According to a tweet by Russini, Talib prefers to be released by the Broncos so he can choose his destination – with the New England Patriots being his top choice.
In January, Mike Klis of KUSA/9News first reported that the Broncos were expected to put Talib on the trading block due to his salary. The star cornerback has two years left on his contract with salaries of $11 million in 2018 and $8 million in 2019.
Talib, who was selected for his fifth-straight Pro Bowl this season, had 31 combined tackles, seven passes defensed, and an interception returned for a touchdown in 2017. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2016.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Talib the 20th overall pick in the 2008 draft. In 2012, he was traded to the New England Patriots following a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Talib signed a six-year, $57 million contract with the Broncos in 2014 and contributed to the team's Super Bowl 50 run a season later.
Over his 10 NFL seasons, Talib has registered 425 combined tackles, 34 interceptions, 118 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and a quarterback sack. He has started at least 15 regular-season games in three of his four seasons with Denver.
The cornerback position is a top need for the 49ers, who have a promising young talent in Ahkello Witherspoon. However, he has just nine starts under his belt as a rookie in 2017. Opposite Witherspoon was Dontae Johnson, whose play was erratic this past season. Johnson, who is scheduled to become a free agent next week, was benched twice late last year.