The unthinkable has happened. The Denver Broncos, fresh off of signing safety TJ Ward earlier in the day, signed Aqib Talib to a six-year, $57 million deal with $26 million guaranteed, the highest guaranteed total ever given to a cornerback.
What can I say? The Patriots were never going to give Talib that kind of money. I don’t think there’s a Patriot fan out there who can honestly say he was worthy of that title, as good as he was.
I don’t want to be the Patriots fan who suddenly turns on a player as soon as they leave town, but the risks with Talib were significant.
Talib was an elite corner at the start of 2013. Then he hurt his hip for the second time in two seasons with the Pats and was not the same player again last season. Giving Talib that kind of contract is extremely risky and puts a lot of faith that the injury problems that have haunted him will not continue to do so… for six more years.
The hip continued to be an issue with him and while he was a model citizen since his arrival in 2013, we’ll see how this kind of money affects him. I still have bad memories of him going off the reservation against Steve Smith and the Panthers.
I viewed Talib as the most important internal free agent this offseason and now that he’s gone the Pats could potentially take a look at Darrelle Revis. Despite some positive reports, I find it a stretch to think the Pats will be willing to pay Revis what he will want to be paid.
We can hope that that deal can get done, but I’m not holding my breath. I wrote last week that if given the choice I’d prefer Revis to Talib and as a fan of the game in general have always loved watching Revis play the game. He’s special, no question. I’d be ecstatic if the Pats could figure it out with him.
I liked Talib and the trickle-down effect he had on the secondary really improved things, but there are still plenty of front seven names on the market who could improve the defense as well. Let’s not forget, an elite front seven can cover up a lot of problems you may have in your secondary.
Now we’ll get plenty of love for the Broncos from the national media which should make the rest of the offseason AWESOME. Especially if they sign Demarcus Ware as they’re rumored to. But let’s remember, it’s a long road to the Super Bowl and nothing is won in March. And it’s also refreshing to think of the Broncos in cap hell in a couple years, without Manning, trying to rebuild while cutting guys and having to watch players like Von Miller walk because they can’t afford to re-sign them.
That will be for another season. For now, WOW THE BRONCOS LOOK AMAZING ON PAPER! YAY!
The Patriots will move on and continue to do what they’ve always done. Build a complete team, not just try to collect talent, and be ready to withstand the injuries and issues that are bound to pop up in one form or another between now and February.