I initially thought about doing a "Silencing Hank" article in regards to the news that Aqib Talib is now a Bronco, but honestly, I don't think it's really worth it.
It would seem that the Denver Broncos have adopted a new strategy to team building: figure out which free agent the New England Patriots are looking to re-sign, and then swoop in and nab him once Free Agency opens. With the recent signing of Aqib Talib, this now marks the second year in a row that a "must sign" free agent has defected to the enemy. I guess we'll have to wait until Peyton Manning blows it in the 2014 playoffs to see which Patriot Denver will target next year, but for the near future at least, we're going to be hearing a lot about the Talib deal and what it means for both teams.
A lot of people are upset over this move, and that's totally understandable; to have the news go from the Patriots being "very close" to a deal with Talib to see him depart for a conference rival in a matter of 24 hours isn't likely to sit well with anybody. The Talib situation almost exactly mirrors the Wes Welker situation from last year, where all sides pointed to Welker and New England working something out only to have Denver pull the trigger. However, unlike last year, where I was pretty upset to see Wes Welker go, I'm not all that angry about this particular transaction.Given the circumstances and history surrounding Aqib Talib, I say that the Broncos can have him.
For one, I think that Denver grossly overpaid for Talib; a six year, $57 million contract for a player who has yet to complete a full 16 game season, has struggled with off-field issues in the past, and displayed a dropoff in cold weather is way too much, in my opinion. There's absolutely no spinning Talib's talent, as he is one of the elite corners in the league and has the ability to completely shut down other teams' #1 receivers, but in no way is he worth almost $10 million per year. I can't think of even the most vehement Patriots haters trying to contend that the Patriots should have forked over that kind of dough.
Secondly, I don't have all that much emotional attachment to Talib the way I did Welker. He wasn't a hometown hero or a player that made any real sacrifices for the team. He has always been about getting top dollar for his services, has adopted more of a mercenary approach to football, and thus it's much easier for me to part ways with him. Talib made it very clear that he wanted top dollar, and he got it.
Am I happy about the signing? Of course not. Do I wish that he had gone to pretty much any other team except for Denver? Absolutely. It's never fun to see one of your best players sign with Peyton Manning. But do I think that the Patriots made a bad decision not matching Denver's ridiculous offer? No way. And do I feel like I just took a punch to the stomach like I did last year with Welker? Not even close. So it's time to say thanks to Talib for the service he put in, wish him well, and see if he can finally put together a full season over at Mile High. Now that he has all that money, maybe he can go buy himself a functional hip.
Lots more to talk about today; no point dwelling on this any longer.