— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 29, 2017
This leads me to wonder if Belichick has changed the way he values cornerbacks. A couple years ago I wrote this extensive piece breaking down how the Pats have never been willing to give long-term deals to cornerbacks. Sure, they’d pay a chunk of change for a season like they did with Asante Samuel on the franchise tag ($7.79 million) or a year of Darrelle Revis ($12 million), but prior to 2012 the Patriots didn’t really seem to care all that much about the position.
Then came the in-season trade for Aqib Talib, the Patriots first foray into acquiring a physical man cornerback. They retained Talib for 2013 for $4.86 million after being unable to work out a long term deal. That felt like the same old Patriots, who always preferred to focus on the front seven long before investing in a cornerback.