Patriots brass is probably not too happy about the way events have been unfolding in the market this week. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported that Aqib Talib wants to be paid as a “top-of-the-market cornerback.” And cornerback Brent Grimes’ four-year $32 million deal with the Dolphins Monday, along with the recent $10 million salary cap increase, means that the Pats will have to give him at least close to what he wants if they want to keep him.
As Howe said, “Since Talib has thoroughly enjoyed his season and a half with the Pats, he would appear to take something of a discount, but it’s got to be close.” But Talib’s injury history makes this a problem.Talib doesn’t need surgery now, but with a hip injury, that doesn’t mean he never will. And four years is a long time to rely on someone with that possibility.
Giving Talib a three-year deal would be much safer, but that would mean more money per season, and more guaranteed (Grimes’ deal guarantees him $16 million). My guess is that if he only got three years, he wouldn’t take much less than what Grimes is getting, which may hurt if he can’t stay healthy. Regardless, they’ll have to offer him something pretty enticing before Tuesday if they want to avoid him testing the waters of free agency.
It’s also possible that his injury history may deter even some of the biggest money teams, but if you’ve ever watched football, you can imagine that someone may be desperate enough to try to better their defense in a big way. Still, Talib being on a winning team has greatly improved his attitude and character issues, so it will come down to whether money or the possibility of a championship is more important to Talib.