Last year, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick swung post-lockout trades for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and receiver Chad Ochocinco, many said that Belichick would have been criticized heavily for the move if he didn’t have the benefit of the doubt that comes from having three pelts on the wall. And so the moves were regarded as another example of his genius.
Even an idiot could see that, in hindsight, the trades cried out for criticism.
So will Belichick be criticized for rolling the dice on a player his former head coach once called a “wild child“? Belichick gave up a fourth-round pick for Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib and a seventh-round selection, a significant investment for a player who currently is on suspension for using Adderall and whose rookie contract expires after the season.
Is Talib talented? Yes. Is he troubled? Yes. Is he on a one-strike arrangement in New England? Undoubtedly.
Talib has had more than a few second chances. He had multiple failed marijuana tests in college. His coaches at Kansas had nothing good to say about him prior to the 2008 draft. He got into a fight with a teammate at the rookie symposium. He swung a helmet at left tackle Donald Penn during practice and busted another teammate in the face with it. He’s had multiple arrests. He’s now suspended.
Belichick surely sees this as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. If Talib stays on the right path, he will instantly upgrade the New England secondary. And if the Pats can squat on his rights with a long-term deal that favors the team in the short term and rewards Talib if he plays well, they’ll get more than seven regular-season games out of their fourth-round pick.
If they want him for more than seven games.