Previous Contract: Five years, $14 million
2013 Franchise Tag Price: $10.6 million
The Skinny: In Aqib Talib's first game with the Patriots (Week 11 against the Colts), he intercepted Andrew Luck's pass to Reggie Wayne in the second quarter and returned it for a 59-yard touchdown. He also added seven tackles on the afternoon, just to make sure everybody knew that he had finally arrived.
Talib heads into free agency with a reputation as "the guy who helped New England's secondary improve." That reputation brings some prestige, and such acclaim could generate some big financial interest from other teams. This could get intense.
Bottom Line: The Patriots have a good shot at bringing Talib back with $18 million over three years, or $24 million over four years, depending upon the time frame they're seeking (along with the exterior pressure from other teams).
Either way, we're talking about a ton of money for a guy who played only six regular season games for the Patriots, and then missed three quarters of the AFC Championship with a leg injury.
Also, the Patriots should keep in mind that the secondary needs a ton of work, even with Talib on the roster. His presence helps, but he's only a fragment of the solution. The team needs some cap space to fill the other holes as well.
In all likelihood, the savior of this secondary hasn't joined the team yet, and when the Patriots find that guy, they'll need to pay him. They should keep that in mind before they break the bank on Talib.