Cutting Talib wouldn't be hard for Bucs

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
10:15
AM ET
Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib is a person of interest to police after an incident in Texas and that’s made him a person of a lot of interest in Tampa Bay.

Talk radio and the newspapers are full of talk about Talib’s future. Again, let’s emphasize that he has not been charged with any crime at this point.

[+] EnlargeTampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib
AP Photo/Gail BurtonAqib Talib has been involved in several embarrassing incidents during his short career.
But Talib’s had a lengthy history of problems and was suspended for the first game of last season after a violent incident with a cab driver. Even if Talib isn’t charged in the Texas incident, the mere hint he was involved in something less than ideal isn’t going to sit well with the NFL or the Buccaneers.

Once the labor lockout is over, the league could discipline Talib with another suspension and it would probably be more than one game this time. Martin Fennelly writes about another solution. He says the Bucs should simply part ways with Talib.

He mentions the possibility of a trade, but I don’t think the Bucs are going to get much of anything for a guy with Talib’s history. The guy is, at times, one of the best cornerbacks in the league. But he’s also one of the most troubled.

He’s not worth the headaches. Once the lockout is over, the Bucs should shop him for a trade. If they can’t get something right away, they should just go ahead and cut Talib.

It would solve one problem and it might prevent a lot of others. The Bucs took some heat from their fans last season when several players ran into off-field troubles. There’s a perception in the area that coach Raheem Morris lets the Bucs run amok. I don’t know that perception truly matches reality in this case. But, sometimes, you have to deal with perceptions.

The Bucs could send a very loud and clear message to their fans that they’re not going to put up with guys who consistently get into trouble. More importantly, they could cut Talib and send a message to the rest of their players that they’re not going to put up with problems no matter how talented a player might be.

It wouldn’t be all that hard. The Bucs have some other talented cornerbacks in Ronde Barber, E.J. Biggers, Elbert Mack and Myron Lewis and they could add someone else in the draft or free agency.

And there’s one other reason why it would be easy to simply cut Talib -- and don’t underestimate the importance of this. It would be financially painless.

Talib presently is scheduled to earn $1,653,750 in base salary in 2011. He’s also got escalator and incentive clauses that could boost his $1,852,500 base salary in 2012. At the moment, his scheduled salary-cap figure for 2011 is $1,953,750.

If the Bucs cut Talib, they take a $600,000 cap hit for outstanding signing-bonus proration, but they would free up $1,353,750 in salary-cap space.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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