NFL roundup: Broncos sign Aqib Talib, Saints land Jairus Byrd and more

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aqib Talib and Jairus Byrd were among the big names signed on Tuesday.

The Denver Broncos made headlines Tuesday night, adding to their free agent haul with former New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib. After news had started to die down, the report surfaced that Denver would pay Talib $57 million over six years, with $26 million guaranteed.

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That's a huge contract, higher than many expected Talib would command, despite the fact that he was the top cornerback on the market. Of course, Sam Shields received a huge deal from the Green Bay Packers, but after the Broncos got T.J. Ward on the cheap and Alterraun Verner did not cost an arm and a leg, it was shocking to see Talib's contract numbers.

Of course, Talib looks to be worth the cost. If healthy, he can be a shutdown corner and seems to have a lot of football left in him. He can lead the Broncos to a better secondary after it was one of the biggest issues on the team last season. Denver fielded the most productive offense in NFL history last year, but the secondary was a huge liability.

Talib changes all of that immediately. This likely means the team will not bring back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but Talib is the much better corner regardless.

Here's what else you might have missed on Tuesday:

Saints sign Byrd

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The New Orleans Saints signed free agent safety Jairus Byrd to a long-term contract on Tuesday. New Orleans was rather quiet to begin the signing period marked by the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, but that's because they were working hard at getting Byrd signed to a huge deal. New Orleans was not expected to be active in the free agent market this season, but the six-year, $54 million deal for Byrd is about as active as you can get.

This could mean that the Saints are actually closer to getting a deal done for Graham though, as noted by Canal Street Chronicles:

Considering how little salary cap space the Saints have, I would hope this means they're really confident a long-term deal with Jimmy Graham is going to get done, which would push the current $7,035,000 franchise tag salary he's on the hook for into future years and free up some room. I'm sure his contract is very light on the front end and very heavy on the back end.

Martin traded to San Francisco

The San Francisco 49ers made two trades on Tuesday, though the latter was a much bigger deal. The team sent a conditional draft pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. It's unclear what the pick has the potential to be, and it's unclear where Martin goes from here. The 49ers aren't in need of a starter, and it seems odd for Martin to be in-line for a backup job just three seasons into his career, but nobody can deny that the 49ers locker room is a great place for Martin to rebound from all of the controversy surrounding him, Richie Incognito and the Dolphins in general.

Broncos sign Ward

Well, this was somewhat unexpected. The Denver Broncos have been making big moves thus far in free agency. Prior to the aforementioned news regarding Talib, the Broncos signed safety T.J. Ward, getting him inked to a four-year, $23 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. That's significant, as Ward was expected to command more than the $5.5 million per year he's going to make.

Bucs sign Verner

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem poised to move on from Darrelle Revis. Tampa Bay signed Alterraun Verner, the top cornerback on the open market, to a four-year contract on Tuesday. The most surprising aspect of the news is the fact that Verner's deal is worth just $26.5 million. That's a lot of money, of course, but given the money teams have been devoting to the secondary, a young and proven player like Verner was expected to command much more. At this point, Revis is now expected to be released on Wednesday if the team cannot trade him.

Sproles not released, will be traded

It was thought that the New Orleans Saints had released running back Darren Sproles, but a report Tuesday said that is not the case. The Saints still plan to move on without him in 2014, but there was apparently enough interest in Sproles to facilitate a trade. It's unclear who is interested and what the Saints are looking for, but Sproles is now being kept for the eventual trade. What's bad about this situation: Sproles found out about this news on Twitter.

Cowboys cut Ware

The Dallas Cowboys have been making moves to free up cap space all offseason, but none have been as big as this: the team has released prolific pass rusher DeMarcus Ware. He was set to make $12.25 million in 2014 and would could $16 million against the salary cap on top of that. The Cowboys just didn't have the space to keep him. Where he goes from here will be one of the biggest storylines of free agency.

Albert, Monroe, Houston and others find landing spots

We've already had two roundups for the early-going of free agency on Tuesday. You can find the first here -- in which we discuss Donte Whitner and Karlos Dansby finding new teams. The second is here, where we talk about Eugene Monroe, Alterraun Verner and Julius Peppers. Finally, you can check out SB Nation's up-to-date tracker with all the info you need on where your favorite players have ended up.

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