Trade for Patriots: I absolutely love this trade for the Patriots. They desperately need cornerback help. They have a few young cornerbacks, but none of them are playing well. Tom Brady is 35 so their Super Bowl window is closing. They need a short term solution so they don’t have to rely on developmental cornerbacks like Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, and the recently released Sterling Moore. This might be the missing piece in their Super Bowl puzzle. They were contenders before this trade, but now, they’re even deadlier as they’ve upgraded one of their only weaknesses. Any time you can potentially acquire the missing piece to a Super Bowl team, it’s a good trade, especially for a mid round pick.
The Buccaneers gave up on Talib because he’s in a contract year and because of his off the field issues, but he’s still a proven cornerback. He’s still got 2 more games left on his suspension for adderall, but the Patriots will have him around for the stretch run which is what matters. He will start opposite Devin McCourty, who will probably be moving back to cornerback when Patrick Chung returns and help a pass defense that ranks 29th against the pass right now. Between McCourty (a better cornerback than safety), Talib, Patrick Chung (when he returns), and talented rookie Alfonzo Dennard, this secondary is going to look a lot better in a couple of weeks than it does now and shore up their only real weakness.
In 2010, he allowed 35 of 59 (59.3%) for 502 yards (8.5 YPA), 5 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, while deflecting 7 passes and committing 2 penalties. In 2011, he allowed 28 of 51 (54.9%) for 479 yards (9.4 YPA), 6 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, while deflecting 5 passes and committing 6 penalties. This year, he’s allowed 24 of 36 (66.7%), 399 yards (11.1 YPA), 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, while deflecting 6 passes and committing 2 penalties. Getting Talib and a 7th round pick for a 4th round pick is yet another one of Bill Belichick’s smart bye low deals. The difference between a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick is barely anything, especially for a team like the Patriots who frequently find contributors in the 6th and 7th round.
Trade for Buccaneers: Greg Schiano has made it a point to makeover the team and the locker room culture since being hired before this season. Getting rid of Talib is yet another part of that and so far, it’s worked. This was a talented team that won 10 games in 2010 and they started 4-2 last year before Raheem Morris lost control of the team. Schiano seems to have gotten it back and the Buccaneers are playing well, sitting at 3-4 with a +32 points differential. They probably won’t make the playoffs this season, which is why they could get rid of Talib, who probably would not be back after the season, so this move makes sense. It also gives them a chance to see if young cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and EJ Biggers can be long term starters. I like this move for both sides, but I think the Patriots got the better end.