Reports: Broncos shopping Talib, who prefers return to Patriots
The Denver Broncos are "actively shopping" cornerback Aqib Talib in trade discussions, although the 10-year veteran would prefer to be released so he could return to the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.
An ESPN report on Wednesday night stated Denver had conversations about Talib with the San Francisco 49ers, but a deal seemed unlikely due to the cornerback's preference for New England.
According to 9News Denver, the Broncos still expect to have a strong enough market to trade Talib, though the cornerback "is communicating just enough resistance to have a say." The report adds that while Denver would prefer to move Talib before the start of free agency on Wednesday, the team is in no hurry, as none of Talib's 2018 salary will become guaranteed until 53-man rosters are finalized in September.
The 32-year-old is entering the fifth year of a six-year, $57 million contract and is due $19 million over the next two seasons. His $12 million cap hit for 2018 would drop to a $1 million charge in dead money if he is traded or released by the Broncos.
Denver is currently estimated to have about $24 million in cap space, but the team might need to make more room quickly if it becomes a serious contender for free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins' services. Broncos cornerback Chris Harris will count $10.4 million against the cap in 2018 and Bradley Roby's cap hit is jumping from $2.2 million to $8.5 million, leaving little room for Talib in a secondary that also includes safety Darian Stewart's $5.9 million cap hit.
Talib's play did not slide significantly in 2017, as he made his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl and moved into fourth place in career interceptions returned for touchdowns. He needs one more pick-six to tie Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson for second place with 11, and two more to tie all-time leader Rod Woodson.
--Field Level Media