Aqib Talib has agreed to re-join the New England Patriots on a one-year, $5 million deal. According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, the Patriots offered Talib a five-year deal, but he preferred to sign the short-term deal and test the market in 2014. For the Patriots, Talib returning, regardless of how long his tenure may be, is a major win.
After acquiring Talib in a mid-season trade, the Patriots pass defense immensely improved. In six games with the Patriots, Talib recorded 21 combined tackles, and returned an interception for a touchdown. Talib suffered an injury during the AFC Championship, a costly blow to a Patriots secondary that struggled to contain the passing attack of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.
By bringing in Adrian Wilson and re-signing Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington, the Patriots have beefed up their secondary. With Talib returning, Arrington can shift to the slot cornerback, a position he is much more suited for. Talib will play the outside cornerback as he is more adept at defending the agile, speedy receivers on the outside.
Before the 2013 NFL free agency period began, Talib was regarded as one of the top three impending free agents for the Patriots.
Wes Welker was another free agent most thought the Patriots needed to lock up, but with Danny Amendola joining the fold, the team may be all set at the slot receiver position after all, despite Welker joining the Denver Broncos. Tackle Sebastian Vollmer is the other free agent, and his whereabouts for next season are still unknown as his free agent status has been relatively quiet.
Even if the Patriots cannot retain Vollmer, the team should consider the early stages of free agency a win with the addition of Wilson and the re-signing of Talib. If the Patriots continue to reinforce their secondary, they should once again be Super Bowl favorites.