New England Patriots: Darrelle Revis

Refs get serious about defensive calls

August, 16, 2014
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The flags were flying during the New England Patriots-Philadelphia Eagles game as 21 penalties were accepted for a total of 169 yards.

“There were a lot of them,” quarterback Tom Brady said after the game. “They stood up here in front of us and told us they were going to throw a lot them and they sure did.”

[+] EnlargeArrelious Benn, Darrelle Revis
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaDarrelle Revis said he got the refs' message loud and clear.
Throughout joint practices this week, NFL officials helped the players out by instructing them on the new rules, such as illegal contact downfield and defensive holding. As part of the NFL’s emphasis on these penalties, defensive players, especially defensive backs, have the biggest adjustment to make.

“We had the refs in this whole week,” Darrelle Revis said about the value of referees at practice this week. “It’s a new rule, everybody is trying to adjust to it the best they can. The refs, they did a great job explaining to us what’s legal and what’s not legal.”

With four enforced calls against the Patriots and five enforced calls against the Eagles related to the new emphasis on defensive illegal contact or defensive holding, Revis recognizes the changes, but says the proper adjustment is through technique.

“They call what they see, that’s how you got to look at it,” Revis said. “If they see you holding or if it’s illegal contact down the field or pass interference they are going to throw the flag.”

“There are so many techniques we are taught to try to avoid that, that’s all we do is rely on our technique and go from there.”

Cornerback Logan Ryan offered a similar response about how the Patriots are preparing to adjust to the new rule.

“A hold is a hold. If it’s not, it’s not,” Ryan said. “It’s something that we are working on in practice, so I’m sure you’ll see the results in the game.”
With an increase in penalties in the game, the tempo slowed down for stoppages related to flags. Considering the tendencies of the Eagles and Patriots to play up-tempo offense, the penalties put a halt to the flow of the game at times.

Brady, however, put a different spin on it.

“I think if they (penalties) are helping us, then I don’t have any problem with it.”

Revis 1-on-1 coming to ESPN platforms

June, 26, 2014
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New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis is currently in Orlando, Florida, at the Drew Brees Passing Academy, where ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder sat down with him in a one-on-one interview. Werder previewed the interview in a tweet:

 
Werder passed along the following from this interview in a separate tweet: "[Revis] tells me his knee totally healthy and can do things now he couldn't last season even though played 16 games."

At this slower time on the NFL calendar, look for Werder's interview with Revis on ESPN's various platforms in the days to come.

Picked-up Patriots pieces around Web

June, 25, 2014
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A few picked-up pieces with a New England Patriots twist from around the Web:

Rookies travel to NFL's symposium. The league's annual rookie symposium takes place this week in Ohio. The NFC rookies have been in Ohio since the start of the week and now the AFC rookies arrive today, as Patriots first-round pick Dominique Easley posted on Instagram this morning and sixth-round pick Jon Halapio tweeted early this morning.

Revis lands on list of intrigue. Adam Schein of NFL.com makes a list of nine players across the NFL he points to as most fascinating to follow in 2014, and No. 1 on the list is cornerback Darrelle Revis. "If Revis reclaims elite status, it changes everything at the back end of the New England defense," Schein writes.

McCourty talks Revis, contract, Belichick/Schiano. Patriots safety Devin McCourty was a guest on the premier episode of "NESN Live" and he discussed how Revis has fit into the team's culture and how players are already ribbing him. McCourty also touches on entering the final year of his contract and talks about how much he enjoys playing for the Patriots. In a second segment, McCourty plays a lighthearted game on the set, answering some "tough" questions.

Perception of running back corps in New England. Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports' "Shutdown Corner" blog lists the running-back-by-committees that are most interesting/effective and he puts New England at No. 4.

Revis calls Belichick a 'player' coach

June, 19, 2014
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cornerback Darrelle Revis had complimentary things to say Thursday when asked about New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Revis
"When you're on the outside looking in, when you're playing with another organization, you look at things totally different," Revis told reporters after the team's final practice of mandatory minicamp. "Especially coming from New York and New England, being up here, it's a rivalry. You look at things totally different. That's with any player. There are a bunch of guys that crossed over, and once you cross over and when you're inside looking out, it's a totally different perspective.

"Everybody here has accepted me as much as they can to make me feel like home. Even Bill has. I'm fine with it. We're on good terms."

Revis admitted that his perception of Belichick, whom he once called a jerk on SportsCenter, has changed.

"I think it changed the first time through the whole process, when I got released from Tampa, and then talking to teams and actually I got to sit down and talk to Belichick. I think it changed during that conversation, when me and him sat down and had a brief conversation. We moved forward and whatever we had in the past, we put it behind us. I think it changed during that moment," he said.

Asked how he would describe Belichick, Revis said, "He's a great coach. I really respect him for winning three [Super Bowl] championships. Another thing, I feel like he's a player coach. A lot of people might not say that on the outside looking in, but we're with Bill every day. We hang out with him every day. We're in the meetings with him every day so we're around him all the time. I really feel like he's a player coach. ...

"I think the biggest thing that people really don't understand about Bill is that Bill asks questions. He'll ask questions, he'll try to get other people's insight, especially veterans. He'll sit down and have a conversation with you. I think that's why he's so genius at what he does. He's very smart, but at the same time he knows the pulse of the team."
New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s "Movin’ the Chains" program on Tuesday, and he praised newcomers Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner for how they have immersed themselves into the team’s program.

Ninkovich
"Not knowing personality-wise or work ethic-wise what these guys were like -- knowing that they were great football players -- we’ve welcomed them with open arms and they’ve done a terrific job coming in and learning everything as far as how the ‘Patriot Way’ goes," Ninkovich told co-hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. "They’re two great football players, and as a defensive end, I’m definitely happy to have those guys out there covering."

One other point mentioned by Ninkovich was how he’s actually more than just a defensive end. His position and responsibilities within the defense vary on a snap-by-snap basis, and that is why he should be factored into the mix when analyzing the team’s linebacker position as well.

“A couple years ago I was a SAM [strongside linebacker], now I’m a defensive end, but I still do both,” he explained on the program. “Being multiple, being able to be in different fronts -- one play being a D-end, the next play being a SAM -- being able to change up the way that we can, it definitely helps our defense.”

The discussion came up when the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Ninkovich was asked what he might be working on this offseason to improve.

"I’m not a guy that’s going to be 6-8, or 6-6, 275 [pounds], 280. I get a lot of my work done with technique and outworking people. So that’s staying up on all my hand placements and all my explosive movements, and just really staying on top of people as far as outworking them," he said.

Will Brady win another Super Bowl?

May, 27, 2014
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NFL Network devoted a segment of its "Total Access" show Monday to the following question: Will New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady win another Super Bowl?

Brady
Analysts Heath Evans and Jamie Dukes shared their opinions on the topic, with Evans, the former Patriot, believing it will happen.

"The odds are in his favor," Evans said on the set. "You look at the consistency of the organization, it's Bill Belichick and him tied at the hip. We know they lacked offensive weapons in some of the last couple years. He finds a way to make magic out of nothing. Every year they're sitting in that AFC Championship, battling it out with Peyton Manning or Joe Flacco. So I'm going to give him a nod in the next three years."

Dukes then pointed out Evans' remarks about Brady's ability to "make magic out of nothing" in questioning the team's selection of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round (62nd overall). With Manning having the weapons to put up 35 points per game regularly, Dukes doesn't see the same weaponry in New England. Thus, he doesn't see another Super Bowl championship in his future.

One area that wasn't touched upon was the potential improvement of the Patriots' defense, which has added cornerback Darrelle Revis this offseason.

Could that help Brady the most?

Fun debate, and one we'd lean toward the "yes" category if taking part.

Revis a surprise player in charity game

April, 30, 2014
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WESTWOOD, Mass. -- New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis was a surprise participant in a team-based charity basketball game on Wednesday night at Westwood (Mass.) High School.

It was Revis' debut performance, according to organizers, and the Patriots team which included Revis, cornerback Kyle Arrington, receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, and running backs Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden was victorious.

Thompkins was the leading scorer, but Revis (picture here) was the headliner. As part of the game, the action is stopped at halftime and fans come down from the stands to get autographs. Revis drew a mammoth crowd and was particularly kind to sign as many autographs as possible.

At the same time as the game in Westwood, a different Patriots squad was a bit further north in Burlington (Mass.) High for another charity hoop game. That squad included safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, receivers Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, quarterback Ryan Mallett and defensive tackle Marcus Forston, according to one observer.

Dobson, who had surgery on a stress fracture on his left foot in February, did not play in the game but took part in a pre-game shootaround with his foot still in a protective boot, according to observers.

Where does Patriots roster rank?

April, 30, 2014
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In his pre-draft news conference on Tuesday, New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said he felt the team would have a competitive roster if a game were being played today. But how would that roster stack up against the rest of the NFL?

Evan Silva of Rotoworld undertakes the challenging task of examining each team's depth chart and ranking them 1-32, and he puts the Patriots at No. 4. The defending AFC champion Denver Broncos land at No. 2.

From Silva's view, the Patriots would benefit from targeting a "move" tight end early in the draft, and there is a need for an "interior difference-maker" on defense.

"This remains an elite NFL offense even as it experiences a transitional phase," Silva writes, before focusing on the other side of the ball. "The Patriots' secondary is as deep and talented as it's been in many years following the additions of [Darrelle] Revis and [Brandon] Browner."

Silva's work provides a nice league-wide snapshot to consider when evaluating one team, giving us a chance to add NFL context to any analysis.

No. 24 opens up for Darrelle Revis

April, 5, 2014
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One of the trickle-down effects of the New England Patriots' releasing veteran safety Adrian Wilson on Friday is that jersey No. 24 becomes available for cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The Patriots have been advertising Revis jerseys on their website without specifying a jersey number, but that should soon change.

With this in mind, let's keep it light with new acquisitions and their jersey numbers:

Revis -- The longtime No. 24 should once again be donning it in New England.

Brandon Browner -- Veteran cornerback wore No. 39 in Seattle. That is available in New England.

Patrick Chung -- Safety wore No. 25 in his first go-around with the Patriots, which is now Kyle Arrington's number. Chung wore No. 23 in Philadelphia last season and that is available.

Brandon LaFell -- Receiver was No. 11 in Carolina but Julian Edelman has that with the Patriots. LaFell said on Twitter that he's picked No. 19.

Charley Hughlett -- Long snapper wore No. 44 with the Cowboys and that is available in New England.

Ex-Bucs GM weighs in on Revis

March, 29, 2014
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BRISTOL, Conn. -- Just as teams have been busy signing free agents this offseason, ESPN has been as well.

Revis
The latest NFL Insider is former Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik, who can be seen on NFL Insiders and read on ESPN Insider on ESPN.com.

We had the chance to catch up with Dominik to pick his brain on new Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, a player he acquired via trade during the 2013 offseason.

Below are some of his thoughts.

On what makes Revis an elite CB:
"Revis to me, in spending time around him, has unique anticipation. Elite anticipation is probably the right way to use it. He has a way of feeling it, understanding routes, reading the hops of players, reading the eyes, [the] general feel and he's exceptional with ball skills. He knows how to break on the ball, where to use his hands to avoid penalties, and he obviously has soft hands for interceptions. His ball awareness and ball skills, and then again anticipation, are what make him an elite corner."

On Revis' size and speed, which some people might underrate:
"You know, he's bigger than you think. With Darelle, because of his quickness and he has no wasted motion in his transitions, there's not an extra step, and so, you think Darelle is going to be this 5-10, 5-11, 195-pound corner, he's every bit of 6 foot and change, and he's a 205-pound corner. So he's a big, thick corner, which I think makes him physical enough against the run and certainly gives him a chance to match up against those more physical receivers."

On whether he could be used in the slot:
"You could, but I think you'd waste him in the slot. I don't see that being a strength of Darrelle. I think he's always going to be a perimeter guy because of the crossing patterns you run out of the slot. I think he's better up at the line of scrimmage, using his hands, and then allow him to just play with anticipation."

On Revis as a person:
"Darrelle is very low maintenance, very down to earth. Not full of himself, a really good dude, soft spoken, but will speak when he feels like he needs to. He's a great teammate that way. And really, he's a good man. He comes from a good family, his mother is a wonderful lady, and Darrelle's a unique person, and I think he doesn't usually talk much unless he's provoked. And Darrelle just lets his play talk."

On whether he believes Revis' knee, which was surgically repaired following a 2012 ACL tear, is an issue anymore:
"No. I think Darrelle played last year a little cautious throughout most of the year, just because he wasn't quite sure. And I don't blame him. Coming off an ACL as a cornerback, a lot of guys have made that transition, and sometimes it takes more than a year. I think Darrelle still played at a very high level, we put him in some tough spots in terms of coverage, but at the end of the day he still was what I thought was the elite corner that we traded for. That's why I think it's a great acquisition for the New England Patriots."

We also had the chance to tap into Dominik for some thoughts on a pair of other Patriots cornerbacks that have drawn interest this offseason

On Brandon Browner:
"Brandon Browner is a huge corner. Just really long from his ankle to knee and then his knee to his arms. I mean that's what his advantage is. He's going to be a little bit tighter in space, short-area quickness, [those are] the things he's going to struggle with. He's going to come up and maul you at the line of scrimmage, beat you up, and he'll tackle you. They have big corners, thick corners, and that's obviously what coach Belichick is looking for."

On Logan Ryan:
"Very smart football player, extremely smart. Understands angle, good positioning. Again, good with his hands, and he has enough speed. His big thing that everybody talks about is the top-end speed, but again, if you get a pass rush and you get a guy who understands early stuff and uses his hands well, you can eliminate some of that speed deficiency, and I think Logan can do that."

Leftover pieces of Patriots mail

March, 27, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- A few leftover pieces of mail from the weekly New England Patriots mailbag:

Darryl Williams in Baltimore, Md., writes: Hey Mike, what would you predict the Patriots do about safety Adrian Wilson as far as a spot on the roster? I think Wilson would complement our secondary very well.

Reiss: Darryl, my feeling on Wilson has been that I'd be surprised if he's on the club. He looked to be on the roster bubble at the end of 2013 preseason (seemed a bit slow in preseason games) and if not for a season-ending injury, I had him on the outside looking in based on performance. That's why I haven't really factored him into the mix upon his return to health.




John M in Atlanta, Ga., writes: Maybe this isn't the most pressing question, but when will we know what number Darrelle Revis is going to wear? I'm sure he's hoping to pick up No. 24. (I ask because I bought a jersey shortly after he signed with the Pats, but I guess they can't start making them till they get the number situation sorted out.)

Reiss: John, this actually relates to our first question because Adrian Wilson currently owns the No. 24 and paid a "heavy" price to get it (a year's supply of Pampers diapers for cornerback/new dad Kyle Arrington). I think Revis will ultimately get 24, but the team still has Wilson on the roster, perhaps because he's still not 100 percent and a team can't cut an injured player.




Ramin in San Marcos, Texas, writes: Hey Mike, let's just say that we decide not to add another WR to what we already have and then all of them end up staying healthy through camp/preseason next year. Including Matthew Slater we would have to keep seven receivers on the roster unless we cut Kenbrell Thompkins or Josh Boyce. Now I really hope that does not happen so my question to you is, do you think Brandon LaFell is a lock to make the 2014 53-man roster with his $3 million dollar signing bonus, or could you see him being the odd man out (assuming we need the extra roster spot and everyone stays healthy)?

Reiss: Ramin, I'd put LaFell in the 99-percent category for being on the club. I'd be surprised if he wasn't when everything ultimately sorts itself out.




Toni Kemmerle in Brunswick, Maine, writes: After watching Jared Allen sign with the Bears, the Patriots do not seem to be in the running for the services of a high profile free agent defensive end who can rush the passer. Do you think they will try to fill this desperate need through the draft or by signing a number of affordable free agents and seeing what shakes out?

Reiss: Toni, at this point, I'd lean toward the draft as well as internal development with Michael Buchanan. I also think a second-year player like Jamie Collins can be a factor when given the opportunity to rush the passer. That is one of the things I've learned in an offseason study of different teams -- many of them talk about the idea/concept of trying to find the answers from within first. That could be in play here.




Bob K. in Cambridge, Mass., writes: How does the experimental PAT from the 20 during the preseason apply to 2-point conversions?

Reiss: Bob, if the team declares it's going for the 2-point conversion, the ball would be placed on the 2-yard line. If not, it goes to the 20 for the point-after attempt.

Charley Casserly: Give Patriots an A-plus

March, 21, 2014
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Bill Belichick and Charley Casserly probably won't be going out to dinner any time soon, as we remember the 2010 media-based exchange between the two.

Casserly had reported that quarterback Tom Brady was playing through broken ribs. Belichick responded by asking, "Who's been wrong more than Charley Casserly?"

Well, if that's the case, Belichick might not like Casserly's analysis on the best free-agent signings in 2014.

In Casserly's view, which he shared on NFL Network's "NFL-AM" program Friday, the New England Patriots were the first team mentioned.

"It's the cornerback position -- you have [Darrelle] Revis and [Brandon] Browner coming in. What Revis can do, No. 1, is if you want to have him take away the best receiver, whether it's a tight end [like] Jimmy Graham or a receiver, you can do that, and that gives you flexibility with Browner," Casserly said on the program.

"Or how about if you just go press both of these guys and put pressure on that quarterback with blitzes, allowing that quarterback not as much time to throw, and your secondary plenty of time to react to the ball and get after it. It gives you a lot of things you can do with coverages in the secondary when you have two shutdown corners.

"A-plus for the New England Patriots."

Putting Browner in the "shutdown" category might be a bit generous, but the 1-2 punch has been a notable part of the team's overall free-agent approach because of how it might change the way they do some things on defense.

And if it works out as desired, perhaps it also changes Belichick's view on Casserly.

Picked-up Patriots pieces

March, 19, 2014
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Some picked-up Patriots pieces that catch the eye ...

LaFell
Take a number, please. Free-agent signee Brandon LaFell had some fun on Twitter, telling his followers that he would be choosing between jersey number 10 and 19. When we think of No. 10, Jabar Gaffney is the most successful receiver of late to come to mind in New England. Austin Collie most recently donned the number. As for No. 19, my first thought was punter Tom Tupa (1996-98). Brandon Tate (2009 third rounder) was the last receiver to wear it consistently. Two hours after his initial tweet, LaFell decided on 19, which all in all, was a neat way to engage his followers on a topic (jersey numbers) that probably interests us more than most.

Snapshots with Vollmer and Edelman. Recovering Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was all smiles at the Ed Block Courage Award dinner, while receiver Julian Edelman took us behind the scenes as he signed his contract (and still represents his alma mater, Kent State).

Revis and cornerback stats. Neil Paine, writing on FiveThirtyEight.com, looks closer at cornerback Darrelle Revis and the challenge of quantifying cornerback stats.

Give this free-agent class a B-plus. Pete Prisco, an NFL columnist for CBSSports.com, is handing out grades to teams for their free-agency moves. He gives the Patriots a B-plus, same mark he gives the Broncos. The Buccaneers get his only straight A.

X's & O's on Revis and Browner. Matt Bowen of Bleacher Report thinks safety Devin McCourty will quickly come to appreciate free-agent signees Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and gets deep into the X's and O's in explaining why.

Amendola and collateral damage. Gregg Rosenthal, who edited the "Around the League" blog on NFL.com, goes through his list of those affected most by free-agent decisions. Patriots receiver Danny Amendola lands on the list.

Hageman connected to Patriots in another mock. Don Banks of SI.com unveils his mock draft 2.0 and it's a familiar prospect slotted to the Patriots at No. 29 -- Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman. "The secondary got its attention with the Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner signings, but the defensive front seven still needs help," Banks writes. The Patriots.com mock draft tracker has many mocks in one place.

Double Coverage: Patriots vs. Broncos

March, 18, 2014
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Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib Getty ImagesBoth the Patriots and Broncos bolstered their defense by signing Darrelle Revis and Aqib Talib.
Since the start of the 2005 season, the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots have played 10 times, with three of those postseason games, including a 26-16 Denver win in the AFC Championship Game in January.

The two are so familiar with each other that even Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has joked, "The league says the schedule is random, like where you play, but that doesn't feel random. We're always facing them and it always feels like it's at their place."

In 2014, the Broncos play the Patriots again -- and it will be in Foxborough, Mass., for the second consecutive year (as part of the NFL's rotating schedule formula).

As two franchises with five Super Bowl wins between them race to make the most of what's left in the careers of their respective future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they almost appear to be answering the other's signings.

So much so that Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway was even asked this past weekend if he felt like he was in an "arms race" with the Patriots during the free-agency period.

"You always know you have to go through New England," Elway said. "If you look at their track record the last 10 years, they're a team you're going to have to be able to deal with, and for us to get done what we want to get done, you've got to be able to beat them. It's kind of a fun type of arms race, and we'll see what happens next year."

ESPN.com Patriots reporter Mike Reiss and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold take a closer look at both teams' moves over the past week.

Legwold: Mike, the Broncos certainly see the Patriots as the chief hurdle in any attempt to get to another Super Bowl title, and whether they would admit it or not, the thought of having to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in a game that matters influences the decisions the Broncos make. How do the Patriots see this?

Reiss: Jeff, that will be atop the list of questions to ask Belichick the next time he meets with the press. As you might have noticed, unlike the Broncos, the Patriots haven't had any news conferences to trumpet their offseason moves, so we're left to answer this question for them based on their actions. And the answer, from this view, is the Broncos are a significant factor in the Patriots' decision-making process, specifically in what they're trying to put together defensively with physical press corners in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. It's hard to get to Manning with the pass rush (what the Seahawks accomplished in the Super Bowl is the exception), so another way to disrupt that high-powered attack is getting physical in the secondary. I don't think building a team to beat the Broncos is their sole focus and would imagine Belichick will dismiss most of this line of thinking, but to me the actions speak loudly that it's at least part of the thought process.

One of the big questions I've heard from Patriots followers: "How are the Broncos signing all these players -- Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware, Emmanuel Sanders -- to such big-money contracts?" Along those lines, what is the Broncos' cap situation and could this be the type of thing that comes back to haunt them in future years?

Legwold: The short answer is the Broncos' cap situation was far better than many reported as free agency opened. They weren't on the list of teams that had no room to work with, and circumstances helped them as well. They had about $28.7 million worth of room when free agency was set to open -- that total was among the league's top 10 -- and gained another $10 million when they released Champ Bailey and another $4.1 million when guard Chris Kuper retired last week. They also structured most of the deals, including Talib's, with several kinds of bonuses in different years of the contract. Talib's deal is six years, $57 million on paper, but in reality, it's a three-year, $27 million contract that the Broncos could escape with limited cap implications after the 2014 season. They do not have any of the deals heavily front-loaded, essentially eliminating salary-cap implications down the road if they have to release the players after one or two years. They are selling the chance to play for a Super Bowl contender, and the players they signed were willing to work with them on deals that pay well if the player does well but make sense to the Broncos down the road, too. They simply bypassed the players who weren't willing to play ball that way. Also, they have made age a priority, with Talib, T.J. Ward and Sanders all just 27 or 28 years old. They have tried to limit their exposure with long-term contracts for 30-somethings.

With Wes Welker's signing last season and Talib's last week, there is an element of not only signing a free agent the Broncos want but also weakening a rival.

Mike, how do you think the Patriots saw those signings? Just business, or their players being targeted?

Also, Talib talked about the Patriots' injury-reporting procedures in his introductory news conference. How do you think those remarks were received in New England?

[+] EnlargeTom Brady
AP Photo/Gail BurtonTom Brady has said he wants to play until he's 40 years old.
Reiss: More in the "just business” category. There is a pretty strong resolve among the team's decision-makers in how they want to build their team and what they view as the most responsible financial decisions. So, right or wrong, they often set a price and don't budge too far off it, knowing that could mean a player winds up on a top competitor. That's basically what happened with Welker and Talib. As for Talib's remarks, I don't think it was anything inflammatory in the eyes of the Patriots. Talib was very well-liked here, and I don't think what he said changes anything along those lines.

We remember from all the talk about the Eagles' "Dream Team” a few years ago that assembling talent is only part of the equation. It's how it comes together.

Jeff, can you shed some insight on the Broncos' locker room, the leadership, and if there should be any concern on how all the impressive individual parts come together as a team?

Legwold: The Broncos have a little different structure than most teams in that they are the only one with a Hall of Fame quarterback who is a sports icon in the same city where he also happens to run the team. Elway is the ultimate Alpha Dog in terms of how things go here, even with Manning in the locker room. But the Broncos like the makeup of their locker room, but it will be a year of transition in that regard given three former captains -- Bailey, Kuper and Wesley Woodyard -- have all departed. At the roster level, Manning's presence is all over the offense, and on defense they see youngsters such as Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris Jr. as future captains. They also believe they've been careful in the players they've signed -- Elway makes it clear who is, or isn't, what they are looking for. That said of the new arrivals, there certainly is the hope that Ware can be a mentor to Von Miller, both on and off the field, after Miller's rocky ride in 2013 that included a six-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Mike, there is a sense in Denver that Manning's career is winding down and that 2014 could be it. But what is the feeling about Brady and how much longer he intends to play?

Reiss: Brady is signed through 2017, and there is every expectation he will play to the end of that contract, and play at a high level. Brady has previously said he'd like to play into his 40s, and I don't think anyone would be wise to bet against that after what we've seen from him since he was selected 199th overall in the 2000 draft. He keeps himself in excellent physical condition and basically lives football year-round. So assuming good health, I'd put '17 as the earliest marker to when we might close the book on his career. He'd be 40 at that point.

Jeff, with the moves the Broncos have made, where do you see them as better than last year, and where is there work still to be done?

Legwold: We asked Elway that question Sunday when Sanders arrived as the latest signing. Elway's response was: "I do think we're better, especially when you consider we had five starters on defense on injured reserve last year. When I could move those names off IR, back onto our roster board, I felt a lot better about our team even before free agency opened. And now we added some guys who we think are the right kind of guys and who fill some big needs for us."

The Broncos' goal has been to use free agency to fill what Elway has called "glaring needs" so they can continue to draft the best available guys, no matter the position. They still need some depth on the offensive line, a middle linebacker who would play only in the base, and they will look at wide receiver and cornerback in the draft as well.

Robert Kraft, Nick Caserio on Darrelle Revis

March, 17, 2014
3/17/14
7:00
PM ET
In a video posted on the Patriots' official website, owner Robert Kraft and director of player personnel Nick Caserio chimed in on the team's signing on cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Below are their remarks:

Kraft: "Well I think everyone associated with the team and all of our fans throughout New England are excited about [Darrelle] Revis joining us. He's obviously the best -- or one of the top two or three shutdown corners. We're very happy he chose to play with our team. I think it's a great tribute to our head coach, our quarterback and all the players on our team that he really had a choice to go anywhere he wanted and he chose to come here."

Caserio: "He's been a productive player. He's got good size, he runs well, he's good at the line of scrimmage. He's played in a couple of different systems and he's been productive in multiple systems. He was productive when he was with the Jets and he was productive last season down there in Tampa, so we'll put him in the mix and see how his skills translate to what we're doing and see how it goes when we get him and we start working with him."

The Patriots do not hold introductory press conferences for free agents, but the fact that they opted to share remarks on the Revis signing is an indicator of just how he is viewed from a talent perspective.

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