Just like last year, the Patriots top free agent signed with the teams’ now biggest rival, the Denver Broncos. Late Tuesday night it was reported that star Cornerback Aqib Talib was signing a 6 year deal with Denver worth $57 Million.
Talib is just the latest player the Patriots have let walk and go to a rival. Of course last year the big story was Wes Welker signing with the Broncos after the Patriots wouldn’t pay him nearly what he wanted.
Talib played a huge role for the Patriots in the 2013 season especially with the injuries they faced all year on defense. If it wasn’t for Talib, the Patriots may not have won as many games as they did last year. In the 13 games he played in for the Patriots, Talib had 4 interceptions, and made quarterbacks think twice before targeting a receiver that Talib was covering.
If the season were to start today, the Patriots top Corner would be Logan Ryan, and despite a decent season from him this year it hard to tell what he’ll do in his second year in the league. Ryan also had it easier because Talib did such a good job on his coverage’s, Quarterbacks were able to target receivers covered by Logan Ryan more because he was the easier target to try and beat.
There’s still plenty of time for the Patriots to pick up a decent Cornerback before the season starts, but nothing they have done in years past would indicate that they are willing to spend money on a good free agent. The best Corner out there is Darrelle Revis, but he still belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the price to trade for him would be pretty high.
One concern the Patriots may have had about Talib was his ability to stay healthy. He missed three games this season, and left the AFC Championship game early for the second year in a row after getting injured. Although Talib may not have been the difference maker against the Broncos, he could have at least kept the conference championship game closer than what it was.
Talib was acquired from Tampa Bay during the 2012 season and immediately became a force on the Patriots defense. He accepted a one year deal from the club after the 2012 season, and that turned out to be a good move for him, because he wouldn’t have gotten a deal anywhere near as good as he got from the Broncos.
As the Bronco’s continue to improve on both defense and offense, the Patriots will need to make some good, smart moves to stay in the race in the AFC.