Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Talib and Pats' CB issues
By Tom Carpenter
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has identified cornerback as the New England Patriots' biggest need this offseason, which is hardly a big surprise considering their season-long issues stopping the pass.
"So what do the Pats do now? [Aqib Talib] is a free agent, which would leave them with [Kyle Arrington] back on the outside except for the fact that he's a free agent too," he noted. "The Pats need a starting corner to pair with [Alfonzo Dennard], and then they need a slot corner. They could re-sign Arrington to be the latter, but certainly not the former. And they better get some depth so they're in a better position if something happens in the 2013 playoffs."
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a simple solution to their CB needs. That's partly because they have failed in the past to secure a long-term answer at that position via the draft and partly because they may not have the requisite salary-cap space to lure a veteran free agent corner.
Getting back to Talib, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss thinks the Pats will let him test the market:
Mike ReissDollars and sense for the Pats
"... [A] franchise tag on Talib would be around $10.5 million, and I don't think the team wants to go there because it would handcuff its ability to make other moves. While I do believe they'd like Talib back (similar to Welker, they are a better team with him), I think there are still some unanswered questions from the team perspective when it comes to investing big dollars in him. One thing the Patriots do a good job of is not insulting a player with an offer while letting the open market dictate the ballpark of what terms might be. If I had to guess, that's where I see Talib's situation headed. The Patriots will let him know they want him back, but they won't be pushing the envelope to sign him to a market-setting type of deal. So Talib could be free to test the market, and when that happens, the Patriots put themselves at risk of losing the player. But if Talib finds the market is not as lucrative as he hoped, the door will still be open in New England."