Cardinals will get third-round pick in return

The Patriots are expected to bolster their depleted CB corps on Thursday, as the Super Bowl champs have agreed in principle to a trade that will bring them veteran Duane Starks from Arizona.

Updated: March 2, 2005, 11:44 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The New England Patriots plan to bolster their depleted cornerback corps on Thursday, as they have agreed in principle to a trade that will bring them veteran Duane Starks of the Arizona Cardinals.

Barring any unexpected complications, the Super Bowl champions will send a third-round draft pick to Arizona in exchange for Starks, a top-flight cover corner who was plagued by injuries the past three seasons. The teams also will swap places in the fifth round.

Cardinals coach Dennis Green intimated strongly at the combine workouts over the weekend that Arizona was seeking a trade partner for Starks, a six-year veteran.

Duane Starks
Starks

Starks will lend experience and playmaking potential to a New England cornerback corps that has undergone a dramatic shakeup the past year. The Patriots last week released Ty Law and could still part ways with Tyrone Poole. The two men started for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII victory over Carolina in 2003.

In the second half of the 2004 campaign, injuries forced New England to use a pair of youngsters, second-year pro Asante Samuel and rookie Randall Gay, an undrafted college free agent, as starters. Playing with such an inexperienced corner tandem made New England's victory against Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX more amazing.

In contrast, the Patriots are getting a very accomplished cornerback in Starks, who is motivated as he seeks to resurrect a flagging career, and the kind of veteran with whom New England has been successful in the past.

"I'm happy with the teams that are negotiating for me right now," Starks said in a Wednesday night appearance on Sirius Satellite Radio. "I'm just sitting back, waiting. I've been on a Super Bowl team before, and I'd like to go back to a Super Bowl team."

Calls to Starks' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were not returned.

The principle concern with Starks is injuries. He has missed 23 games over the past three seasons with a variety of injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament that sidelined him for the entire 2003 campaign. He also has suffered groin, arm and leg injuries. He has not appeared in all 16 games since 1999 and has never started 16 games in any season.

If healthy, however, the former Miami (Fla.) standout can help the Patriots and add depth to an area of concern.

Starks, 30, was Baltimore's first-round choice in the 1998 draft and played four years with the Ravens before signing with Arizona as an unrestricted free agent in 2002. He has appeared in 87 games and started in 62 of them with 316 tackles, 25 interceptions and 51 passes defended. He posted at least five pickoffs in three different years.

Under his Arizona contract, Starks has two seasons remaining, at $3.6 million each year, but it is believed he agreed to restructure the deal to accommodate the trade.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.