New England Patriots star cornerback Aqib Talib is expected to be one of the top free agents available this offseason, and I think only a franchise tag could prevent him from hitting the open market. Although there’s a chance he re-signs with the Patriots before free agency hits due to his love for the organization (they gave him a chance and helped him get his career on track), it’s more likely that he decides to test the free agent waters. After all, Talib reportedly rejected a multi-year pact from the Pats in order to sign a one-year, prove-it deal that would allow him to sign a huge contract in 2014 if he had a successful year. With the cornerback market less saturated and Talib coming into the offseason with an All-Pro appearance on his resume, he’s set to make bank.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post wrote in his latest mailbag that the Redskins coaching staff is still “high” on Talib, and it sounds like there’s a high chance Talib receives significant interest from the Redskins organization if he does hit the free agent market. The Redskins, as Jones notes, tried to go after Talib last year, but they had massive cap problems and had to settle on E.J. Biggers as a free agent signing instead. With a lot more cap space set this offseason, the Redskins should have more than enough ammunition to go after a No. 1 corner that they desperately need; Talib looks like a prime candidate, especially since Redskins DBs coach Raheem Morris was his head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Talib goes into free agency with some injury concerns (hip) and struggles against speedy wide receivers, but he is one of the best press corners in the game and is deadly against possession receivers due to his physicality. And oh by the way, he had 13 passes defended and four interceptions last season in 12 games. I think the Patriots ultimately end up keeping him, but I also think Talib will be open in free agency- watch closely for the Redskins.