I really don’t understand giving top cornerback money to Aqib Talib. This contract is worth 57 million over 6 years, an average annual salary of 9.5 million, making him the 5th highest paid cornerback in the NFL in that regard. I don’t get the appeal. He’s never made it through a full 16 game season, missing 23 games in 6 seasons since being drafted in the 1st round in 2008. He also has a variety of off-the-field problems in his past.
He’s definitely flashed from time-to-time, for instance when he allowed 13 of 33 completion through 6 games last year with the Patriots, picking off 4 passes in the process, but then he suffered another injury, missed 3 games, and wasn’t the same upon return, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 58th ranked cornerback by regular season’s end. And then, he got hurt in the AFC Championship game again, the 2nd time he had done that in as many years.
He’s never graded out higher than 16th among cornerbacks on Pro Football Focus and after a rough contract year in 2012, in which he missed 6 games with injury and suspension and got traded for a mid-round pick to New England, he was forced to settle for a one-year, 5 million dollar deal in free agency. He was better in 2013, but why is he suddenly worth 57 million over 6 years? Who is to say he doesn’t just coast and/or get in trouble again?
The Broncos would have been much better off giving this money to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who turned down 54 million over 6 years) or waiting for the cornerback market to play out and sign DRC to a deal like the one the Giants were eventually able to get him for (35 million over 5 years). DRC has a history of inconsistency and his retirement comments before the Super Bowl were troubling given his history, so it wouldn’t have been a fantastic deal, but at least DRC has had the top level years that Talib has never had (Pro Football Focus’ 4th ranked cornerback in 2009, 5th ranked cornerback in 2013).
This might be the worst contract given to a cornerback this off-season. DRC’s deal with the Giants and especially the contracts given to Alterraun Verner (26.5 million over 4 years) and Brent Grimes (32 million over 4 years) were much better. The only reason this deal isn’t a D or worse in terms of my grade is because they only guaranteed 12 million and can cut him after the first season if he struggles, at a net cap gain of 4 million. However, even a 1-year, 12 million dollar deal is too much for Talib and I highly doubt they’ll be bold enough to cut their losses after this season if the situation presents itself.