By Sterling Pingree
You can’t be sentimental in the NFL. It doesn’t pay. In a league where guaranteed contracts are treated like gold, but are worth more you can’t pay for past performance or nostalgia. It’ll kill your salary cap number and the impact on a franchise can last much longer than the length of a deal. Bill Belichick has made some unpopular decisions in his reign in New England, but it’s pretty difficult to find an example of a marquee player that he let walk out the doors at Patriot Place whose best days were still ahead of them. Here’s the list.
Lawyer Milloy- The team captain and Belichick favorite was famously cut the week of the season opener in 2003 and signed with Buffalo. He played 8 more years in the league, but never had more than 2 interceptions in a season and his tackle numbers never rebounded.
Ty Law- The shutdown corner and anchor of 3-super bowl champions, Had 10 picks in his first season away from Foxborough with the Jets, but was out of the league after 4 more mostly injury riddled seasons with 3 different teams.
Willie McGuinest- Spent the last 3 years of his career in Cleveland of all places and never topped 4 sacks in a season, in a career where he had 10 sacks in a season 10 years apart.
Which brings me to the latest Belichick cast off. After Super Bowl 49, there was a tense Monday as news broke that Darrelle Revis had signed on to go back to the New York Jets. Revis was a hired gun and he got his ring and then returned to New York for the money, 5-years and $39 million in guaranteed money. This is a deal that the Patriots never would have handed out and the only recourse that Patriots fans had was to say “Maybe he won’t be that good, he has to decline right?” Guess what? He has declined. In a season where the Jets were supposed to be a main rival for the Patriots in the AFC East, they’re in last place at 2-5 and a big part of that is that Revis appears to be playing cornerback with a fork sticking out of his back. It started early in the season when Revis got torched the first two weeks of the season. In week 1 when AJ Green burned Revis Island to the ground it was understandable, but in week 2 when backups from Buffalo were burning Revis like he played in the XFL, red flags popped way up. Through 7 weeks, Revis has no interceptions, 1 pass defended and only 17 tackles.
It’s hard to be sentimental in the NFL when it comes to contracts and the case of Darrelle Revis is a perfect case in point. One day he was wiping confetti off his Super Bowl championship hat as the missing piece for the Patriots and the next moment you’re taking the money and running, but not fast enough to be the productive player that you once were.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.