It’s still uncertain who the New England Patriots might be using the franchise tag on, but if Aqib Talib isn’t the one, there’s a chance the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might try to sign the cornerback they traded to the Pats last season through free agency.
Last season, the trade made perfect sense – The New England Patriots needed help in their secondary, badly so. The Buccaneers were growing tired of the headache Talib proved to be during most of his four and some seasons with the team, despite his ability on the field. His behavior off of it, especially being suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances and also the legal problems while not playing football seemed to be too much to handle.
But during the short time he did play under Greg Schiano, Talib did everything he was asked to. He played four times for the Bucs, recording one interception, not to mention the previous 17 between 2008-2011. He recorded an interception and a touchdown on his first game with the Patriots in November, helping the team reach the AFC championship game.
While some think that taking a risk on a proven trouble maker like Talib is a gamble the Bucs shouldn’t be taking, any contract handed out to someone during free agency is an expensive gamble. At least with Talib, they know who they’re dealing with, plus the hope that playing for the Patriots and under the wing of Bill Belichick, Talib may have matured and evolved beyond the issues that troubled him in the past, not to mention the fact that he should be hitting his prime right about now.
If the Buccaneers manage to structure a deal that trips him of his guarantees should he foul up again, taking the risk on Talib, one of the best cornerbacks available for a team that desperately need to improve their secondary situations, might be their best choice this off-season.