BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots’ status at cornerback for 2017 remains very much up in the air, with restricted free agent Malcolm Butler still exploring his options.

But regardless of whether or not Butler returns for a fourth season in New England this fall, might a Bill Belichick-Darrelle Revis reunion really be a possibility?

According to one NFL executive speaking to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, the answer is yes.

From Volin: “One league executive said the Patriots ‘are the only team that makes sense’ to sign Revis.”

Now, of course, the reasoning for such thinking is not the typical line of thought for an available cornerback on the free-agent market.

“Not many teams have a need for an expensive, aging cornerback with questionable work ethic,” Volin added. “But Belichick could get the most out of Revis and find a way to use him — maybe not as a starting cornerback, but certainly as a depth piece at corner or strong safety.”

If Revis does sign somewhere, the Jets would be on the hook to pay the difference in his salary under $6 million, so teams will have an incentive to take a flyer on the player who was once the best cornerback in the NFL.

The topic of a Patriots reunion with Revis was also covered by the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian over the weekend. She noted that when Revis was a member of the Patriots, “word has it, the idea of moving to safety came up the last time there was a negotiation between the two sides, and Belichick shot it down because he didn’t think Revis’ skills translated to the position.”

Obviously, bringing Revis back into the fold would open up some public comments and incidences to scrutiny. Revis seemingly insinuated that he did Belichick and Tom Brady a favor by helping them win a Super Bowl, though he later claimed that his Instagram account was hacked. Revis also didn’t support his championship team when it fell under accusations during DeflateGate, saying, “[The Patriots] have a history of doing stuff. You can’t hide that.… Tom was there when they did that stuff in the past.” Revis later stated that Brady should simply accept his four-game suspension and “live with it.” (Brady, for his part, has taken the high road when asked about his former teammate.) And Revis’ mother was reportedly denied entry to the Patriots’ ring celebration party at Robert Kraft’s house.

But, leaving all of that aside, what Revis’ potential in New England will come down to is whether or not he can still play. He didn’t look very good at all in 2016, but getting cut by the Jets could provide a type of wake-up call that could reinvigorate the Hall of Fame talent.

However, on “Sports Final” on Sunday night, ESPN’s Mike Reiss said that he’s not entirely sure that Revis would be willing to engross himself in the culture of Foxboro once more.

“I’m not sure Revis wants to come back to this culture. The work that you have to put in to be a Patriot, I mean, it takes a lot,” Reiss said. “You get a chance for a ring, but he’s got his ring now. … When you play for the Patriots, it’s a whole different ballgame. And I’m not sure if Revis himself would sign up for that before we even get into the question of whether the Patriots take him back.”

And if Belichick determines there is a football need or benefit for Revis to be on the 2017 Patriots, then it’s likely that the head coach will do “what’s best for the football team.”


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