The New England Patriots are going hard after cornerbacks, as they have shown interested in Sean Smith, Chris Gamble, and the underrated Derek Cox of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Pats aren’t the only team interested in Cox, and New England will be competing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the services of Smith and Cox if they do decide to get heavily involved. Evidently, they are a “leading candidate” for Smith, per Jason Cole. As for Cox, it was Jeff Howe who tweeted that the Pats have “inquired about” Derek Cox and Chris Gamble.
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I have stated multiple times that I am a fan of the Patriots potentially signing Gamble, and I feel the same way about Cox. He is a solid corner in this league who did an excellent job in a subpar situation in the Jaguars defensive backfield. The Jags do want Cox back, but they are worried that he won’t come as cheap as they would like. The Washington Redskins are, according to multiple reports, pressing hard for Cox’s services (as they should). At this point in time, watch for the Redskins as the front-runners.
The Patriots could also lure Cox to New England, and I think they could even get two corners for the price of Talib (Cox and Gamble, possibly?). I would definitely take that deal if possible, because Talib is a tad overrated. He has plenty of potential, but he’s going to want far too much money. Gamble, on the other hand, was the second-best shutdown corner in 2011 behind only Darrelle Revis, and the Pats need shutdown CBs more than “playmakers” like Talib.
Cox is another great option for the Patriots, and it sounds like they are willing to move on from Talib. While I want Talib back more than I want the team to sign another overrated/expensive CB in Sean Smith, I would much rather get a pair of steady veterans in Cox and Gamble. Even if it comes at a slightly higher price, it might be worth it. In all likelihood, the Pats will just get one of those two at an affordable rate and use that money elsewhere. But, to be honest, I think spending money on two talented CBs who excel in coverage is money well spent for the Patriots.
The Redskins, Patriots, Bucs, and Jaguars are the four teams with solid shots at signing Derek Cox, and that’s the order I have them ranked as far as how likely it is for them to sign with the Patriots. Cox gave up a QB Rating of just 69.0 in 2012 and had four picks and just one touchdown allowed, per the Pro Football Focus.
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