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New England Patriots Analysis: Aqib Talib deal a steal


The New England Patriots have re-signed Aqib Talib, and this news comes as little surprise. Thanks to a flooded market filled with other talented CBs like Sean Smith, Chris Houston, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Talib didn’t get anywhere near the amount of money he was hoping for. The talented but inconsistent CB is back with the Patriots on a one-year deal, per Adam Schefter.

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Talib wanted to stay with the New England Patriots, and the Patriots viewed Talib as a huge priority for them this offseason. They have now signed their priority for another year, and Talib has a chance at putting himself into a position to get a huge deal in 2014 with a big season in 2013. The cornerback market won’t be nearly as soft next offseason, and it gives Talib a chance to pump up his value.

For the Patriots, giving Talib one year was easy. A source told CSNNE last month that the Patriots were reluctant to give Talib a multi-year deal due to concerns over his work ethic and how he would respond to the added security. It looks like the Patriots won’t have to worry about that, and they secured their top target and stability in 2013 at the cornerback position. If the Patriots did not keep Talib, then they would have been in serious trouble due to the dearth of corners on the open market right now.

Critics of Kyle Arrington will point to Talib’s cheap deal as more reason to incriminate the Patriots for giving Arrington $4 million per year, but it is important to note that a significant portion of Arrington’s contract is laced in bonuses. It is also important to note that the Pats are trying to get their players at as a cheap of a rate as possible, and it’s best not to complain about Arrington’s contract when looking at what Talib got. Both players are in different situations, but I will say that $8.5 million in guaranteed money is too much in my view for a slot corner.

In any case, Talib really had only one team interest in him- the Washington Redskins. They were less than a million dollars over the salary cap, so there was no realistic way for the Redskins to sign Talib. Everybody expected Talib to stay in New England once we hit Wednesday, and those predictions came true.

Talib will be locked into the Patriots No. 1 cornerback slot, and $5 million for one year is a great deal for a player with Talib’s potential. I think a multi-year deal would have been a little bit risky, and this is because of Talib’s checkered past and his issues with consistently performing at a high level- which he hasn’t done in his career yet. He certainly has the potential to do so, and that’s the risk with a one-year deal. If he does show that in 2013, then Talib could play himself out of the Patriots hands next offseason. In my opinion, though, those risks are subordinate to the risks of a multi-year pact.

It seems like Talib’s character concerns have been exaggerated over the years, because he has done a couple of things with the New England Patriots that have been exceptional acts of kindness. Talib told ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss that he didn’t want to do their “Football Journey” piece, because he didn’t want it to be about him and not the team; classy. His deal to re-sign with the New England Patriots was also reportedly an act of good faith, because Talib took the inexpensive deal because he wants to play for the Patriots.

The New England Patriots may or may not be set at corner, and it will be interesting to see if they decide to draft a guy like Johnthan Banks or even try to add another player in the free agent period. There is still some uncertainty regarding Alfonzo Dennard‘s status, but I doubt that will influence the Pats in making a long-term decision at corner. The Patriots have plenty of money due to some of the value signings they have had (Talib likely being the most prominent one), and that means they have plenty of money to use to lock up Sebastian Vollmer.

I am elated to see that the Patriots have kept Aqib Talib, and all the Patriots fans who were freaking out about Talib (especially following the Arrington deal) can now rest easy knowing he is back for at least one season. I am especially happy to see Talib’s price come at such a low cost, and I have a feeling Talib decided to take the one-year deal- he seems like a man who wants to prove himself to the league. The best way to do it? Show some consistency and play like a true shutdown corner in 2013. He has the potential, and it’s time for the 27-year-old to put it together.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.