- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded away their best cornerback Thursday, which may sound like a risky move.
But I’ll go ahead right now and cast a vote for Mark Dominik for general manager of the year simply for getting something via trade in return for the troubled Aqib Talib. The Bucs also sent their seventh-round pick along with Talib to the Patriots and said their compensation is New England's fourth-round pick in 2013, which is about three rounds higher than I would have expected. Dominik deserves praise for getting anything in exchange for this guy.
Heck, Talib isn’t even eligible to play for the Patriots right away. He still has one game left on his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. In a statement released by the Bucs when the suspension was announced, Talib said he took Adderall without a prescription.
There also has been a Fox Sports report that Tampa Bay’s other starting cornerback, Eric Wright, soon will face a similar suspension for using the same substance. If that’s true, it may seem risky to go ahead and trade Talib, but it’s not.
This was a move that was long overdue. And, even though coach Greg Schiano previously said Talib would be back with the Bucs after the suspension, you knew it wouldn’t be for long. Talib’s contract is scheduled to end at the end of the season and I’m pretty sure the Bucs simply would have let him walk into free agency.
From the moment the Bucs hired Schiano, you knew he and Talib were the oddest couple since Oscar Madison and Felix Unger. When Kellen Winslow and Tanard Jackson quickly were shown the door, I was surprised Talib wasn’t with them.
This is a guy the Bucs put up with way too much trouble from in the past. Jon Gruden and Raheem Morris let Talib run amok because he had some talent. But Schiano isn’t Gruden or Morris.
He’s a coach who doesn’t put up with off-field problems. And Talib was a constant problem. He had a well-publicized incident with a cab driver, some altercations with teammates and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, although the charges were later dropped.
At times, Talib would give the media the old song and dance about how he’d grown up and matured. But then he’d turn right around and do something immature. Talib had such difficulty managing his anger, I once saw him come very close to getting into a physical altercation with a member of the local media.
But the Bucs will be better off in the long run without Talib. Even if they had kept him just for the remainder of this season, there’s a pretty good chance they would have faced another headache or two along the way.
This way, the Bucs got rid of a headache and got something in return. That’s a win. Let's see how well Talib and New England coach Bill Belichick get along.
By the way, I now have dropped my dysfunction rating on the Bucs in this earlier column from 35 percent to 25 percent, in light of the Talib trade.