Aqib Talib

Extra Points: Butler, Shead, Rams, Chiefs

It’s been a wild ride for the Seahawks defense the past week. After the team traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and released Richard Sherman, it also decided to release cornerback DeShawn Shead.

This was noteworthy because the Seahawks told the player it would release him to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent despite the NFL saying his contract should toll for 2018.

Earlier today, Shead signed with the Lions but reportedly wanted a return to the Seahawks, the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta tweets. After Seattle honored its statement to make the cornerback a free agent, Shead wanted to give Seattle every chance to keep him, but the organization ultimately wouldn’t match the offer he received from the Lions.

Seattle now enters free agency without three of its top veterans and could be seeing the end of the Earl Thomas era, who has threatened to hold out if he doesn’t receive a new deal. The Seahawks could deal him this offseason and are reportedly looking for a first-round pick in return.

Needless to say, the Seahawks once-stingy defensive unit will look plenty different in 2018.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rams general manager Les Snead said on Wednesday the team traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to accommodate the ensuing move for cornerback Aqib Talib, Alden Gonzalez tweets. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips prefers cornerbacks to linebackers in his scheme, and a big move had to be made to bring in the former Broncos corner, who will count $11 MM toward the cap.
  • Snead also said he sees ways the Rams can address run defense and the pass rush in free agency, Gonzalez tweets. Though he is weighing what will be available to fill those holes with rookies, he doesn’t want to just wait until the draft to fill obvious needs. The team received some insurance for its pass rush on Wednesday when it re-signed veteran linebacker Connor Barwin.
  • New Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said he was worried his Super Bowl benching would hurt his value on the open market, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones tweets. Butler notoriously didn’t see the field against the Eagles in February when the Patriots allowed Nick Foles to shred their secondary. The 2015 Pro Bowl selection reached a deal with the Titans on Wednesday worth up to $61 MM over five years, with $30 MM of that being guaranteed.
  • Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said cornerback Marcus Peters‘ trade to the Rams had nothing to do with national anthem protests, Pro Football Talk passes along“This was a football decision. … This wasn’t just one game, wasn’t a month, this was three years of body of work, and we look for consistency. We felt that this was in the best interest of the team,” Veach said. 
  • Veach also touched on the Chiefs move for Sammy Watkins, saying the team pounced on the receiver in the first minute of free agency, the NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets. Veach said that if Watkins received a call before theirs, the other team would’ve had to call in 30 seconds before they did. The team was motivated to move on Watkins to add him to Tyreek Hill, giving strong-armed quarterback Patrick Mahomes a pair of dynamic, stretch-the-field receivers.

Extra Points: Sherman, 49ers, Talib, 49ers, Bucs, Greco

Richard Sherman has taken some flack for his one-year deal with the 49ers, but he has no regrets about acting as his own agent.

I don’t think any agent in the business could have done a better job of negotiating this contract,” Sherman told Peter King of The MMQB. “As long as I’m content with what I’m making, nothing else matters to me. Once I make a Pro Bowl, $8MM the next year is guaranteed for me. It gives me the ability to control my destiny. The 49ers have skin in the game. I have skin in the game. In my former contract, no matter what I did this year, nothing would be guaranteed to me next year. I couldn’t feel secure in my contract. Now, if I play the way I know I’m capable of playing, I know I’m going to get paid.”

Sherman’s deal is a three-year, $39MM pact, but a deeper look shows that the real base value is just $21.15MM with another $18MM coming in the form of bonuses. In order to earn the full $39MM, Sherman must play in every regular season game, be on the field for 90% of snaps, and earn Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in each season. In other words, it’s unlikely that Sherman will actually see the full value of the deal. Still, Sherman is content with how things played out and intimated that he wanted the opportunity to face his old team twice per year.

  • Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (on Twitter) had more on the 49ers’ proposed trade for cornerback Aqib Talib from the Broncos, which Talib rejected. The 49ers were going to send a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft in exchange for the services of the five-time Pro Bowler. In the end, the Broncos traded Talib to the Rams for a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
  • The Buccanneers looked to shore up their kicking woes of late by attempting to land former Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins before he re-signed with the Redskins, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The Bucs cut former second-round pick Roberto Aguayo prior to last season and Nick Folk was cut last month after missing a majority of last season on injured reserve with a minor-injury designation. Free-agent addition Patrick Murray hit 82.6% of his kicks with Tampa Bay last year in 23 attempts, with a long of 50 yards.
  • The Giants and offensive lineman John Greco agreed to a one-year deal last month and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (on Twitter) that his salary for 2018 will be $1.02MM. Greco appeared in six games for the Giants last season after spending the previous six seasons as a mainstay within the interior of the Browns’ offensive line.

Aqib Talib Discusses Trade To Rams

Before the Broncos agreed to trade Aqib Talib to the Rams, they had a deal in place that would have sent him to the 49ers. However, Talib rejected that trade, per Adam Schefter of (via Twitter), and he ended up with Los Angeles (San Francisco, of course, found a pretty nice consolation prize in Richard Sherman). 

Talib recently spoke with James Palmer of the NFL Network (video link), which marked the first time he publicly commented on the trade. In the interview, Talib said he wanted to remain in Denver but is excited about the “fourth quarter” of his playing career and about the opportunity to reunite with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Given the amount of money that Denver had tied up at the cornerback position, Talib saw the writing on the wall and realized that his time as a Bronco was probably coming to an end, though he still hoped to stay with the club. He said, “I had established real friendships [in Denver]. Robe (Bradley Roby), Chris [Harris] — they’re my guys. Von [Miller], Stew (Darian Stewart). I established real friends there…It wasn’t an issue where I wanted to get out of there. There’s no reason to want to get out of there. That’s a great organization. But it’s a business. We had too much talent on the backend [of the defense].” 

He did indicate that, if he had to be traded, he was happy to be traded to the Rams (previous reports indicated that if Denver wanted to move on from him, he would prefer to be released so he could become a free agent, and in that scenario, he would have been interested in rejoining the Patriots). He did not comment on his decision to nix the Broncos-49ers trade, though he did say that there was never any issue between him and embattled Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.

Talib will fly to Los Angeles tonight and take a physical tomorrow morning. If all goes well, the trade will be made official on Wednesday.

Credit to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post for her recap of the Talib-Palmer interview.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos, Rams Agree On Aqib Talib Trade

The Rams will reunite Aqib Talib and Wade Phillips, and the Broncos will receive compensation for a cornerback they’ve been trying to unload.

Los Angeles agreed to acquire Talib from Denver on Thursday, James Palmer and Ian Rapoport of report (on Twitter). This continues a busy offseason for the Rams, who will now have two of the best corners to come through the AFC West this decade on their team.

Talib will net the Broncos a fifth-round pick, Adam Schefter of reports (on Twitter).

The 32-year-old cornerback has two years remaining on the six-year Broncos-constructed contract and will count $12MM toward the Rams’ cap this season. This trade won’t involve any adjustment to Talib’s contract, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports (via Twitter).

Schefter reports (on Twitter) Talib wanted to again play for Phillips or Bill Belichick, and this helped dictate the trade terms. The 49ers and Patriots had surfaced as suitors who discussed the 11th-year cornerback with the Broncos, but Denver dealt with the Rams and pair Talib and Marcus Peters.

While the Rams are gambling on a tandem featuring two polarizing corners, they now have two of the three corners from the 2016 All-Pro first team. The Broncos previously enjoyed that setup, with Talib and fellow ’16 All-Pro Chris Harris being a four-season tandem for a dominant defense, but Talib’s age and salary did not line up for a team that is pursuing the most expensive free agent in NFL history in Kirk Cousins.

In Peters and Talib, the Rams will have two of the NFL’s best defensive playmakers. Peters is on a record takeaway pace for a cornerback, and Talib sits fourth in NFL history with 10 interceptions returned for touchdowns. That figure leads all active players by three.

While known plenty for his on- and off-field antics that caused headaches and suspensions, Talib has been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks for many years. He stabilized his career in Denver and was a four-time Pro Bowler since signing with the Broncos in 2014. The former Patriot was a key component of a 2015 Broncos defense that became an all-time great unit, helping Denver to a third Super Bowl title. And Talib thrived under Phillips a year later as well en route to his first All-Pro honor.

Talib will reunite with Kayvon Webster, who may be the only notable corner to see time for both the 2017 and ’18 Rams. The Rams have now agreed to trade for Peters and Talib and also took a flier on former Packers top corner Sam Shields. Trumaine Johnson is expected to depart, and Nickell Robey-Coleman may follow him out of L.A.

The Rams continue to vacillate between shedding salary and taking on money in blockbuster trades. They’ve also created significant cap space over the past week by trading Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree away, with Tom Pelissero of (Twitter link) categorizing the departing players as poor fits for Phillips’ scheme.

The Broncos now have 11 picks in the coming draft and have created $11MM in cap space, pushing their total north of $35MM. While that’s still less than the Vikings or Jets — the other primary Cousins suitors — have, it puts the franchise in better position to make a competitive offer.

[RELATED: Rams Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers, Broncos Discuss Aqib Talib Trade

The Broncos and 49ers have discussed a trade that would have sent cornerback Aqib Talib to San Francisco, according to Dianna Marie Russini of (on Twitter). However, that doesn’t look likely to go down at this time. Meanwhile, Talib’s preference is to be released so that he can sign with a team of his choosing and his top choice is the Patriots, Russini hears. 

Talib has been identified as a trade/release candidate for the Broncos due to his $11MM cap number in 2018. The veteran does not have a no trade clause, but any team acquiring him would want to know that he on board with joining them, so he effectively has the ability to scuttle a deal. That may be the case with the 49ers, who may also want Talib to adjust his contract.

Talib has two years remaining on the six-year, $57MM pact he signed with Denver in 2014. With Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby already in-house, the Broncos can afford to move on from him. What they really can’t afford to do, however, is keep hm at his current rate. The Broncos have several needs to address this offseason, chiefly at the quarterback position.

Signing with the Patriots would represent something of a homecoming for Talib, who spent parts of two seasons with New England earlier this decade. The Patriots already have one high-priced cornerback in Stephon Gilmore, but they’re expected to lose Malcolm Butler to free agency. If Talib is willing to accept less than the $11MM base salary he’s scheduled to collect, New England would seem like an ideal destination.

The 49ers, meanwhile, also make sense as a landing spot for Talib given the state of their secondary and their ample amount of cap space. San Francisco could certainly take on Talib at his current salary, but it’s possible the club has asked Talib to accept a pay reduction under the terms of a trade. After ranking 28th in pass defensive DVOA a season ago, the 49ers can use all the help they can get in their defensive backfield.

Talib, 32, appeared in 15 games with the Broncos in 2017, a campaign which marked his fourth in Denver. Despite his advanced age, Talib is still playing like one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 15th-best CB in the league, while Talib finished third in Football Outsiders’ success rate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Sherman, Talib

Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib would be receptive to the idea of joining the Patriots, a source tells Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Both players are under contract, but it’s possible that the Seahawks could trade Sherman and Talib is a trade/release candidate for the Broncos due to his $11MM cap number in 2018.

Given that Sherman and Talib are both after a second Super Bowl ring, it’s no surprise to hear that they would both be intrigued by the possibility of joining up with the Pats. Both players are under contract, but it’s a situation to watch, particularly since Seattle is in the bottom third of the league in cap space.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • The Jets have yet to approach cornerback Buster Skrine about taking a pay cut for the 2018 season, Darryl Slater of hears. Skrine is slated to carry an $8.5MM cap figure with a $6MM salary. When asked about the possibility in December, Skrine seemed to ball at the idea of taking a trim. “What’s my cap, 8.5 next year?” said Skrine, who turns 29 in April. “So I’m expecting 8.5. I don’t think any player goes into thinking if they’re taking a pay cut. I feel like I’ve been doing well and playing at a high level for what they ask me to do. I’ve just got to continue to play the way I’m playing.” Last year, Skrine ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 85 ranked corner. For what it’s worth, PFF’s metrics have never been high on him and his 65.7 overall score from ’17 was actually a career best.
  • Free agent center Travis Swanson has generated the most interest from the Jets and Dolphins, a source tells Howe (Twitter link). Swanson is eligible for free agency for the first time in his career after spending the last four seasons with the Lions. The 2014 third-round pick has 53 appearances with 42 starts to his credit. Jets starting center Wesley Johnson and reserve Jonotthan Harrison are both headed towards free agency in March. The Dolphins have Mike Pouncey as their starter, but they could be looking as Swanson as a reserve option.
  • Patriots free agent tackle Nate Solder wants to continue playing, despite some recent hardship in his family.
  • The Bills are not giving up on the idea of re-signing cornerback E.J. Gaines, even after signing Vontae Davis.

Broncos Rumors: Thomas, Sanders, Wolfe

Here’s a quick look at the latest out of Denver:

  • As had been previously reported, the Broncos plan to retain wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, general manager John Elway told reporters, including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Specifically, Denver will exercise its $4MM option on Thomas, which will lock the 30-year-old pass-catcher into a $8.5MM base salary for the 2018 season. Sanders, meanwhile, is due an $8.15MM base salary next year. While neither receiver performed up to expectations in 2017, the Broncos likely want to keep both veterans around as they search for a new quarterback.
  • Similarly, the Broncos will bring back defensive end Derek Wolfe, who’d been mentioned as a possible cap casualty, tweets Jhabvala. Wolf, 28, signed a four-year, $36.7MM extension prior to the 2016 campaign, forgoing free agency in order to re-sign with Denver. Since that time, Wolfe has been limited by minor injuries, and played on fewer than half of the Broncos’ defensive snaps a season ago. Pro Football Focus ranked Wolfe — who managed two sacks in 2017 — as the No. 58 interior defender among 122 qualifiers. He’ll collect a base salary of $8MM and count for ~$10.769MM on Denver’s cap in 2018.
  • While Thomas, Sanders, and Wolfe appear safe, Elway refused to give the same declaration on cornerback Aqib Talib or running back C.J. Anderson, per Jhabvala (Twitter link). Denver is reportedly attempting to trade Talib (and his $11MM salary), but the club could release the veteran defensive back if no interest is found. Anderson, meanwhile, may also be cut, and the Dolphins — who signed Anderson to a restricted free agent offer sheet in 2016 — are expected to pursue him.

Extra Points: Fitzgerald, Talib, Titans, Jets

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has yet to make his intentions for the 2018 season public knowledge, but signs are point toward the future Hall of Famer returning for his 15th NFL campaign.

New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said he has talked with Fitzgerald and that the receiver is “excited,” reports ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. Fitzgerald reportedly told the new offensive coordinator is verbiage was similar to previous coaches Bruce Arians and Ken Whisenhunt.

Kurt Warner also said that he gets the sense that Fitzgerald is leaning toward returning, the Hall of Fame quarterback said on 98.7 Arizona Sports radio“Last couple of times I’ve talked, I really feel like he wants to come back and play this season and he’s more committed to it. But that was before all the changes that took place.But I get the feeling that he is going to come back.”

Fitzgerald hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in recent years. After moving to the slot in 2015, the perennial Pro Bowl selection has cleared 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each season and has cemented his status as one of the game’s all-time greats.

Though he is leaning toward returning, his status is sure to be decided by what the Cardinals do to fill the vacancy at quarterback left by the retirement of Carson Palmer. With plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, the team making a run at Redskins signal-caller Kirk Cousins for a quick fix would make plenty of sense.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of Cousins, the soon-to-be free agent is expected to receive plenty of interest from the Jets. On Monday, former head coach Mike Shanahan praised Cousins as a special player, the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta writes. This portends to the Jets, as new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was groomed under Shanahan in Denver. Shanahan said: “I think Kirk Cousins could be successful in any offense that he ran. Those quarterbacks are hard to find.”
  • The Broncos, according to reports, have recently placed cornerback Aqib Talib on the trade block. ABC 7 in Denver’s Troy Renck looked at a few possible destinations for the veteran cornerback, listing the 49ers, Rams and Cowboys. Talib is signed through the 2019 campaign.
  • Bills center Eric Wood put his retirement on hold and remains on the Bills roster due to the team’s salary cap restrictions, ESPN’s Mike Rodak reports (Twitter link). When he is eventually moved to the retired list, Wood will receive $4.8 MM in injury guaranteed salary for 2018, while keeping the $4.3M in signing bonus paid, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
  • The Titans have hired Raiders wide receivers coach Rob Moore for the same position, ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets. He also notes the team interviewed former Raiders running backs coach Bernie Parmalee last week.
  • The Panthers will hire Travelle Wharton as an assistant offensive line coach, ESPN’s David Newton hears. Wharton previously spent two stints with the Panthers as an offensive lineman.

Broncos Will Try To Trade Aqib Talib

The Broncos are expected to put veteran cornerback Aqib Talib on the trading block, according to a report from Talib, who has often found himself in the news for the wrong reasons in his career, has nonetheless enjoyed a terrific run on the field for Denver, but he may be too costly for the Broncos to keep in 2018.

Aqib Talib (Vertical)

Talib has two years remaining on the six-year, $57MM deal he signed with the Broncos in 2014, and he is set to make $11MM in 2018, his age-32 season. Denver has two younger corners — Chris Harris, Jr. and Bradley Roby — under contract for a combined $17.02MM, and it would like to use some of its CB resources elsewhere.

There should be a good amount of interest in Talib, despite his age. He made the Pro Bowl again in 2017, and he has been a Pro Bowl participant in each of his four years in Denver (including a first-team All-Pro nod in 2016). He tacked on yet another pick-six this past season, giving himself six pick-sixes in his Broncos career. He was also a key member of the Broncos’ terrific defense that catapulted the team to its Super Bowl 50 championship.

It’s fair to wonder, though, if interested teams will simply wait for Talib to be released rather than try to trade for him. Jeff Legwold of says he asked three GMs at this year’s Senior Bowl if they would trade for Talib, and they all said “no” (Twitter link). After all, if the Broncos were to cut Talib, they would take on only $1MM in dead money, meaning that they would still shave $10MM off the books. So, if teams are confident Talib will be available anyway, they will not be as likely to give up draft capital for his services.

Talib has enjoyed success at every stop of his NFL journey, which began when he was selected by Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2008 draft. He was traded to New England in the middle of the 2012 season, and he made his first Pro Bowl in 2013, his only full season with the Patriots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

The Broncos have fallen quite a ways from their Super Bowl 50 win about two years ago. The team’s biggest question mark is obviously at quarterback, but there are a number of questions that John Elway and company will have to answer over the course of the offseason, explains Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Jhabvala mentions that the Broncos wide receiver position could really change over the next few months depending on how the front office approaches some of the playmakers that could enter free agency. The big name she mentions is Demaryius Thomas who could test the open market should Denver decline his $4MM option. He’s controllable for non-guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons, but the team could save some money or re-negotiate a new contract before a decision has to be made about that option. In addition to Thomas, Cody Latimer is an unrestricted free agent, Bennie Fowler is a restricted free agent and Emmanuel Sanders is a controllable veteran that could hit the trade block if the team rather invest in Thomas long-term.

Jhabvala also focuses on veteran cornerback Aqib Talib. She notes how he’ll turn 32 in February and is set to make $11MM in 2018. Although, the Broncos would only be responsible for $1MM if he were to be released. With Chris Harris and Bradley Roby under contract as well, it’s unlikely the team would hold onto all three for next season.

The article finally keys in on Denver’s starting running back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson is paid well for his position as he’ll make $4.4MM next season. However, his last two years of his original four-year deal that he signed in 2016 are non-guaranteed, so there is definitely significant money to be saved should the team move onto the likes of Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Henderson or potentially a another running back that they draft in April.

Here’s more from the NFL’s West divisions:

  • Denver has to deal with an off-the-field problem at receiver as well. Their 2017 third-round draft pick, Carlos Henderson, was arrested this afternoon for possession of marijuana, per Brad Cesak of NBC6News (Twitter link). The 23-year-old was placed on the injured reserve with a thumb injury in the preseason, but could face league discipline for his most recent incident. This would be his first offense, but it’s not encouraging for a Broncos team potentially looking for steady contributors on that side of the ball.
  • The news that Pete Carroll would be replacing Darrell Bevell with Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle’s next offensive coordinator was met with some skepticism across the football world. However, Seahawks backup quarterback Austin Davis thinks that the change will bring some positivity to the team’s offense in 2018, reports Brady Henderson of Schottenheimer coached Davis for three seasons while the two were in St. Louis. “We were very creative in St. Louis,” Davis told 710 ESPN Seattle. “We threw a lot of things at the defense, whether it was drop-back, whether it was play-action, whether it was quarterback movement, we had it all. And we were a really good screen team. If there was one thing I could pick out from last year, we couldn’t run screens.” The Seahawks offense was carried by Russell Wilson last season and is in need of a new identity as the team looks to get back into the postseason.
  • 49ers promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recently got in trouble with the law for having possession of marijuana, which is likely to effect his paycheck in the years to come. The 2017 first-round pick had about $2.5MM in guaranteed money from 2018-2020, but that will probably be voided because of specific wording in his contract, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Corry explained that Foster had a clause in his contract that if he were to be fined for a violation of the NFL’s drug policy, that money would lose its guaranteed status. The former Alabama defender fell down the draft board a bit last year because of some personality issues, and his immaturity has now clearly cost him in terms of his wallet.
  • Current 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made some extra cash after the Patriots beat the Titans to advance to the AFC Championship, according to Corry in another tweet. Corry reports that Garoppolo received an extra $51k in playoff money for the victory because he was with New England for at least eight games this past regular season.