Is Aqib Talib now a must-sign for Patriots?

The New England Patriots could be without one starting cornerback next season. Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty this week on three charges in Nebraska, including felony assault of a police officer, and faces a maximum of six years in jail. At the very least, the NFL could issue Dennard a suspension.

Can the defending AFC East champs afford to lose another starting corner -- Aqib Talib -- to free agency?

Talib's value to the Patriots most likely went up this week. New England was already interested in re-signing the talented, but troubled, corner. Now the position is reaching crisis levels.

New England’s No. 1 corner (Talib) is an unrestricted free agent. The Patriots’ No. 2 corner (Dennard) could be facing jail time or a suspension to start next season. New England’s No. 3 and nickel corner (Kyle Arrington) also is a free agent and not expected to return. This was already a defense ranked No. 29 against the pass.

Look for New England to aggressively fill these secondary positions in free agency. The Patriots don’t have many holes, but cornerback certainly is at the top of the list.