Many questions involved in potential Talib deal

Many questions involved in potential Talib deal
October 1, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Aqib Talib has been the Patriots best defensive player this year. And it ain’t close.
 
Actually, Talib’s more than that. He’s their MVP for the first quarter of the season, the best player on the side of the ball that’s propelled the Patriots to 4-0.
 
Ironic because the post-Hernandez Patriots probably wouldn’t touch Talib if he were available today.
 
Little bit of gunplay. Little bit of weed. Little bit of whacking people in the head. The guy came to the team from Tampa while still on a PED suspension, for crissake.
 
Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a bad guy to enter the Patriots kingdom since Aaron Hernandez got drafted, got paid, got jailed on a murder charge.
 
At least that’s the impression the Patriots gave in the wake of Hernandez’ arrest.
 
It hasn’t even been three months since a chastened Robert Kraft said the team would begin closely “auditing how we do things” after being “duped” by Hernandez’ killer charm.
 
We all tsk-tsked but I certainly believe that the team doesn’t want to get fooled again.
 
Now here’s Talib. An outlier to whatever edict the team was planning to impose because the guy with the bad rap sheet is already in the house, grandfathered into the organization.
 
So far? An Eagle Scout. Magnetic personality. Awarded for commitment and participation in the offseason program despite being signed to an itty-bitty deal relative to his ability (1-year, $5 million). Competently covering the best receivers in the league.
 
There’s no disputing it, the 27-year old’s been the rising tide lifting all boats on the entire defense (see the stats for the defense pre-Talib and post-Talib).
 
But has he been a model citizen because a light went on and his seemingly chaotic life’s in order? Or has he measured his steps because it behooves him to?
 
If the Patriots sign him to a long-term deal in March when his one-year deal expires, will they be employing a strict vetting process they indicated they would in July, or will they let him slide because, well, he’s so damn good?
 
And how will Talib behave post-contract? Between Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Hernandez, the Patriots have precedents of guys who weren’t quite the same after they got paid as they were when they were still waiting on their bigger deals.
 
You can franchise the kid, but how happy will that make Talib who – it appears – has busted his ass to make the Patriots trust him so they’ll give him a deal with a generous slice of guaranteed money. And if the Patriots don’t want to do that, I don’t think Talib is going to just shrug if they keep him from hitting the market to find that dough elsewhere.
 
Both sides can already contend they’ve “given.”
 
Talib is showing how good he is on the field and off because the Patriots took a chance on him. But Aqib, Inc. is sacrificing financially RIGHT NOW for that chance. Time’s wasting and the window to cash in for a top-tier corner is upon him.  
 
And then there’s The Audit.
 
It’s funny, the horror expressed in the marketplace in June and July has been replaced in September and early October by calls to trade for Josh Gordon or Kenny Britt and to SIGN TALIB NOW.
 
What to do with Talib? What a freaking quagmire. It will be about football, business, loyalty, doing the right thing by the player, by the franchise and by the fanbase.
 
The quagmire only gets deeper if Talib keeps playing like the best corner in football.