While the Patriots make a play to keep their best corner, Aqib Talib, another top-of-the market guy has claimed that he could end up in New England.
Alterraun Verner, a 25-year-old who has spent the last four seasons in Tennessee, joined Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on his Sirius Satellite Radio show Monday and said that it's possible he ends up in New England. Apparently Devin McCourty, whose twin brother Jason plays for the Titans, has been in Verner's ear about making his way up to New England.
"(New England) is definitely a possibility," Verner said. "Jason's brother (Devin) has been lobbying for me (to join Patriots)."
For the Patriots, Verner would be a more-than-adequate replacement should Talib find a different home.
At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Verner's a different kind of corner than Talib, who comes in at 6-2 and about 200 pounds. But he's three years younger, and he hasn't had the injury problems that have plagued Talib. In fact, over the course of the last two seasons, Verner has started every game for the Titans. He earned his first Pro Bowl nod and was named second team All-Pro last season after he made five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles.
Just how does Verner stack up with Talib? Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King puts both Verner and Talib in the same class of corner, saying both could come in around the $8 million per year mark in their new deals. Former Packers front office man Andrew Brandt mentioned on the Ross Tucker Podcast Monday that Verner may be the only corner in this year's class who breaks the $10 million per year mark. Pro Football Talk, who ranks Talib as the No. 4 free agent available this offseason, has Verner as their No. 10 guy. Rotoworld ranks Verner one spot behind Talib among free-agent corners, with only the recently-signed Brent Grimes ranking higher.
Though Verner could reasonably demand a deal that pays him something close to what Grimes ($32 million over four years) or Green Bay's Sam Shields ($39 million over four years) received, he intimated it may not take that much to land him.
"I would feel more obliged to go to a team that paid me $6 or $7 million and made me one of the highest-paid players on the team," he told Russo.
Who knows how that opinion will change -- or won't change -- as Verner continues to discuss his future with teams around the league. Verner said he could also see himself with the Broncos, Jets and 49ers.
The bottom line is that Verner is talented, he's young, and if you choose to believe him, the Patriots are in play as one of his potential landing spots.