At this point it seems like NFL free agency has been going on for days even though it hasn’t quite been 48 hours. But even though a number of cornerbacks hit the market, either because they were scheduled to become free agents or were released, none of the top players at the position began getting new jobs before Wednesday night.
The first to sign was Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who went to Denver on a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million.
Also Wednesday night, the Chargers signed former Jacksonville CB Derek Cox for a reported four years, $20 million – with $10.25 million guaranteed.
And Thursday afternoon, the Chiefs added former Dolphin Sean Smith. Smith, who had been courted by a few teams, received three years, $18 million with $11 million guaranteed from Kansas City, according to NFL.com.
So what does all of this mean for the Patriots’ free agent corner, Aqib Talib? Probably that he shouldn’t expect to break the bank. Smith and Cox in particular were considered the top players available at the position, along with Talib.
But things have clearly changed for cornerbacks: last year, Lardarius Webb received six years, $52.74 million with $10 million guaranteed to remain in Baltimore; Tampa Bay got Eric Wright away from Detroit with a five year, $37.5 million contract that guaranteed $15.5 million, and Brandon Carr became a Cowboy when he was given five years, $50.1 million and half of it guaranteed.
In other words, it’s a bad year to be a free agent corner, and the market might be playing into the Patriots’ hands if they want to keep Talib around.