Sources told Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe that the New England Patriots want to get a deal with impending free agent cornerback Aqib Talib done “soon”. The team invested a fourth-round draft pick in Talib after acquiring him from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they would like to keep their investment. Nickel and dime corners Kyle Arrington and Marquice Cole are also slated to hit free agency, and the only guy left on the roster would be Alfonzo Dennard. And while Dennard most likely won’t miss any games this upcoming season, there is still uncertainty regarding his status.
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The cornerback market is filled with question marks like the overrated and set-to-be-overpaid Sean Smith, whom the Patriots reportedly have interest in. The Patriots also showed interest in Derek Cox and Chris Gamble, but Gamble is reportedly retiring.
Talib is the only known commodity to the Patriots, and they will hope that another team does not overpay him and put Talib out of the Pats price range. While Talib is a corner with upside, he is also inconsistent and received a little too much direct credit for the Pats turn-around after acquiring him. He is, however, a valuable part of this defense and somebody with more ability than he showed with the Patriots last season. Talib’s addition allowed players to move into more natural positions, and the Pats don’t want to gamble on signing a free agent who might not be available.
I could see the Pats picking up Cox and Talib, and then moving Dennard into the slot whilst letting Arrington go. Arrington and the Pats have mutual interest, and I would like to see Arrington back. However, I have a feeling a team will fall in love with Arrington and pay him big money in the same manner than Aaron Ross received a sizeable contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars last year. If Arrington gets that kind of money, then he’s as good as gone.
We’ll see if the Pats can swing a deal for two CBs, or if they sign one guy and draft a guy like Johnthan Banks. Either way, corner is clearly the biggest need for the Patriots, and they would like to re-sign a known and talented commodity in Aqib Talib. Although he is easy to overrate, he is also talent and could be a shutdown corner if he can develop some consistency and get back into a groove. I want to see Talib back, but I also hope the price is right. If it isn’t, I would still rather have Talib than end up with nothing at all at CB in free agency. Drafting a corner isn’t enough to solve the issues in the secondary- the Pats need guys like Cox, Talib, and Chris Houston. And yes, it is a dream scenario for me to see the Pats pick up two CBs.
Talib is their top target this offseason at corner.