NFL Rumors: Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Hold on to CB Aqib Talib?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IFebruary 23, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts to his interception against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be holding on to troubled cornerback Aqib Talib after all. 

Despite many speculating that the Bucs could let go of Talib sometime this offseason to give each side a new beginning, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported from the NFL Scouting Combine that new head coach Greg Schiano wants to give Talib his fresh start with the Buccaneers.

The legal troubles for Talib cloud the issue considerably.

Talib was indicted in late May of last year on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from an incident in which Talib allegedly fired a gun at his sister's boyfriend. His trial in that case will be in March of this year, so it seemed completely possible that the Buccaneers would send Talib packing before the trial took over the offseason.

Also, the Bucs fired Raheem Morris after last season, and Morris was one of Talib's biggest supporters during the whole ordeal. Many speculated that if Morris was shown the door, Talib could be right behind.

All the pieces appeared to be in place for Talib to be playing elsewhere in 2012.

But now that he appears to be coming back to Tampa Bay—for the time being, at least—the Buccaneers may be able to alter their draft strategy slightly.

Many have connected the Buccaneers with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 5, but he may not fill an immediate need if the team reconciles with Talib and veteran Ronde Barber returns for another season.

The team could look to take a player such as Alabama running back Trent Richardson or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon if either are still on the board when the Bucs pick. 

That's only if the team felt comfortable with how the cornerback situation shapes up ahead of 2012.

Of course, the Buccaneers still have to weigh the possibility of Talib facing a major suspension/jail time if the case doesn't go his way, and Barber is clearly into the twilight of his career. Claiborne would still add a very talented and valuable insurance plan.

From a talent perspective, bringing back Talib seems to be a positive sign for Buccaneers fans. The 25-year-old has an impressive 17 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns in four NFL seasons. 

Only time will tell how his potential return would change what the team wants to do this April at the draft.