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Denver Broncos to trade Aqib Talib to L.A. Rams


While the Seahawks are tearing down a historically great defense, the reigning NFC West champions are reloading to ensure their standing atop the division.

The Rams and Broncos have finalized a deal that will send veteran cornerback Aqib Talib to Los Angeles in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick, NFL Network's James Palmer and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via sources informed of the situation.

The move comes just hours after Rapoport reported a standoff in trade talks involving Talib and the Patriots.

"For Talib, there were really only two places he wanted to go," Rapoport revealed on Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access. "New England, where of course he had a lot of success with Bill Belichick and the Patriots. And Los Angeles with the Rams, where he would get to play under Wade Phillips, his former defensive coordinator in Denver."

If you're keeping score at home, general manager Les Snead has discarded pass rusher Robert Quinn and linebacker Alec Ogletree in separate trades. In the coming days, he's also expected to dump wide receiver Tavon Austin and allow cornerback Trumaine Johnson to walk in free agency.

On the flip side, Snead has acquired five-time Pro Bowler Talib, 2016 All-Pro Marcus Peters and former Packers cornerback Sam Shields, a 2014 Pro Bowl selection in his own right.

The Rams have also placed the franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner and will make an aggressive last-minute pitch to keep wideout Sammy Watkins before the onset of free agency next week.

Why was Denver willing to part with Talib, a lockdown cornerback still playing at a high level?

They wanted to take advantage of Bradley Roby's athleticism and young legs while shedding Talib's salary to facilitate the upcoming quest for a franchise quarterback.

"Obviously the numbers in terms of his salary were the reason," Palmer explained. "It wasn't his play. ... When Wade Phillips has great corners, you see how creative he can be and how successful he can be with a defensive unit. And obviously the tie with Talib and Wade Phillips goes back [to Denver]."

Phillips will now have the luxury of two premier playmakers to lead his ballhawking defensive backfield. Talib leads all active cornerbacks in interceptions (32) since he entered the league in 2008 while Peters' 19 picks are the most over the past three seasons.

There's quality depth alongside that dynamic duo with Joyner, promising second-year safety John Johnson and a pair of wild cards in Shields and Kayvon Webster.

Phillips has every reason to believe his secondary will dethrone Seattle's celebrated Legion of Boom as the toast of the NFC West going forward.

Talib thanked Broncos fans for their support over the last four years:

Thank You!!! #broncoscountry

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