When looking at the key players the Patriots need to resign this offseason, the main guys that come to mind right now are Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer. Both of these players are extremely important to the team, and hopefully a deal gets done soon. The Patriots did come to terms on a 4 year deal with cornerback Kyle Arrington today. This probably does not sit well with most Pats fans, as over the past few season Arrington has been burned a lot on the outside. I think most fans would also like the Patriots to dedicate the money they spent on Arrington to try and sign Talib. However, I really like this signing for the Pats. I agree that Arrington is a pretty awful cover guy on the outside, but when the Pats moved him to the slot, he really played great.
Throughout the 2012 season the Pats experienced a lot of change and injuries at the cornerback position. Aqib Talib coming to the team and Devin McCourty switching to safety were the real big changes for the Patriots. Both of these moves forced Arrington to play on the outside for a good part of the season. Obviously the results were not great as he was pretty much abused out there. Injuries to Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib late in the season made the Pats keep Arrington out there, and the opposition kept going after him, and having great success.
However when Talib and Dennard got healthy again the Pats had the flexibility to move Arrington into the slot, and he really excelled there. The Divisional round playoff game against the Houston Texans really made me realize how good Arrington was in the slot in my opinion. Dennard and Talib were both healthy and starting on the outside and for the most part they took care of the ‘outside the numbers’ receivers. The Texans then attacked the middle of the field, and the slot which is where Arrington was playing. As we know the Texans offense really stalled in that game and I think Arrington deserves more credit because he more than held his own. The next week in the AFC Championship game against the Ravens, Aqib Talib was injured in the first quarter. This once again forced Arrington to play on the outside and once again he was exposed. Joe Flacco had his way in the second half against Arrington and that probably cost the Pats the game.
The only reason this Arrington deal will work out is if the Pats have two other guys that are capable of playing on the outside as the no. 1 and 2 corners. If Arrington is forced to the outside then the Patriots defense would be in big trouble. Talib must be resigned as he is a very good no. 1 corner, and the Pats will have to hope that their other starting corner, Alfonzo Dennard is able to avoid jail time. A starting trio of Dennard, Talib, and Arrington would be very good in my opinion. Combine that with Devin McCourty getting better and better at the safety position, and I think the Patriots secondary would not be as much as a weak point as it has been in prior years.