The Boston Globe's Greg A. Bedard reports that the Patriots want to make it happen, "According to multiple sources, the Patriots would like to get cornerback Aqib Talib done soon."
Can the Patriots afford to let Talib test the free-agent market?
Really, this is a no-brainer.
Talib was the team's best cornerback last year when he was healthy, and the fourth-round pick New England paid to land him in the middle of the year would be completely wasted if the Patriots allowed him to sign on with another team in free agency.
Even if the Patriots sign Talib, the team still needs to add talent and depth to its secondary, which means if he isn't re-signed, the Patriots will be in dire straights, indeed.
As of Tuesday morning, New England has three cornerbacks on its roster: Ras-I Dowling, Malcolm Williams and Alfonso Dennard.
Of these three, only Dennard can be considered as a starter.
This isn't particularly inspiring news, since Dennard was recently convicted of "third-degree assault of an officer and resisting arrest," stemming from an off-field incident that occurred last April (h/t World-Herald Bureau's Leslie Reed).
Still, we're talking about a young man who could spend his summer behind bars instead of with his team on the practice field.
It's pretty clear that the Patriots are in desperate need of cornerback help.
Talib has proven over the course of his five-year career that he's capable of producing at a high level, tallying 19 interceptions and 56 defended passes. He's a big cornerback, at 6'1" and 205 pounds, and has enough speed and athleticism to defend the league's top receivers.
Signing him won't be cheap, but it won't break the Patriots, either, especially after Tom Brady's new contract cleared up roughly $15 million in cap space in the next two seasons (h/t ESPNBoston.com).
The Patriots would be foolish to let Talib hit test the free-agent market this season, and the team must make sure he signs a long-term deal before he can sign on with another team.
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