Will either Aqib Talib or Richard Sherman be one of the answers to the New England Patriots offseason needs on defense?
Let the roller coaster of emotions begin. Coming off a Super Bowl loss, the New England Patriots will be out to improve a defense that gave up 41 points and looked anemic in the big game.
One area they will be looking to improve is the defensive secondary. Two players who are rumored to be available via trade or free agency are Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
While reports have surfaced that the Seahawks do plan to release Sherman within the next few days, rumors have also intensified around the Broncos either trading or releasing Talib.
In fact, Talib threw this little nugget out there, via ESPN’s Dianna Russini:
While there are mixed feelings among Patriots fans concerning both players, adding either one will be a tremendous upgrade in a secondary due to lose Malcolm Butler in free agency. But which one is the better fit in New England right now?
The following three reasons, in my opinion, are why the Patriots should be more focused on Aqib Talib over Richard Sherman.
He’s been here before
Aqib Talib knows the system and the system knows Aqib Talib. Despite his off-the-field issues and on-the-field tactics with Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the 32-year-old cornerback is still at the top of his game.
His aggressiveness and versatility as a cornerback is something Bill Belichick could use to insert some more identity to the defense. He can cover top wide receivers and he can cover tight ends as proven by the way Belichick used him against tight end Jimmy Graham.
Talib also already has a relationship and some chemistry with safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon who he played with in 2013. That will certainly help when it comes to communication.
The Patriots Way
While outspoken, Talib will be able to adapt to how the Patriots handle things in the media. Again, playing under Belichick before, he’ll tone it down when it comes to criticism of the team…we think.
The fact that he has expressed a desire to return to New England means he is willing to do so. As long as the team is winning and he’s playing at a high level, it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Richard Sherman, on the other hand, will be quick to criticize Bill Belichick if things are not going the way he thinks they should. Of course, I could be underestimating Sherman here. But, just can’t see him keeping quiet over a long period of time.
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The health factor
Coming off a ruptured Achilles, Sherman may take a while to return to the player he was in Seattle, if he does at all. It would certainly be a risk for any team willing to take the 30-year-old cornerback in, but a risk worth it if he does in fact return to the player he was.
With Aqib Talib, there is an injury history, but at least he’ll be fully healthy and ready once training camp begins. Again, the New England Patriots will know what they are getting in Talib.
In all, acquiring either player would be great for Bill Belichick. Both would be a nice compliment to Stephon Gilmore and bring attitude to the defense.
Now, to dim any dreams of either one, other teams can step up to keep the Patriots out of the picture. The Broncos could trade Aqib Talib to a team making a solid offer and a team could also overpay for Richard Sherman.
Either of those scenarios will test the Patriots hunger to upgrade at the position, without paying or giving up too much.