Troubled Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib will no longer be Greg Schiano's headache. Instead that chore now belongs to Schiano’s good friend, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
The Buccaneers announced Thursday that they had traded Talib and a 2013 seventh round pick to New England for an unconditional fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.
“It’s a decision we felt like was in the best interest of our organization, what we wanted to do,” Bucs GM Mark Domink said. “The trade deadline every year comes and you look at it from different perspectives of whether you want to make a move. Sitting down with Greg (Schiano) going through all the whole process, we felt like this was the right move for our football team. Today is about what we felt like was in the best interest of our football team and what we’re building here in Tampa Bay.”
Talib was serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy for taking Adderall, a banned substance the league cites as a performing enhancing drug. His suspension was scheduled to end after the Bucs game Sunday at Oakland.
Talib is in the final year of a five year rookie contract and is expected to help a Patriots secondary that has been shaky and is ranked 28th in the NFL allowing 281.1 yards per game passing.
Tampa Bay ranks 31st in pass defense giving up 309 yards per game.
In four games this season Talib has one interception, seven passes defended and 21 tackles. He has been inconsistent in pass coverage and was burned early this year when he covered the New York Giants Hakeem Nicks in a game Eli Manning threw for 500-plus yards.
Dominik praised Talib for playing well, but alluded that his performance was obviously not the reason he is no longer with the team.
“The thing you have to keep in mind for us as an organization is your body of work is what it is,” Dominik said. “Aqib played well here for us, but at the same point he’s got eight games left on his contract and his contract is going to expire, so we have to look at everything when we make these decisions. And each player is an individual situation; each player is an individual case.”
Talib was suspended in 2009 after an altercation with a cab driver. He was accused of assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, but the charges were ultimately dropped.The Bucs could also lose another cornerback, Eric Wright, to a suspension. He reportedly failed a drug test that involved the use of Adderall. It is unclear whether he will appeal that charge or if the league takes action on him next week.
Shipping out Talib falls into line with the philosophy of Bucs rookie head coach Schiano, who said he wanted to men of character and would not tolerate anything less.