Before the 49ers signed cornerback Richard Sherman to a contract with a base value of $7 million (if he passes his preseason physical), the 49ers wanted to acquire cornerback Aqib Talib at a base value of $11 million. But Talib didn’t want to play for the 49ers.
49ers G.M. John Lynch explained the situation to Peter King of SI.com.
“We did have a trade in place with Denver for a veteran cornerback,” John Lynch told King. “Aqib Talib. I think he didn’t like the idea of being traded — he wanted to be released. I think he felt, ‘If I’m going anywhere, I want to play for [Patriots coach] Bill Belichick or [Rams defensive coordinator] Wade Phillips.’ I talked to the Broncos at the Scouting Combine in Indy about it and I thought we had a deal. Richard [Sherman] wasn’t available then. But we might have had to fight to make the trade for Aqib, so we just dropped it.”
Talib, frankly, should have refused a trade to any team. If he’d been released, a team like the Rams could have gotten him without giving up a fifth-round draft pick to Denver. This presumably would have made the Rams willing to give Talib even more than $11 million this year.
But Talib opted to accept a trade to the Rams. Which means he’ll see the team he didn’t want to play for twice this year. And that could get juicier only if the Raiders cut receiver Michael Crabtree and the 49ers bring him back. (That also would make for some interesting practice-field encounters between Crabtree and Sherman.)