Patriots acquire Aqib Talib
The New England Patriots on Thursday moved to bolster their porous secondary, acquiring cornerback Aqib Talib, who has one game remaining on a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Aqib Talib is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Patriots. And ESPN.com's James Walker says that makes it worth it. Blog
The Buccaneers announced the trade completed before Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline. In addition to Talib, the Patriots will get a 2013 seventh-round draft pick and send a 2013 fourth-rounder to the Bucs in return.
Talib is in the final season of his contract. The Patriots will pay him the prorated portion of his $1.825 million base salary. He won't be eligible to play for the Patriots, who are on bye this week, until a Week 11 matchup against the Colts due to the suspension .
In a statement released by the Buccaneers earlier this month, Talib said he took an Adderall pill without a prescription "around the beginning of training camp."
"This is especially regrettable because, for the past several months, with coach (Greg) Schiano's help, I've worked very hard to improve myself -- professionally and personally -- as a player and a man,'' Talib said at the time. "I am truly sorry to my teammates, coaches and Buccaneers fans, and I'm disappointed in myself. 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 was the 20th overall pick in the 2008 draft and was one of Tampa Bay's top defenders with 18 career interceptions.
Talib's suspension is the second of his NFL career.
The 26-year-old was suspended without pay for the 2010 regular-season opener and also was fined one additional game check for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. That discipline stemmed from an altercation with a St. Petersburg cab driver during training camp in August 2009.
At 6 feet 1, 205 pounds, Talib is a taller, longer corner than what the Patriots have on their roster. He's been known for his coverage and ball skills, with 18 career interceptions.
The Patriots' pass defense has been the team's biggest weakness so far this season, ranking 30th in passing yards allowed per game (281). It also has allowed 28 passing plays of more than 20 yards. Opposing quarterbacks have a 96.9 rating against the Patriots this season, 27th in the NFL.
The team's defensive secondary also has been hampered by injuries. Starting safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory have each missed the past two games and cornerback Kyle Arrington left Sunday's contest with a head injury. The Patriots on Wednesday released second-year cornerback Sterling Moore.
Talib's presence provides more flexibility for the Patriots from a personnel perspective. If the coaching staff envisions cornerback Devin McCourty as a better fit at safety -- where he's played the past two games because of injuries -- they now add another proven cornerback to the mix in Talib to take his place. Or perhaps they have more concern with the No. 2 cornerback spot and envision a McCourty/Talib pairing. This adds another puzzle piece as coach Bill Belichick attempts to fix a secondary that has struggled for long stretches.