Aqib Talib was a major defensive free agent the New England Patriots wanted to keep, leaving some to wonder how the cornerback got away.
Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, was among those asking Wednesday what led to Talib signing with the Denver Broncos for a reported six years and $57 million ($26 million guaranteed).
McGinest said he talked to Talib during the NFL playoffs, and Talib said he wanted to stay with the Patriots, who gave him a second chance after a rocky run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“The one thing that he stressed (is) that he loved being a New England Patriot,” McGinest said, via WEEI.com. “… He wanted to be there. He wanted to remain a New England Patriot, so I don’t know where the disconnection went. I don’t know if they had enough money to pay what he wanted and where the negotiations broke down. But I know that he wanted to be a New England Patriot.”
The Patriots signed Talib to a one-year, $5 million deal last season after trading for him the previous year. Talib had a career season in 2013, though, and was looking for a multiyear deal in free agency. The cap-strapped Patriots might not have been able to reach the value he was seeking, or they might have been wary given his off-field past.
New England now has to figure out how to replace the versatile Talib in the secondary.
“He’s one of the rare defensive backs in our league that can play every single position on the field,” McGinest said.
McGinest himself has been the subject of the Patriots’ cap stinginess.