Originally Posted by mayoclinic
1. Fix the secondary
The Next 6 Months:
1. Trade Patrick Chung to Tampa Bay for CB Aqib Talib; alternatively, the Pats might trade a 2014 draft pick for Talib and use Chung as a hybrid S/LB this year
2. Move Devin McCourty to FS and team him with Tavon Wilson, with Steve Gregory/Nate Ebner as backups
5. Sign Aqib Talib to a long term deal if he works out, or sign UFA CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Philadelphia). Brent Grimes (Atlanta) is a possibility, but he's coming off an Achilles injury, and we've already been burned with Jonathan Fanene and injured UFAs. If the Pats are unable to trade for Talib by the deadline, then they can just go after one of these guys during FA in 2013
7. Cut Kyle Arrington
The above was all part of the OP. 10 days later, the Pats have indeed traded for Aqib Talib. Meanwhile Ras-I Dowling has gone on IR and Sterling Moore has been cut and signed to the PS. Right now my revised plan for the secondary for the next 6 months looks something like this:
1. See what the team does with Devin McCourty. Does he stay at CB or move to FS (my preference). If McCourty emerges as a true deep cover-1 FS over the second half of the season, it will affect any need to sign a FA such as Ed Reed, Dashon Goldson or Jarius Byrd, or to draft a rookie safety.
2. See how Aqib Talib adjusts to the "Patriot Way", whether he can keep his head on straight, and whether the Pats extend him beyond this year. That would be the ideal scenario, but ideal doesn't always happen. Talib is reportedly excited to be a Pat and to be getting a new start, but reportedly Albert Haynesworth said the same thing. Talib doesn't have Haynesworth's work ethic issues, so it's more a question of whether he can keep under control, and survive in a disciplined organization.
3. See how Alfonzo Dennard continues to develop, and hopefully get some read on Ras-I Dowling. My personal hope is that McCourty moves to FS and Dennard and Talib play outside CB. Both are suited to press-man coverage. If that scenario plays out, it will affect the need to draft or sign a DB for 2013, particularly if the FO/coaching staff things that Ras-I Dowling can come back healthy for 2013. We probably won't know what's going on with Dowling in the next 6 months, but hopefully the Pats will. They may have shut him down more as a precaution and to let him get healthy for next year, or he may just continue to be damaged goods. Dowling certainly has the size and skill set to play press-man coverage, and a Talib-Dennard-Dowling trio moving forward with McCourty at FS would be a darn good nucleus to build around.
4. See how Patrick Chung does the rest of the year. Chung has fallen off the cliff this year, doing his best human torch imitation. Is that because the coaching staff has been playing him out of position as a deep cover safety out of desperation, or because he's been trying to do to much and doing his own Brandon Meriweather impersonation? If McCourty does move to FS that would allow Chung to play a more natural downhill kind of role, as well as a hybrid S/LB role on 3rd down. There's no doubt Chung has a skill set, and if he can recover he may be worth keeping beyond this year, if the price is right.
5. Evaluate the other pieces. That includes the development of Tavon Wilson and (to a much lesser extent) Nate Wilson, Steve Gregory as a utility man rather than as a starting DB, whether Kyle Arrington is toast or just been injured, whether Marquice Cole is indeed more than just a STer and could be the "new Arrington", etc.
Lots of work to do in the next 3-6 months. There's 4 months until FAs starts, and just under 6 months till the draft. I'm guessing these discussions will be very different by that time, for better or worse.