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2018 NFL free agency rumor: Patriots engaged in trade talks for Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib

New England is reportedly talking to Denver.

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With the New England Patriots on the verge of losing starting – except, of course, during last season's final game – cornerback Malcolm Butler via free agency, the team finds itself in the market for a replacement. One of the hottest names to become just that is Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, who played for the Patriots from 2012 to 2013 and appears to be on his way out of Denver.

The 32-year old, who joined the Broncos after leaving New England in free agency, is scheduled to hit Denver's books with $12.0 million next year and $8.0 million in 2019. As a result, his team is trying to trade him in order generate additional cap space for his team. One of the teams engaged in the trade conversations is Talib's former team, the Patriots, according to 9NEWS' Mike Klis.

Klis notes that the Patriots are one of “several teams” talking to the Broncos about the five-time Pro Bowler. While it is not known at which stage those conversations currently are, the belief is that Denver will not just outright release Talib – something he reportedly wants the Broncos to do to give him the best chance to join a Patriots team that revitalized his career after trading for him in 2012.

The Broncos hope to deal Talib by the start of free agency but are in no rush to do so. Except his $1.0 million signing bonus proration, his contract does not include any additional guarantees that kick in before September 1. Still, Denver would improve its salary cap situation drastically by moving on from Talib either through a trade or a release: The team would add $11.0 million to its current salary cap number of $14.8 million.