The Patriots traded for cornerback Aqib Talib midway through the 2012 season, and he immediately upgraded a suspect secondary. But because of off-field issues -- Talib arrived in New England in the midst of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and he previously has had several run-ins with police -- the Pats weren't willing to make a long-term investment.
So Talib hit free agency this week. But with a crowded and slow-developing cornerback market, there didn't appear to be much interest. On Saturday, Talib signed a one-year deal worth roughly $5 million to return to New England, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported.
Talib was being pursued by three other teams, according to La Canfora, but preferred to stay in New England, where he had success on the field and stayed out of trouble off it. The Patriots offered a multi-year deal, but Talib is now in position to thrive this season and then up his market value for 2014, when the corner market should not be so flooded.
Deals for corners have been hard to come by. Sean Smith, Cary Williams and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie essentially agreeed to variations of what could be one-year contracts, and several corners still out there, Nnamdi Asomugha and Antione Winfield among them.
Barring the unforeseen, Talib will be penciled in as the starter opposite Alfonzo Dennard. Kyle Arrington, who was just re-signed to a four-year contract, will likely remain in the slot, with Devin McCourty, Tavon Wilson and Adrian Wilson manning the safety positions.