The Broncos agreed to trade cornerback Aqib Talib to the Rams last week, but not before trying to trade him to the 49ers.
Denver had agreed to ship Talib to San Francisco but it was called off when he rejected the trade, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Talib really couldn’t have rejected the trade — he doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract — but he could have made it difficult for the 49ers by threatening to refuse to show up to work, perhaps holding out all the way through the preseason only to show up to start collecting paychecks when the regular season began. The 49ers may have sought an assurance from Talib that he would be a happy camper in San Francisco, and when he wasn’t inclined to give that assurance, the 49ers decided to move on.
For the 49ers, moving on meant signing cornerback Richard Sherman instead. Sherman’s contract with the 49ers is actually a more team-friendly deal than Talib’s because much of Sherman’s pay is wrapped up in playing and playing well, with per-game roster bonuses and a Pro Bowl incentive bonus. Talib gets an $11 million base salary this year even if he plays poorly or gets hurt and doesn’t play at all. So the 49ers are probably happy in hindsight to have Sherman for a better price, and not have to give up any draft picks to acquire him.
The Rams ended up agreeing with the Broncos on the Talib trade, and he apparently said he’s willing to go to Los Angeles.