Aqib Talib has been a major reason for the success of Denver’s vaunted defenses the past several seasons. Because of this, imagining a Broncos team without him seems wrong, but it isn’t. We all know that at a certain age the production of a corner in the NFL can start to drop significantly. If you need proof, just look at what happened to Darelle Revis this past year after turning 31, and guess how old Talib recently turned? If you guessed 31, you are a genius. If you look at Talib’s last couple of seasons, you’ll find he has had consistently good seasons, but so had Revis before he imploded last year. Denver has played a lot of man-to-man defense the last several years, and I look for that trend to continue. Due to the style of play Denver uses, if Talib even loses half a step the results could be catastrophic. Denver must be prepared to replace Talib in the very near future, so yes his days are numbered.
The easy answer here is Bradley Roby. While Roby is a big part of the future in the Denver secondary, Denver must still find or develop another corner to continue having a dominant defense in today’s NFL.
Malcolm Butler could be a potential solution if the Patriots trade him. Butler has shown he can hold up in coverage when left on an island. Also, the last time Denver got a corner who previously played in New England it was Talib and that worked out well, so why not try to catch lightning in a bottle twice?
Other options would be trying to find someone through the draft next year, or developing this year’s pick, Brendan Langley. Langley is a long, athletic corner that could be a perfect fit in Denver if he develops. Langley is a long way from being on Talib’s level as he is very raw, but has the potential to develop into Talib’s equal or better!