The Denver Broncos were quick to deny the report that they were shopping Aqib Talib for the right price. In fact, it took Broncos Vice President of Public Relations, Patrick Smyth, exactly 22 minutes to respond directly to the rumor.
John Elway backed that up with an emphatic ‘no’ as well.
“False. False. His name was never brought up anywhere,” Elway said on Saturday.
However, there are several very valid reasons to believe Smyth and Elway are just covering the Broncos intent to keep this quiet.
Talib can be a knucklehead. The personal fouls and grit on the field is likely something the Broncos were willing to continue to look past as this defense keeps its edge against opponents.
However, once he allegedly shot himself this offseason at a seedy strip club it became apparent he wasn’t going to learn from past mistakes.
Adam Schefter seems to think the NFL could be looking at a hefty suspension of Talib for that incident as well.
"I remember initially speaking to somebody, and we were discussing the situation,” Schefter said on 104.3 The Fan last month. “We were discussing it in a hypothetical way because we do not know the exact facts of the situation, right? Like, it's a mystery. But, the person I was talking to said 'I don't see how this is less than eight games'. Now, I don't know what it's going to be. I'm just telling you what one knowledgeable person told me.....I will be surprised if he's not discipline in some form or another."
Elway was quite candid that nothing has been heard on the suspension front, but that doesn’t mean the NFL isn’t considering action.
“We’ve heard nothing,” Elway said. “We’re full speed ahead. It would be very disappointing if we heard something at this point in time.”
Cost. For 2016, Talib will account for the third highest salary cap number ($9,968,750) on the entire roster and that number only goes up after this year.
The Broncos could cut him in 2017 and incur just a minor $2M dead money hit while freeing up $10M in salary cap space. Why not try to get something of value for the standout cornerback instead?
I just don’t see how the Broncos would justify paying Talib $12M if he ends up suspended for his shooting incident. They may not even roll the dice if his name is cleared.
Kayvon Webster and Bradley Roby. Webster is playing in a contract year in 2016 and will be looking to be re-signed or hitting the street in 2017. The Broncos also have to decide by March whether or not to pick up Roby’s fifth-year option.
Given Roby’s play so far, he could be Elway’s priority extension to get done next summer as well. Having him opposite Chris Harris Jr. will be key if the intent is to unload Talib for the cap savings.
Webster would then be the third member of the No Fly Zone to fill the void left by Roby taking over Talib’s spot.
So is it true?
The Broncos have denied it. That’s the official truth.
What I think is that they’d be crazy not to have Talib on the block at least quietly. Talib is too good of a player to just cut for nothing. That would be the least desirable outcome here.
I find it interesting that someone outside of the Denver local media broke this story, because it would mean this person is outside of the Broncos sphere of influence so to speak. A story like this would only break locally if the Broncos wanted it out there.
We’ll just have to wait and see on this one. Plenty of teams out there could use a player like Talib, so if this rumor is true it will only be a matter of time before something happens.