This is what we've learned on the situation based on reporting to this point:
The Patriots have interest in Talib's return, and part of the reason Talib hasn't signed anywhere at this point has been the slow-shaping market for cornerbacks, which started to develop more clearly Thursday and turned out to be lower than many anticipated.
So from Talib's perspective, the question is whether he takes a multiyear deal at a total figure that he believes doesn't match his worth, or a shorter-term deal that gives him the opportunity to put together a solid 2013 season and then potentially hit the market again in 2014.
If Talib leans toward the shorter-term deal, the Patriots would have the edge on most of their competition because of their salary-cap flexibility and willingness to pay a top market price to retain him, as well as Talib's belief that returning to New England would put him in a high-profile situation to showcase his talent to potential suitors in 2014.
Based on these dynamics in play, if the Patriots ultimately do re-sign Talib, don't be surprised if it's on a one-year deal.