Talib agrees to return to Patriots

Talib agrees to return to Patriots
March 16, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Reacting to knee-bucklingly low contracts being signed by other free agent cornerbacks, Aqib Talib has decided to re-up with New England for a season and try his luck on the market again next year.

Talib, 27, gets a one-year, $5 million deal, according to sources. The deal works for New England because the Patriots get a talented player who played very well for them after being acquired by trade in November. Not only was Talib a tremendous upgrade as a front-line corner, he also allowed the team to put other defenders - Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington - in positions where they seemed better suited (safety and slot corner).

It also works for the Patriots in that Talib - who had a checkered past in four years with Tampa Bay before the Bucs dealt him - is in a position where he must avoid giving the perception he's still a knucklehead or jeopardize a long-term deal for more money in free agency next year.

Whatever ends up happening next year, the "flat cap" and teams lack of salary cap planning prior to the new CBA has resulted in a death of money this year for players at a normally well-paid position.

By way of comparison, three of the top corners in 2012 - Cortland Finnegan, Carlos Rogers and Lardarius Webb - signed for five years and $50 million, four and $29.3M and six and $52M respectively.

This year, Sean Smith signed with Kansas City for three years and $18 million, Cary Williams signed with the Eagles for three years and $17 million and Chris Houston signed with Detroit for five and $25M.

The money isn't going out as it was last offseason.

The return of Talib, the re-signing of Arrington and the addition of strong safety Adrian Wilson are all important moves for the Patriots secondary.

Maligned as the Patriots defense was before Talib's arrival, after he began playing, the impact was obvious. The Patriots defense allowed 24 of 79 (30 percent) third down conversions in the season's final five games. In the first 11, they allowed 58 of of 126 (46 percent).