The question posed Sunday night on Xfinity Sports Xtra by anchor Lionel Bienvenu was simple: Has Aqib Talib played his last game as a Denver Bronco?

The answer is complicated. Let's examine.


According to multiple sources, the Broncos continue to consider all options for Talib, including a trade. Age and depth at his position leave Talib a potential luxury.

I wrote last month I would keep Talib, while recognizing a deal was possible. He has made four Pro Bowls in four seasons in Denver and continues to perform at a high level while many defensive backs masquerade as shutdown corners.

And yet, Talib turns 32 in February in a league where the best teams are less sentimental than a photo radar ticket. He also appeared frustrated at times last season as the Broncos sank to numbing depths.

Given Talib's salary over the next two years -- $11 million in 2018 with $1 million in dead cap money, $8 million in 2019 with no dead cap money, per Spotrac -- he's underpaid, thus has trade value even if some teams will see if the Broncos blink and release him.

Talib's salary is reasonable, but a challenging figure when calculating the cost of cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby.

The easiest explanation for trading Talib -- the 49ers and Rams represent potential fits -- remains Roby. He has delivered four strong seasons, earning a knack for delivering big plays in big games. He is 25 with 14 starts on his resume. If the Broncos believe he is ready -- and that is definitely the vibe I get, especially in light of his performance at Miami -- then it makes sense to move on from Talib. That's not a financial decision, but merely the way it works in professional sports with younger, promising players.