Once the three-day legal tempering period preceding the NFL's free agency opens on March 12, the scramble to sign talented players about to hit the open market officially begins. Among the players to be courted will be cornerback Malcolm Butler, who is expected to leave the New England Patriots via free agency. Consequently, the reigning AFC champions will need to replace the three-year starter and former Super Bowl hero.
Free agency is the first chance the Patriots will get to do just that – and a familiar face might be on their list of targets: Aqib Talib, who called New England his home in 2012 and 2013. The 32-year old, who joined the Denver Broncos after the 2013 season, is scheduled to hit the Denver's books with $12.0 million next year and a candidate to get moved in order to generate additional cap space for his team.
According to reports, the Broncos will try to shop Talib but if no trade partner is found a release seems like a realistic scenario. If this indeed happens, two teams have reportedly established themselves as the early favorites to sign the five-time Pro Bowler: the Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coincidentally the only two teams Talib played for before joining Denver.
New England seems like a solid landing spot for Talib. After all, the former first round draft selection has played 23 games for the Patriots and grew into one of the NFL's best man-to-man corners during his tenure with the team. Of course, the financial aspect cannot be ignored as well: Would the team consider adding another potentially highly priced piece to a cornerback depth chart that is headed by $12.5 million man Stephon Gilmore?
Overall, the Patriots have allocated $15.3 million to the four cornerbacks currently part of the top-51 players under contract. Talib would certainly become a fifth – unless, of course, the team thinks that another free agent or a high-end draft pick would be the better use of financial resources.
What do you think, would you want the Patriots to bring Talib back in case he gets released?
Should the Patriots re-sign Aqib Talib if the Broncos release him?
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