According to a report from ESPN, the Patriots will not be picking up the $20 million option in Darrelle Revis' current contract and the Pro Bowl cornerback will therefore become a free agent at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
The option was part of the two-year, $32 million contract that Revis signed as a free agent with New England last March. Had New England picked up the option, Revis would have had a salary cap figure of $25 million for 2015. Now, the team will assume a $5 million hit of dead money, regardless of any potential future deal with the corner.
With Ndamukong Suh having reportedly reached a deal with the Dolphins, Revis could become the top prize on the free agent market Tuesday afternoon. He started all 16 games at left corner for the Patriots this fall, helping transform the defense into a unit that helped the team win its first Super Bowl in a decade as he returned to his All-Pro form.
Revis will turn 30 this summer. He's played on a contract with an average annual value of $16 million in each of the last two seasons – one in Tampa Bay and one in New England. Many assume that will be his market value when he hits the open waters.
Following up on the ESPN report, the Boston Herald via Twitter said the report "sounds like a Patriots negotiating ploy. Both sides can continue negotiating til tomorrow."
New England has already reached a reported five-year deal with safety Devin McCourty, while the team has reportedly told veteran corner Brandon Browner that he can assess his value around the league while the Patriots decide whether to pay him a $2 million roster bonus before the start of the new league year on Tuesday.
Much like an NFL game on the field, there are a lot of personnel balls up in the air in the Patriots secondary right now. Stay tuned.