As expected, New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib has reached an agreement with the team on a one year deal.
The $5 million contract is essentially a “Prove it” contract for both sides. For Talib, it is an opportunity to play in the winning culture of the Patriots while proving that he can avoid the red flags that have dogged him to the present of his NFL career and put together a solid season in hopes of banking after the season.
For the Patriots, the retain a cover corner that helped to solidify a secondary that was in transition last season and have the opportunity to prove to Talib that he will be valued higher if he adheres to the Patriot Way – the value in the form of a long-term contract.
It has been reported that Talib received offers from three other teams and Patriots themselves had a five year deal on the table for the former 1st round pick out of Kansas, but Talib elected to defer with the potential to hit the free agent market again after the 2013 season, but if an amicable long-term agreement can be reached, it will be just one less thing for both the team and the corner to worry about.
The trickle down effect to the signing is that Cornerback is no longer the pressing need in the draft, nor is the safety position, which was filled by free agent Adrian Wilson, who signed a three year deal yesterday. Talib’s signing could possibly affect the team’s ability to present an offer sheet to unrestricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
On one hand, a one year deal with Talib does not allow the Patriots to spread any money across a span of a couple of years, so whatever he’s making will count fully against the Patriots’ salary cap – on the other hand, the team could cut Brandon Lloyd and make the offer to Sanders, surrendering a 3rd round pick that suddenly wasn’t as essential to plugging holes as it was before the Patriots did so with Wilson, Amendola, Jones and now Talib.
It is still highly possible that the Patriots make a series of deals to regain some of their lost draft picks.
On the field, the Patriots suddenly have an solid, if not intimidating secondary. Talib will team with last season’s draft steal Alfonzo Dennard as the teams starting corners, and newly signed Wilson will join free safety Devin McCourty and second year man Tavon Wilson to form the best safety tandem the team has had since the championship years.
More on this story later this afternoon.