Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald says there’s “no chance” the Patriots will use the franchise tag on cornerback Aqib Taliban this offseason.
There’s no chance the Patriots hit Talib with a franchise tag that will approach $12 million, though he’d be happy to play out the season under that exorbitant price. There’s no denying they want him back, and look at Bill Belichick’s public defense of Talib after the AFC Championship Game loss as an example. Talib will likely take a hometown discount if it’s close, but not if he perceives the Pats as low-balling him. If the Pats want him at three years and $21 million and Talib wants four years and $32 million, look for a compromise of three years, games-played incentives worth an extra $2 million and All-Pro incentives that help the deal approach about $25 million, so long as the cornerback market doesn’t unexpectedly tank like last year.
Just like every other big name free agent on their roster, the Patriots won’t break the bank to keep Talib.