The Patriots know they have to crack open the safe if they’re going to keep cornerback Aqib Talib from hitting the open market next week.

Talib wants to be paid as a top-of-the-market corner in free agency, according to a source. Since the Dolphins signed Brent Grimes to a four-year, $32 million contract, including $16 million guaranteed, that baseline for this class of prized free agents has been established.

With that in mind, it seems unlikely the Patriots could keep Talib from free agency with an offer of anything short of Grimes’ neighborhood. It’s possible the Patriots wanted Talib for a less risky three-year deal, perhaps in the range of $7 million per year, but that’s well shy of Grimes’ mark. Since Talib has thoroughly enjoyed his season and a half with the Pats, he might take something of a discount, but it’s got to be close.

Conceivably, the Pats could still execute a three-year contract, but they’d need to get aggressive with guaranteed money. That’s the danger of such a deal, as Talib has dealt with cumbersome hip injuries throughout his career, including one that sidelined him for three games and hampered him for several more in 2013, and he has exited the past two AFC Championship Games after getting hurt. On the positive side, he didn’t require surgery this offseason, according to a source.