Monday, January 21, 2013
Talib's 2013 team
By Tim Kavanagh
Sensing that he could help in their quest to win the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, the New England Patriots traded a fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for CB Aqib Talib, who instantly bolstered a secondary that had been fricasseed by opposing QBs to that point of the season. Talib delivered, and now the Patriots must decide whether he's worthy of a contract extension for 2013 and beyond.
As Ron Borges of the Boston Herald writes in the aftermath of the Pats' loss in the AFC championship game, Talib's early exit from the contest due to injury illustrated just how valuable he was to this year's effort: without Talib on the field in the second half, Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw for 159 yards and three TDs.
For his part, Talib appears to be interested at least somewhat in a return to New England. "Man, I had a lot of fun here man," he beamed Monday, per ESPNBoston.com. "Definitely enjoyed my time here, we'll see what happens in the future, but I definitely had the most fun I've had playing football in a long time here."
There will be some other talented CBs on the market this offseason -- including Brent Grimes, Sean Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Cary Williams (at whom the Pats got another good look on Sunday) -- but Talib has already demonstrated that he can be successful in the Pats' defensive system, something that is not assured with any of the others. There's also the possibility that the Pats could draft another option, but as with the available veteran free agents, it's not certain this draftee will be a great fit.
If New England does elect to let Talib hit free agency, he'll be an interesting case once the market opens. While he's found success on the field -- and CBs that can effectively handle opposing No. 1 WRs are a scarce commodity -- he's had well-documented off-field issues as well.