INDIANAPOLIS -- As the Denver Broncos prepare to toss big money at their quarterback problem, there likely will be collateral damage on the defensive side of the ball.
The man most at risk of losing his job is veteran corner Aqib Talib, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.
"Aqib Talib's roster spot is certainly one that is in jeopardy," Rapoport said. "I would not be surprised if the Broncos had some talks about potentially trading him this week. ... He's got a big contract, but he's still a very, very good player and teams know that. They have seen the film; they've watched him for years. His play really has not dropped off despite the fact that he's gotten older. It'll be curious to see what kind of market the Broncos can get. And it'll be interesting to hear what they do on defense because they have Bradley Roby, who might be the best pure athlete on the team. They can just slide him in at corner and maybe even get a little younger, get a little better."
The Broncos could save $11 million on the salary cap by jettisoning the 32-year-old cornerback.
Even as he climbs in age, Talib remains among the upper-echelon of corners. A physical menace, he has the strength to bully bigger receivers and a nose for the ball.
For Denver, moving on from Talib would be less about his on-field play and more about the money that can be saved by moving on either through trade or release. Having a natural replacement in Bradley Roby would make the transition easier.
Should he get snipped, Talib will have a market in a leagued starved for capable cover men. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo suggested a possible future transition to safety could make the veteran even more valuable.
"I really would be interested to see at some point in his career if he can make that switch to safety that we have seen cornerbacks do," Garafolo said. "He's got the body-type to do it. And I know that that's been something that I have heard -- that this could be one of those guys that makes that transition eventually. So if he winds up getting cut, would he then go talk to teams as a potential safety. Would teams come to him and say, 'Hey we can start to make that transition for you. We may pay you more as a safety because we feel like that could be more of a long-term thing for you with our franchise."
Talib, for his part, seems ready to accept whatever is thrown his way.