The free-agent market should be your oyster if you are Aqib Talib.
Talib turns 27 on Feb. 13 and is the best free-agent cornerback available on the market this offseason. He was also just traded in the middle of last season to a contender that desperately needs all the help it can get in the secondary.
You would think that there's no risk to Talib and that New England will break the bank for him. If not the Patriots, then someone else surely will, right?
Comcast SportsNet New England's Mike Giardi heard otherwise:
A source with knowledge of the situation told Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardi that, while Aqib Talib displayed no behavioral problems during his time with the Patriots, the team has enough concerns over his work ethic to be somewhat reluctant to offer the star cornerback a multiyear contract.
According to the source, Talib passed on the chance to do extra work at times this year and there are questions as to how he'd handle a long-term deal. The Pats, said the source, would prefer to sign Talib to a one-year, make-good contract.
So there are concerns about his work ethic. If that's the worst thing about the guy, then he would still be worth the risk. After all, the guy does have talent and no other issues.
Oh wait, he actually does have other issues, doesn't he? Talib was suspended for four games in 2012 for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, per Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
Somehow, I don't think that's all there is to Talib's story, as proved by the Tampa Bay Times publishing "A timeline of Aqib Talib's troubles."
So you have a player who the Patriots are scared to give a long-term deal to despite him being their best player in the secondary, and who had an article in the newspaper of his former team's city highlighting his problems.
Could Talib have been rehabilitated already? Yes, because he didn't cause any issues in New England and was effective for them at all times on the field. If anything, his injury in the AFC Championship Game swung the game towards the Ravens, and Talib is partly responsible for the Pats getting as far as they did this season.
Because of that, he will likely get big money from some team in desperate need of a cornerback. Still, that team probably won't be the Patriots, who would be more likely to sign him to a one-year deal for 2013 before deciding to sign him long-term.
If Talib is willing to take that deal, it's a great one for New England. But if he winds up signing a big-money, long-term deal with any team, his checkered past shows that he will be a major risk for any team that signs him