Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mark Dominik Fleeced the Patriots in Aqib Talib Deal

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23:   Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returns an interception against  Dwayne Harris #17 of the Dallas Cowboys and  Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterNovember 2, 2012

The fact that Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik received a fourth-round pick in return for cornerback Aqib Talib should mark Dominik as a front-runner for the NFL’s award for Executive of the Year.

This is just another example of the Dominik-Greg Schiano tandem making sound player-personnel decisions, just like their draft-day maneuvers that landed the team three starters in the first two rounds of the 2012 draft.

The Buccaneers put the two-day extension to the NFL trade deadline because of Hurricane Sandy to good use, sending Talib and a seventh-round draft pick in 2013 to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round pick in 2013, Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

While kudos go to the Buccaneers as obvious winners in this deal, calculating the reason why is much tougher than looking at the numbers on both sides of a balance sheet, there are extenuating circumstances that must be examined.

First and foremost, Talib has been a headache for the Buccaneers from almost the moment he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft.

The Tampa Bay Times marked up a timeline of Talib’s indiscretions and missteps, which started within months of him becoming a member of the Tampa Bay family, and well before he ever put pads on and hit the field.

Talib got into an altercation with a fellow Tampa Bay draft pick at the rookie symposium in July of 2008.

Less than a year later, Talib struck teammate Torrie Cox in the eye while fighting with a different player. In the span of 10 months, Talib has thrown down on two different occasions, both with members of his own team.

Later, Talib added to his laundry list of bonehead decisions: an arrest for simple battery, a shouting match with an official, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon arrest (the charges were later dropped) for him and his mother in an altercation with his sister’s boyfriend, and most recently a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

For all Talib’s prowess on the field—he was known as an above-average cornerback with good press-cover skills—his off-the-field decisions were more than a headache.

Now, they’re New England’s headache.

The Patriots get a corner that, through four games, has 20 tackles and an interception. His five-year career to this point has featured 18 interceptions, three returned for touchdowns. His best two seasons came in 2009 and 2010, where he picked off six and five passes, respectively.

Pro Football Focus has Talib ranked fourth on his team in a statistic that measures the number of receptions a corner gives up in relation to the number of snaps he plays.

Talib plays seven coverage snaps for every reception he gives up. E.J. Biggers is the highest-rated Buccaneer corner at just under 10 coverage snaps per reception.

Talib also has given up more yards after the catch (171) than any Tampa Bay corner. He ranks as the ninth-worst corner in the NFL in yards after the catch and Talib has been suspended and played, on average, more than 30 percent fewer snaps than the eight corners that have given up more yards after the catch.

Tampa Bay seems to have given up a problematic cornerback that ranks near the bottom of their depth chart in coverage skills for a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.

And what makes that an even more resounding win for Dominik and the Buccaneers is that Talib is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. It’s possible that Talib could have bolted at season’s end and Tampa Bay would have received nothing in return.

Kudos to Mark Dominik.

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