- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik recently was a guest on Sports Illustrated's Peter King's NFL Podcast, during which he discussed the trade with the Patriots that sent cornerback Aqib Talib and a seventh-round pick in 2013 to New England in exchange for a 2013 fourth-round pick.
Here's the entirety of his answer, which included some unique insight into the decision.
"I think there's a lot of facets that go into every decision, as you know, that we make as an organization. And I think every team out in the league is trying to look for a way to improve their product and get better. And for us, with Talib, that really was a team decision. And it was one of those ones where you kind of sat back and looked at the small picture and big picture. And I knew internally, and talked to [head coach] Greg [Schiano] about it, that we weren't going to sign Talib back at the end of the season. And I know that every season you only have so much opportunity to help this football team now, this year. And I think Aqib Talib is a talented football player, and obviously so do the Patriots, but we have also gone 4-1 without Aqib Talib here. And we weren't lighting it up on the pass defense while he was here, so it's an opportunity for our young players to really step up and play, especially our young player [cornerback] Leonard [Johnson], who's now played in three games and has three interceptions, [one] per game and just had an interception for a touchdown. And then [cornerback] LeQuan Lewis [who] we just brought from the practice squad made an interception that kind of sealed the game for us. So we have young guys that we want to continue to develop and the reality is I just felt -- we just felt as an organization -- that that fourth-round pick had real value. And it did for us last year, Peter. When you looked at two years ago, we drafted [wide receiver] Mike Williams in the fourth, but last year we took the fourth that we got from Jacksonville when we traded for [safety] Mark Barron and traded down, we used that fourth and flipped to the bottom of the fourth to go back up to take [running back] Doug Martin, and then we turned around and used that fourth that was in the bottom of the fourth and tied it to our third and went up and got [linebacker] LaVonte David. So [the] fourth round has [had] a lot of value to us over the last couple years, and we feel there's real value there to hopefully continue to build this entire football team, not just for now but for going forward."
Quick take. Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from this vantage point is that Dominik knew that Talib would not be retained following the season if he stuck around with the Buccaneers. New head coach Greg Schiano has brought a new approach to Tampa Bay, and one that involves strong discipline. Certainly Talib's checkered past doesn't seem to align with the type of player Schiano wants to build his team around, which could be the reason Dominik was already sure that he would not return in 2013. Additionally, Dominik's take on the value of a fourth-round pick is of note. Based on what the Bucs have been able to do in recent drafts with fourth-round capital and the belief that Talib would leave in free agency, it's no surprise the team coveted the pick. Conversely, the Patriots may well have justified the trade with the idea that for a middle-round pick they could acquire a starting cornerback who may prove to be a difference-maker in a struggling secondary. If all goes well during Talib's seven-game audition (plus a potential playoff run), he would figure to be a player the Patriots would be interested in bringing back after the season.
To listen to the podcast, click HERE.