Before the start of the regular season, Grantland's Bill Barnwell created an "all-bad contracts team." The Patriots had one player featured, cornerback Kyle Arrington. Barnwell's supposed contract flaw for Arrington: that he was a marginal talent.
Eleven games into the 2014 season, and Kyle Arrington has been anything but that.
He has steadily seen his role increase as the season has gone on. After playing just 10 combined snaps in weeks seven and eight, Arrington has been on the field for 55 and 48 respectively in the last two games.
Last night against the Indianapolis Colts, he was given the task of covering the electric T.Y. Hilton. Arrington excelled, turning in perhaps his best game of the year. On four throws intended for Hilton with Arrington in coverage, he allowed just 13 yards one on completion.
Every time Kyle Arrington slides a bit down the depth chart, he finds a way to sneak back to the top. Heading down the stretch this season, there is no question that Arrington is the Patriots' top slot cornerback, having surpassed both Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan. His play has seemingly improved as well, particularly when it comes to turning his head while tracking receivers deep down the field.
Arrington's average annual value, at $4 million a year places him at 30th in the league (source: Overthecap.com). It may not qualify as a bargain, but that number slots him as the third highest paid player at the cornerback position for the Patriots and is also quite reasonable considering he is on his first contract following unrestricted free agency.