The New England Patriots have a lot of tough free-agent decisions this offseason, with the two players likely to command the most attention being cornerback Aqib Talib and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Talib is an elite cornerback and the most important player in the team’s secondary. He has the speed and strength to cover just about any receiver, and his tendency to intercept passes (five in a season and a half with New England) is a real asset to the defense.
The main concern in re-signing Talib is his durability. He’s battled injuries for a good portion of his career and missed three games last season. The veteran corner also left the 2012 and 2013 AFC Championship games because of injury, which really hurt the Patriots’ defense.
As for Edelman, he no doubt deserves a rich extension. The 25-year-old receiver led the Patriots with 105 receptions and 1,065 receiving yards last season. Edelman also played a full 16-game season for the first time in his career, putting to bed any concerns about his durability.
Given the Patriots’ lack of quality at the receiver position, re-signing Edelman has to be a top priority for Bill Belichick.