Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib (31) during the first half of the AFC divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots on Paper: What about Aqib Talib?

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Bill Belichick really seemed to like Aqib Talib.

And what’s not to like?  His presence solidified New England’s secondary by making it possible to move people around to positions for which they seemed more naturally inclined.  It allowed Devin McCourty to be permanently reassigned to the Free Safety position for which he’s shown great aptitude.

His presence has allowed for rookie Alfonzo Dennard to be thrown into the fire at the opposite corner and with McCourty playing behind him, Dennard blossomed into a legit #2 corner and is going to get a lot better.

Talib is a shut down corner when he’s on the field, but it is what happens when he’s not on the field that will expidite Aqib Talib’s departure from Foxboro….

…not that he’s lived up to the off-the-field reputation of making immature decisions that preceded him – because by all accounts he’s been a good citizen, but his refusal to put in extra work and his fragility are potentially a talisman for the Patriots to show him the door.

He came to Foxboro riding the last game of a four game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.  In the final year of his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Talib welcomed the opportunity to come to New England and start fresh, hoping to put his checkered past behind him.

But old habits die hard, and the immensely talented former 1st round draft pick’s clean slate with the Patriots eventually became marked with concern over his work habits and being prone to injury.

Even before the latest news on his work ethic surfaced, there was doubt that the Patriots would attempt to resign Talib – solely due to amount of money that he’s going to demand on the open market – because just as surely as someone is going to over pay Wes Welker, some cornerback desperate team is going to back up a Brinks Armoured Truck to Talib’s bank and start shoveling the money in.

Still, if the Patriots really wanted to keep him around, they could always designate him as their franchise player and keep him for a sum of around 9 – 10 million dollars for one year, but why eat up all of that cap space on one player that may or may not make it through an entire year healthy, and who won’t put in the work off the field when he is – especially when they might be in a fight to keep Free Agent Sebastian Vollmer on the roster?

It is possible that the team may be able to sign him up for a year with the promise of an extension if he does his work the right way, but that’s the kind of thing you never hold your breath over – plus the Patriots are probably a little bit queasy about personnel moves after wasting their eligible to return IR spot on Vinsanthe Shiancoe last season, as the former Viking’s star tight end was eventually released after returning from the IR – and will now think twice before making any personnel moves involving tags.

But, as always with Bill Belichick, none of us really know what is going to happen and we will live by the mantra “In Bill We Trust” – but after what’s transpired with player deals and moves of late, Bill may be wondering if he can trust himself…

…in the end, all Patriots fans would love to see Talib in a Patriots’ uniform next season and for years beyond – but there’s got to be some give from both parties and with all of the money out there for Talib, it goes to figure that neither team will be willing to bend as far as it’s going to take.

But there’s always the Franchise Tag if they really feel the issues are worth dealing with.

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