didn't do enough to get Brady what he needs and all of the other rhetoric we hear each and every year, without fail. But those are the same people who are flat out incapable of acknowledging that the Patriots know what they're doing, and those opinions don't matter in the slightest anyway.

Here's to the next ... oh I don't know...four whole months or so of offseason we still have left, and what promises to be another successful year in 2015 - one that the Patriots will still find a way to generate without the richest cornerback of all time.