CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers steps in front of Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals to make an interception at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tampa Bay intercepted the Bengals on three occasions during a 24-21 win. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
According to Pewter Report, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made cornerback Aqib Talib available via trade. Pewter Report cites a league source, while noting that the Buccaneers offered no comment. There have been no takers so far, as noted by Pewter Report.
If we go solely by Talib's on-field play, he should be a hot commodity on the market. The cornerback is under contract for one more season at the low, low price of $1,852,500 in salary. When on the field, Talib has exhibited the traits to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he has occasionally played like it. While his on-field play could use some consistency, he should be a bargain for any team that trades for him.
Unfortunately, his trade value will be severely depressed because of his recurring off-the-field troubles. Aqib Talib is due to stand trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on June 25. Aside from the obvious risk of imprisonment, Talib could also be suspended by the NFL if found guilty - or even if he isn't found guilty. Previously, Talib was suspended for one game after agreeing to a pre-trial intervention after an arrest for simple battery. In addition, he has had several violent encounters with teammates.
All of this obviously depresses his trade value. Combined with the single year left on his contract, I would be surprised if the Bucs could get more than a fourth-round pick out of him. Remember that Pro Bowl receiver Santonio Holmes with a one-year contract and a looming four-game suspension was traded for just a fifth-round pick in 2010. Then again, the Bucs may not want more than a fourth-round pick: that's the only pick they are currently missing, after using it last season to trade up for tight end Luke Stocker.
One team that could trade for Aqib Talib would be the Washington Redskins. Washington general manager Bruce Allen was the Bucs' general manager when they first drafted Aqib Talib. In addition, defensive backs coach Raheem Morris was Talib's defensive backs coach during his first season in the NFL, and his head coach during the previous three seasons. The Redskins also signed Tanard Jackson after he was cut by the Buccaneers. Unfortunately for the Bucs, the Redskins don't have a lot of draft picks left after trading for the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
As for the Bucs themselves, this development makes it significantly more likely that they take a cornerback high in the draft - with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne being the obvious candidate for their first-round pick. Even if the Bucs don't manage to find a trade partner for Talib, it's clear that they don't view him as a long-term part of this team. Behind Talib, the Bucs don't have a lot of quality at cornerback. They signed Eric Wright to a long-term deal, and they saw franchise icon Ronde Barber return for another season. However, Barber is clearly nearing the end of his career, while the Bucs' backups don't inspire a lot of confidence as Myron Lewis, E.J. Biggers and Anthony Gaitor are the team's third-tier cornerbacks.