Saturday, February 22, 2014

Patriots wheeling and dealing with Talib at Combine


The Buffalo Bills are making every effort to sign safety Jairus Byrd to a long-term deal. Fortunately for New England Patriots fans, their team seems to have the same plan in mind for their top defensive back.

Aqib Talib, the anchor of the team's secondary and arguably the top cornerback on the free agent market, is scheduled to meet with New England's brass in Indianapolis this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to Jim Howe at the Boston Globe.

It's no surprise, particularly since the team gave the 28-year-old a $5 million deal last year to perform, and he played up to the hype. Talib consistently shut down the top receivers in the league and kept a depleted defense, along with a few other key contributors, relevant.

The team has until March 11 to talk exclusively with their No. 1 corner, who will then hit the open market and likely garner plenty of attention. Given his age, Talib will probably shoot for at least a four-year deal, with each year matching or exceeding his salary from last year.

Robert Kraft said via ESPN Boston earlier this week that working out a possible extension for Talib is "a balance," noting the veteran's injury issues and the team's limited cap room, currently projected somewhere around $7 million.

"I think he's happy here and would like to be here," Kraft said. "We're happy with him and we'd like to have him here. Now it's just about doing business, and that's our intent.”

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