With as poorly has the Patriots secondary has played this season, Bill Belichick and staff made a move at the trade deadline to help bolster the depleted unit. The Patriots traded a 2013 fourth round pick to Tampa Bay for cornerback Aqib Talib and a 2013 seventh round pick just before Thursday’s deadline.
Following the release of cornerback Sterling Moore Wednesday, it was apparent something was up, and the trade for Talib confirmed the suspicions. With the 2008 first rounder's (20th overall) contract set to expire at the end of the season the deal can be looked at as a low-risk, high-reward move as unless he re-signs he will not return to the team in 2013.
Talib, who played at the University of Kansas, has had his fair share of disciplinary issues from the time he was drafted. At the 2008 NFL rookie symposium he was involved in a fistfight with a teammate. He has also been arrested twice since 2008 for resisting arrested without violence and for simple battery after an altercation with a taxi driver.
In 2011 he was issued a felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Talib was released on $25,000 bond and was indicted two months later, but the charges were later dropped.
He has also been suspended twice by the league - once for violating the league’s conduct policy following his actions in 2008, and this season as he is currently serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. He can return to action Nov. 18 when the Patriots host the Colts.
Talib claims he was using the drug Adderall without a prescription.
"I will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help this team in the second half of the season," Talib said following the suspension. "I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation I put myself in, which is why I will not exercise my appeal rights and will begin serving the suspension immediately."
When he is able to get on the field, Talib possesses a great deal of talent. In 58 career games, the 6-foot-1 inch, 205-pound cornerback has recorded 53 pass breakups and 18 interceptions.
It should also be noted Belichick has a good relationship with Buccaneers and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, which was formed when Belichick scouted Devin McCourty at Rutgers.
The move could also impact McCourty as the team may look to move him to a full-time spot at safety. Due to injuries at safety he has been forced to play the position the past two weeks and has performed quite well after struggling at cornerback earlier in the year. Talib could give the team some stability at corner and allow McCourty to move to safety.
With Talib’s contract set to expire at the end of the year and giving up very in return, combined with his performance when he does get on the field, this move could pay off for the Patriots for the remainder of the season.