The new NFL trade deadline passed at 4 p.m., and the Patriots were involved in the only deal.
And it was certainly an interesting one: the Patriots acquired Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib, a talented but troubled player who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The Buccaneers sent Talib and a 2013 seventh-round pick to New England in exchange for a 2013 fourth-round pick.
It seems like a high price for the Patriots, particularly since Talib isn’t eliglbie to play again until Nov. 18 and will become a free agent after this season.
Listed at 6 feet 1 inch, 205 pounds, Talib was the 20th overall pick in 2008 out of Kansas. In his 58-game career with Tampa Bay, he had 53 pass breakups and 18 interceptions, three of which were returned for a touchdown.
There is little doubt that Talib is talented.
But he also has a long list of off-field issues in the NFL, which began not long after he was drafted; at the 2008 rookie symposium, he got into a fistfight with teammate Cory Boyd. He has since been arrested for resisting arrest without violence and simple battery after an alleged incident with a taxi driver.
That event led to his first NFL suspension, for violating the league’s conduct policy. He wasn’t allowed to play in Tampa Bay’s 2010 season opener and was docked an additional paycheck.
In March 2011, police in his native Texas issued a felony warrant for Talib — he allegedly pistol-whipped and shot at his sister’s boyfriend, Shannon Billings, and was wanted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released on $25,000 bond and was indicted on the charge two months later. But earlier this year, the charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence and character concerns about Billings — at the time, Billings was in jail as a repeat sex offender.
Given his volatile past — he has also hit a teammate with a helmet and nearly had a physical altercation with an official — Talib is a high-risk acquisition for New England.
But the Patriots’ secondary has been a problem for a couple of years, and having Talib may allow Devin McCourty to remain at safety, which the team wanted to do at the start of the season but held off on because of concerns at the corner position.