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The Patriots Couldn't and Shouldn't Match the Jets Offer to Darrelle Revis

The Jets made an offer that Darrelle Revis couldn't refuse- and that the Patriots couldn't match.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Let's clarify: Darrelle Revis is still an elite cornerback, if not the best cornerback in the league. He was a key member of the Patriots Super Bowl team and his impact and output won't soon be forgotten.

But after looking at the Jets offer, the Patriots had no chance to keep Revis. He was gone.

When the Jets said they'd open up the pocketbook to sign Revis, they weren't bluffing. They gave him the entire bank vault.

New York offered a five year deal, valued at $70 million, with $39 million fully guaranteed, no ifs, ands, or buts. He gets that money if he's injured. He gets that money if he's cut. That $39 million is all his. His base salary is $16 million, $17 million, and $14 million over the next three seasons.

This is why the Patriots balked.

New England structures their deals with signing bonuses in order to spread the cap hit across the life of the contract, while also putting in protection language that would require the player to be on the roster at the start of each league year. It's this protection language that caused the divide between Revis and the Patriots to grow- he wanted his money with no strings attached, which the Patriots couldn't offer, but the Jets were more than willing to provide.

According to PatsCap, if the Patriots tried to match the Jets  "pay as you go" contract structure, Revis' cap hit would be $21 million due to the $16 million base salary, plus the $5 million outstanding from last season's signing bonus.

The Patriots currently have $13.6 million in cap space, per PatsCap, which would mean the Patriots would have to free up a minimum of $2.4 million in cap space to match the Jets offer, while leaving the Patriots at major risk if Revis were to be injured. This would also leave the Patriots with no cap space to fill any holes opened by freeing up the $2.4 million in cap space.

For reference, Dont'a Hightower accounts for $2.5 million in cap space. This is some crucial cap space.

The cap hit would also stand at $17 million next season, when the Patriots will have to address potential contract extension for Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Nate Solder, Jamie Collins, and other key members of the roster.

The Patriots would never have exposed themselves to such a high level of guaranteed money with no strings attached. They shouldn't be expected to, either, if they want to field a team with the depth required of every championship roster.

Revis will forever be remembered for his 2014 season, but there's no way the Patriots were going to match the Jets offer.

updated to reflect true cap space