Cornerback Aqib Talib was able to solidify the No. 1 cornerback position for the New England Patriots after being acquired in a mid-season trade this past season. Talib excelled as the cover cornerback, lining up against the quick wide receivers on the outside. The Patriots pass coverage improved with the addition of Talib, who is an impending free agent. Given Talib’s success in a brief stint with the Patritos, he may be due for a big pay day in the open market. After declining to use the franchise tag on Talib, the Patriots may opt to not re-sign the talented cornerback.
The loss of Talib would leave a major void in the Patriots secondary. The Patriots could look at Chris Gamble, released today by the Carolina Panthers in an effort to create cap space, to replace Talib. Gamble is regarded as one of the better cover corners in the NFL when healthy. Gamble was limited to four games in 2012 after being placed on injured reserve as he needed shoulder surgery. But Gamble had a sensational season in 2011, allowing an otherworldly 53.3 QB Rating, according to Pro Football Focus. Gamble recorded 37 tackles that season, while hauling in three interceptions for 43 yards.
Signing Gamble would be a risk, given that he is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery. Plus, the cornerback turns 30 on Monday, potentially a cause for concern that his career is on the back nine. Alas, Gamble will be one of the most coveted cornerbacks now in free agency. If Talib decides to sign elsewhere in free agency, the Patriots may want to take the “gamble” on Gamble.