The New England Patriots have no problem bringing in players who don’t exactly have the best track record. I am not talking about players who have not done well with other teams, but rather ones who have had character concerns or other problems called into question that occur off the field. They brought in Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, and those two helped the Patriots for a few years before either retiring or having the relationship turn sour.
Of course, they also brought in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Johnson, and those two resulted in miserable failures for New England. Both were jettisoned off much sooner than may have been expected.
With the latest acquisition of the Patriots coming in the form of troubled cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it will be interesting to see which way this trade will go down in New England. Will Talib be more like Moss and Dillon or Johnson and Haynesworth?
Simply put, there is quite a difference.
Personally, I see the move working out alright. It may not be the equivalent of acquiring a player who will push them to the Super Bowl, but I also do not see him coming in and disrupting the team and not improving a very weak defensive secondary. Talib may fall somewhere in the middle.
From a pure talent standpoint, Talib immediately becomes the team’s most gifted defender. Unfortunately, he also comes with a lot of baggage. In fact, the Patriots will not even get to see Talib in the field for a couple of more weeks as he finishes serving his four game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing drugs. Talib said his failed test was for Adderall, but it is not his first run-in with the league, hence the reason he came so cheaply to the Patriots from the Bucs. They just anted him off of their roster.
Still, there is time for Talib to turn things around in 2012. We must keep two things in mind.
First, Talib is a free agent after this season. he will be playing for a new deal. Whether that comes from New England or some other team, he needs to make a great impression over the final month or so of the season once he comes back from his suspension.
Second, Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick are good friends. While I know that both men just want to win, I don’t feel as if Belichick would have accepted a trade for Talib without at least hearing something positive from Schiano first.
Either way, this could be the final chance for Talib. He clearly woe out his welcome in Tampa Bay quite some time ago, and Schiano was not going to put up with him any longer. If the same ends up being true with his time in New England, a once top cornerback prospect could wind up playing his way out of the league after 2012.
After all, if you cannot make things work with the Patriots, you can almost hang up your cleats shortly afterward. It has been that clear.