In a stunning move, the Denver Broncos have signed cornerback Aqib Talib to a six-year, $57 million deal, according to Adam Schefter. Reports earlier tonight stated that the New England Patriots were close to signing Talib, but it appears that the Broncos swooped in and made an offer he couldn't refuse.
Filed to ESPN: Denver has reached agreement on a 6-year, $57M deal that includes $26M gtd with former Patriots CB Aqib Talib, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014
Talib will receive $26 million guaranteed, which almost doubles what the other top free agent corner, Alterraun Verner, received earlier Tuesday evening. At first glance, this deal is above market value, and it signals that the Broncos are all-in for the Super Bowl this season.
This obviously hurts the Patriots considering they lose their top corner from each of the past two seasons, and with Verner already off the market, they must now look at other options.
One name that comes to mind is former Jets cornerback, Antonio Cromartie. He's similar to Talib in that he's big and plays physically, but he isn't nearly as talented.
There's also a chance the Patriots could make a run at Darrelle Revis through a trade or in free agency. This would be a homerun move, and probably the best one.
In any case, something has to be done, because losing Aqib Talib without finding a quality replacement is a significant loss for the team.
But remember, this is the New England Patriots we're talking about here. Bill Belichick always has a Plan A, B, C, all the way down to Z. Losing Talib might cause some fans to panic, but remember, there is always a backup plan.
And of course, there's always a chance that Talib wasn't even Plan A for the Patriots. Stay tuned.