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Patriots #1 Priority: Devin McCourty or Darrelle Revis? It's All Tampering.

One player was reported as the top priority, while the other one received the first contract. How did this all play out?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As soon as the confetti was cleared, the Patriots made it absolutely clear that they wanted Darrelle Revis to finish his career in New England. They wanted to restructure and extend his contract and considered him the top off-season priority.

The Patriots built Revis' contract with a massive 2nd year option to spread his first year cap hit, while also acting as a poison pill to force either a separation or a long term commitment. It's been widely understood that a new deal would have to struck to retain the cornerback's services, leading the divisional rival Jets to use the media to illegally tamper (and likely remain unpunished) with New England's negotiations over the past few months.

And then the Patriots came to terms for a monster deal with Devin McCourty, the oft-considered Option 1B.

So what happened?

First, the whole Jets factor is presenting an obvious impact as every single report is saying it's between just the Patriots and the Jets. This is why tampering is against the rules. The Jets are used as leverage because either the Patriots lose their top cornerback to a division rival, or that same rival drives up the cornerback's price.

Second, McCourty strongarmed the Patriots by calling Bill Belichick to say good-bye because he had a deal lined up with another team (a deal that would also be against tampering rules). New England had to add to the pot to bring McCourty home and Devin essentially gave them a timeline: figure it out now, or I'm out of here.

By all accounts, Revis still wants to be paid as the top cornerback in the league, even if it's a penny or two more than Richard Sherman. He wants guaranteed money and he wants years. New England is capable of paying him that $14 million tag and, due to the Patriots advantage when it comes to winning football games, the Jets would have to beat the offer by a long shot to win his services.

There's likely a hiccup in either years or guaranteed money, but the fact that the cornerback hungry teams have all already locked into deals means that the general feeling is Revis isn't leaving the northeast.

Revis was and remains the Patriots top priority this off-season. But due to tampering, Option 1A had to be pushed to the backburner while Option 1B was escalated to the foreground.