Yep, Bill Belichick still wants all of your discarded dysfunction, please.
The same man who employed and abruptly cut Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth, and Chad Johnson recently has made another splash into the vast pool of potentially really talented players who only reach such talent if they can refrain from being turds. Paying a minimal cost for possibly a sizable gain is a classic Belichick move, although the cost here — a fourth-round pick in next spring’s draft, and New England also gets Tampa’s seventh — isn’t exactly minimal. It’s not crushing either, but it’s high enough that jettisoning Talib if the 26-year-old can’t stop acting out in the offseason will be a little more difficult.
Talib is just completing a four-game suspension for Adderall use, and the fact that a player with such a checkered past was the only body to be move on trade deadline day is the finest illustration of the league’s fear of moving or more often acquiring players mid-season. Increased parity leads to more teams thinking they have a shot at the playoffs and they’re therefore unwilling to kill the support of their fanbase.
When he’s on the field, the Patriots have acquired a cornerback who may have regressed, but he’s still far above replacement level, and he’ll easily upgrade a secondary that’s giving up 281.1 yards per game though the air, and more alarmingly has seen opponents record 42 passes for 20 yards or more. The Pats are again last in the latter category by a wide margin, as the next closest team is the Giants with 35.
Exactly how much has Talib regressed? Well, this much…
Talib this year: 36 targets, 24 receptions (66.7%), for 399 yards and 1 TD given up. 1 INT, 6 PDs, QB rating of 101.5 into his coverage
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 1, 2012
From a fantasy perspective, this sucks, because picking apart Kyle Arrington will no longer be an option. But the impact of that is limited by the Patriots’ remaining schedule and the lack of start-able opposing QBs, especially with byes ending in Week 11.
Matt Schaub is now just a little less appealing as a starter in Week 14, the first week of the fantasy playoffs in many leagues. Ditto for Andrew Luck in Week 11, but Talib leads to just moderately decreased expectations for both quarterbacks and their primary receiving options, and certainly not a significant downgrade.