Aqib Talib could potentially be back in a Patriots jersey next season.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the All-Pro cornerback is interested in returning to New England — where he spent one and a half seasons before signing a six-year, $57 million contract with the Broncos in 2013.
Russini reported Wednesday there have been trade conversations between Denver and San Francisco, but a completed deal is unlikely. Talib reportedly would prefer to be released, as opposed to traded, so he has the autonomy to choose where he plays next. Does the 32-year-old have any potential destinations in mind, if that were to happen? The Patriots are at the top of his list, according to Russini.
I’m told there had been trade conversations going on between
the Broncos & the 49ers for Aqib Talib. It doesn’t look like it’s going to
get done. Told Talib prefers to be released by Denver so he can chose his next team, his top choice is the New England Patriots per sources
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 7, 2018
According to 9News reporter Mike Klis, however, the Broncos are not expected to release Talib because there is a strong trade market for the 10-season veteran. While Talib has no official say in whether he is released or traded, the Broncos reportedly have been “actively shopping” him — and the Patriots are “one of several teams” they have engaged in discussions.
With the expected departure of Malcolm Butler, New England will certainly be looking to bolster its secondary this offseason. Earlier in March, the Boston Herald‘s Jeff Howe reported Talib “would be receptive to the idea of rejoining the Patriots.” Howe also noted the five-time Pro Bowler “loved” his brief tenure in New England.
Talib has spoken highly of his time with the Patriots on multiple occasions. Prior to winning Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos, he told reporters playing under head coach Bill Belichick’s system helped him become more professional.
“As far as preparation for the game, how to handle the media, my behavior on the field, everything, I really learned how to be a professional over there,” he said. “I went there a seven and came out a nine. I’m working on being a 10.”
His wife, Gyspy, also credits Belichick for inspiring a positive change in her husband.
“I wish I could thank Bill Belichick more,” she told the Denver Post in June 2017. “Because he helped him mature very much.”