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Patriots reportedly pick up top corner Darrelle Revis 0

John Kryk

By John Kryk, QMI Agency

Shortly after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, cornerback Darrelle Revis signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. (USA Today)

Shortly after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, cornerback Darrelle Revis signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. (USA Today)

The New England Patriots answered the Denver Broncos’ defensive upgrades by agreeing to terms Wednesday night with Darrelle Revis.

It’s a one-year deal for $12 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the news at about 8:30 p.m. EDT.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had released Revis only about five hours earlier.

Revis might still be the best cover cornerback in the NFL, despite having ACL surgery in September 2012.

The Bucs had acquired Revis from the New York Jets in a trade only 11 months ago.

They dumped him in part because of his weighty contract -- Revis had been due to earn $16 million over each of the next four seasons -- but mostly because he isn’t a fit in new head coach Lovie Smith’s defence, which requires its cornerbacks to usually play more passively in zone coverage, rather than in Revis’ preference, press-man coverage.

Tampa Bay already has used the saved Revis money to sign four free agents, including Revis’ replacement: Alterran Verner.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for years has been one of Revis’ most awestruck admirers. But he’s also frugal. The short term (one year) likely is the Patriots’ compromise for paying so much in any one year for a defender.

Revis, meantime, will attempt to re-establish his rep as the league’s premier cover corner before he goes on the market again next March to really cash in.

LIONS GOLDEN

One of the smartest signings after two days of NFL free agency has to be receiver Golden Tate landing in Detroit.

The Lions have desperately needed a quality, reliable receiver opposite Calvin Johnson.

They surely have that now in Tate, the sure-handed, elusive No. 1 target in Seattle over the past four seasons.

Tate signed with the Lions for $31 million over five years, with $13.25 million guaranteed.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Tate had the fewest drops of any receiver in the NFL over the past three years: just five against 149 catches. That’s exactly the kind of reliable second go-to receiving option that quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions offence needed.

Tate’s signing also allows Ryan Broyles to play in the slot, where he’s best -- if he ever can stay healthy, that is.

BUCS ALL-IN WITH McCOWN

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have pursued, signed and let go so many quality players since Tuesday it’s been hard to keep up.

The biggest signee Wednesday was quarterback Josh McCown. At his introductory news conference, head coach Lovie Smith made an unexpected, odd pronouncement.

Asked if McCown comes in as the No. 1 quarterback, over last season’s rookie starter Mike Glennon, Smith said: “Yes, he is.”

Whoa.

Sure, Smith knows the 34-year-old McCown intimately. Both were on the Chicago Bears in 2011 and 2012.

New Bucs general manager Jason Richt not only confirmed what Smith said, but went a step further.

“We didn’t bring (McCown) on here just to be a leader on the team,” Richt said. “We brought him here to be a leader on the field.”

Glennon performed admirably for a third-round rookie on the horrible Bucs last year. In 13 games he threw 19 touchdowns versus nine interceptions for an 83.9 passer rating.

Now he’s a backup. Strange. Why anoint McCown so fast? Make him earn it. Perhaps that was a prerequisite for him signing in Tampa. Who knows.

Otherwise, the Buccaneers are cleaning up in free agency. In addition to McCown ($10 million over two years), the Bucs have signed:

* DE Michael Johnson, from Cincinnati ($44M over five years)

* CB Alterran Verner, from Tennessee ($26.5M over four years)

* TE Brandon Myers, from NY Giants ($4M over two years)

* DT Clinton McDonald, from Seattle ($12M over four years)

The Bucs also were hot after former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who planned to visit after first stopping in Jacksonville.

BILLS SIGN THREE, EYE VICK

A wicked local snowstorm didn’t prevent the Buffalo Bills from being the most active team on Day 2 of NFL free agency.

The Bills signed three players at positions of need:

* Cornerback Corey Graham, from the Baltimore Ravens, for $16 million over four years. The Buffalo native has been a regular contributing member in the Ravens secondary and on special teams.

* Linebacker Keith Rivers, from the New York Giants, for $5 million over two years. The 27-year-old played both perimeter linebacking spots (WLB and SLB) the past two seasons in New York, after three in Cincinnati.

* Offensive guard Chris Williams, from the St. Louis Rams, for $13.5 million over four years, with $5.5 million guaranteed. He was a bust as first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2008 -- the knock on him was he was soft -- but he revived his career last season in St. Louis, starting all 16 games. Bills head coach Doug Marrone, a longtime offensive line coach, must have liked what he saw of Williams on tape.

Bills general manager Doug Whaley last week told QMI Agency that he’d be “aggressive” in free agency, if not in a huge-contract way, and he has lived up to that promise.

Presumably he’s not done either as the Bills have many more holes yet to fill and will do so either in free agency or through the draft. The team’s most glaring needs are at receiver, tight end, right offensive tackle and safety, the latter now that Jairus Byrd has flown down to New Orleans.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Bills are one of three teams after quarterback Michael Vick. The Bills would want him to back up EJ Manuel, not to start, and Vick wants to start somewhere. Rapoport said Vick is prepared to wait as late as after the draft before choosing a team.

BROWNS DUMP QBs

The Cleveland Browns have opened eyes with their big-bucks, big-name signings over the past two days.

But, being the Cleveland Browns, by default they also had to do things purely Cleveland Brownish.

Namely, dumping the only two healthy quarterbacks on their roster who have thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game: Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.

With Brian Hoyer rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in early October, the Browns now have one able quarterback heading into spring workouts, which begin April 7: Alex Tanney, a 26-year-old from Monmouth College in Illinois.

It’s possible the Browns will draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick on May 8. Or maybe they’ll pick up another journeyman backup to battle Hoyer and Tanney.

Weeden’s departure means both of the club’s first-round draft picks from just two years ago -- Weeden and running back Trent Richardson, dealt to Indianapolis last September -- are already off the team.

That’s another purely Cleveland Brownish thing.

HARBAUGH CAN’T WAIT FOR MARTIN

Really, it’s the only landing spot for Jonathan Martin that makes sense.

Under the tutelage of his old college head coach, Jim Harbaugh, on the San Francisco 49ers.

Late Tuesday night the Miami Dolphins traded Martin -- the 24-year-old at the centre of last fall’s locker-room bullying scandal -- to the Niners for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Martin bolted the Dolphins in late October. Word quickly got out that he’d been bullied and harassed far beyond the usual locker-room, alpha-male badgering -- to the point he contemplated suicide.

While head coach at Stanford from 2007-10, Harbaugh recruited Martin out of high school and coached him for all but his senior season.

“I can’t wait to give him a big hug,” Harbaugh told USA Today’s Jarrett Bell.

“The goal with this transition is win-win. It’s an opportunity for Jonathan Martin to prove to the football world that he is worthy of his high-round (second round) draft status … As far as the other thing, I think everybody deserves an Etch-A-Sketch opportunity for a second chance.”

If any head coach has the locker-room presence to ensure that his players give Martin that chance, you have to think it’s Harbaugh.

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