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Aqib Talib: “If I wasn’t returning, it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world”

Could the No Fly Zone get broken up this offseason?

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was a guest on Vic Lombardi’s show on Altitude 950 radio earlier this week, and he raised the possibility that he may be released by the Broncos this offseason.

Talib told Lombardi that he had some conversations with the Broncos coaches and decision makers during the exit meetings and that his status with the team is “up in the air”.

“If I wasn’t (returning), it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world. You have three corners making big money and that’s rare to have,” Talib said. “I had conversations with our staff during our exit meetings and stuff, so it’s kind of up in the air. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m still here.

His status with the Broncos is likely tied to their search of a quarterback this offseason. There are multiple rumors out there that the Broncos are preparing to make a “big offer” to impending free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason. So if they do that and need extra cap space, a veteran like Talib is likely on the outs.

What is also working against Talib is his contract. If he were released in 2018 he would only $1 million in dead money while freeing up $11 million in cap space to use on a quarterback.

Another thing that goes against Talib is Bradley Roby’s pay rise in 2018. His cap number jumps from $2.2 million to $8.5 million this season as his 5th-year option kicks in. That would be a lot of money tied up into three corners as Talib says in his quote above.

If Talib does go, it wouldn’t be his choice. The veteran corner told Lombardi that he wants to retire as a Bronco and that he’d love to come back.

“I definitely want to be back. I’d love to retire as a Bronco,” Talib said. “It’s probably the funnest locker room. I met real friends on this team. We got great memories — Super Bowl 50. Not even just the Super Bowl. Off the field, memories together. I love the guys on the team. I love the staff. I’d love to come back.”

His status with the team will be something to watch in the coming weeks and months, but it appears Talib may have played his final down as a member of the Denver Broncos.