Revis Heads to Patriots as Ware Joins Broncos’ Free Agent Haul

Darrelle Revis wasn’t a free agent for long, agreeing to join the New England Patriots hours after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The All-Pro cornerback agreed last night to a one-year, $12 million contract with the Patriots, ESPN reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. The Patriots haven’t commented on the report.

The addition of Revis would help the Patriots offset the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib, who signed with the Denver Broncos two days ago at the start of the National Football League’s free-agent period.

The Broncos, the only team in the American Football Conference to have a better record than the Patriots each of the past two seasons, yesterday added their third Pro Bowl defender in a 24-hour span with the signing of DeMarcus Ware, who holds the Dallas Cowboys’ record with 117 career sacks. Ware joins Talib and safety T.J. Ward in Denver with multiyear contracts totaling $110 million, including $60 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN.

“Their mentality is a ‘now’ mentality,” Ware said at a news conference. “A mentality of, ‘I’m not looking forward to the next season or the season after that -- the time is now.’ They’re trying to get the job done.”

The Broncos last season reached the Super Bowl behind quarterback Peyton Manning and the highest-scoring offense in NFL history before losing to the Seattle Seahawks.

Beefing Up

“You had a guy like Peyton who can score points and get all that done,” Ware said. “They turned around and said, ‘You know what? We’re fixing to beef up our defense. We’ve got our offense, now let’s go and get our defense right. Because we know we’re a contender.’”

The Broncos lost their second-leading receiver as a free agent, with Eric Decker joining the New York Jets last night following a season in which he had 87 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley was the only player with more than 40 catches last season for the Jets, who this week released wide receiver Santonio Holmes to save $8.25 million.

The Jets gave Decker a five-year, $36.25 million deal, with $15 million guaranteed, ESPN reported.

Revis, with a $12 million deal, would become the Patriots’ second-highest paid player in 2014 after quarterback Tom Brady.

Revis, 28, made $16 million last season, when he returned from a torn knee ligament and had two interceptions while starting all 16 games for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay opted to release him rather than pay another $16 million this season, with General Manager Jason Licht saying the move was “in the best interests of our team moving forward.”

Revis Island

Revis spent his first six NFL seasons with the Jets, who like the Patriots are in the American Football Conference’s East Division. He was selected to the league’s All-Pro team three times and his ability to limit the NFL’s best pass catchers in one-on-one coverage earned him the nickname “Revis Island,” a phrase he trademarked.

Revis’s release came after the Buccaneers and former Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner agreed to a four-year contract that NFL.com says is worth $26.5 million.

Tampa Bay, which went 4-12 last season, yesterday also signed free-agent quarterback Josh McCown, who threw 13 touchdown passes and one interception in eight games for the Chicago Bears while filling in for the injured Jay Cutler.

The Oakland Raiders signed former Jets offensive tackle Austin Howard to a contract that ESPN said is worth $30 million over five years, with $15 million guaranteed. The Raiders also voided a contract with offensive tackle Rodger Saffold because of concerns about a shoulder injury, with Saffold returning to the St. Louis Rams, according to ESPN.

Weeden Released

The Jets signed free agent Breno Giacomini, who was the Seahawks’ starting right tackle for the past 2 1/2 seasons.

The Cleveland Browns yesterday released quarterback Brandon Weeden, two years after selecting him with the 22nd pick in the 2012 draft. Weeden, 30, had an 0-5 record as a starter last season after going 5-10 as a rookie.

“The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team,” Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said. “After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.”

The Detroit Lions added free-agent wide receiver Golden Tate, who had a team-leading 64 receptions for 898 yards and five touchdowns for the Seahawks last season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net Rob Gloster

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