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Rams CB Aqib Talib was almost on the Patriots again

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Had things worked out a little differently for cornerback Aqib Talib, he'd be playing for the other team in Super Bowl LIII.

Sources say that while the Rams made the best offer to finalize a trade with the Broncos for Talib, the Patriots were the other finalist. New England would have welcomed Talib back in the fold.

Denver received a fifth-round pick for Talib, who was also due $11 million in salary. New England offered a late-round pick for Talib, likely a sixth, sources said.

While the Patriots allowed Talib to walk in free agency in 2014, there has always been mutual respect there, and sources said while the Broncos moved on because of salary, Bill Belichick believed that Talib had several good years left.

Talib actually blocked a trade to the 49ers -- he told NFL Network's Mike Silver this week that the Patriots and the Cowboys were also on his list of acceptable destinations.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio did not address whether the Patriots were involved in the Talib trade, but did acknowledge they believed he could ball.

"Aqib was a good player when we had him, and we knew the kind of player he was [when] leaving Denver," Caserio told NFL.com. "He's always had that production."

Trades are, in fact, a huge part of the seasons both teams have had. For the Patriots, Jason McCourty, Trent Brown and Cordarrelle Patterson are among those who arrived via trade. For the Rams, Talib and Dante Fowler head the list.

Caserio noted how both franchises will consider any avenues to improve.

"You have to be open-minded to building your team in whatever capacity," Caserio said. "There are multiple ways a player can arrive on your team. It's not necessarily how you get there, but what they do when they get there. So everybody has to understand for their individual team, what's the risk? And decide the right course of action. You take all those factors and make a good decision."

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