Talib low-risk, high-reward for Patriots

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
5:00
PM ET
The New England Patriots took a calculated risk at the trade deadline by acquiring talented but troubled cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This was another potentially smart move for the Patriots to fix their struggling secondary. New England is ranked 28th against the pass, one of the team’s few weaknesses.

I like the acquisition of Talib for the short term. New England gets Talib and a seventh-round pick in 2013 for a fourth-round pick in 2013. It’s a low-risk, high-reward move.

Talib is a playmaker in the final year of his contract. Therefore, New England is essentially renting the talented cornerback for half a season to see if he can make a difference. If he learns the system quickly, Talib has the physical tools to be a starter for the reigning AFC champs.

He comes to New England with plenty of baggage. Talib still has to serve one game of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancement policy. He also has had several off-the-field issues since being drafted by the Bucs in 2008.

But this is a textbook move by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He is always confident in the leadership of his locker room and the ability to take in troubled players. The strategy worked with Randy Moss and Corey Dillon. It did not with Albert Haynesworth.

Talib has the talent to pay immediate dividends like Moss and Dillon. But if Talib goes down the path of Haynesworth, New England is never afraid to cut bait. The risk is worth the reward.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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