The NFL has become a game of pitch-and-catch. The offenses plays the game with its quarterback and receivers, the defense plays it with its pass rushers and cover corners.
And some of the biggest-name cornerbacks in the business changed addresses this offseason in quests to build a championship team. That’s the subject of our Talk of Fame Network poll this week – which team got the best deal on a cornerback this offseason? Five quality candidates are on the ballot, including Pro Bowlers and NFL interception champions. Here are your options:
Malcolm Butler, Tennessee. Age: 28. Contract: 5 years, $61.2 million, $30 million guaranteed. Butler made the Patriots as an undrafted college free agent in 2014 then went on to become a three-year starter, helping the Patriots win two Super Bowls. His interception on the New England goal line in the closing seconds of the 2015 Super Bowl allowed New England to claim the Lombardi Trophy with a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. But Butler was benched in the 2018 Super Bowl after playing more snaps than any defensive player on the Patriots during the regular season. He signed as a free agent with the Titans and brings eight career interceptions to Tennessee.
Trumaine Johnson, NY Jets. Age: 28. Contract: 5 years, $72.5 million, $45 million guaranteed. A third-round draft pick in 2012, Johnson became a starter in his second year and has 18 interceptions to show for his first six seasons. He has returned three of them for touchdowns, including a 39-yarder against the Colts last season. At 6-2, 213 pounds, Johnson is the prototypical “big” cornerback the NFL covets. The Rams had two young cornerbacks they liked on their NFC West championship team but only one franchise tag, so they put it on Lamarcus Joyner. That opened the door for Johnson to leave in free agency.
Marcus Peters, LA Rams. Age: 25. Contract (inherited in trade): 1 year, $1.7 million. The Chiefs drafted Peters with the 18th overall pick of the 2015 draft. He led the NFL with his eight interceptions in 2015 on his way to NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. He intercepted six passes in 2016 and went to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. He intercepted five more passes last season for the AFC West champion Chiefs. His 19 interceptions over the last three seasons are tops in the NFL. The Rams acquired Peters for a fourth-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019.
Richard Sherman, San Francisco. Age: 30. Contract: 3 years, $27.1 million, $7 million guaranteed. Sherman saw his streak of four consecutive Pro Bowls end in 2017 when he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in November. He helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl in 2014 with the NFL’s top ranked defense. He intercepted career bests of eight interceptions in back-to-back 2012-2013 seasons, leading the league in 2013, and has 32 career interceptions. He signed as a free agent with the 49ers a day after the Seahawks made him a salary-cap casualty. He played his college football in the area at Stanford.
Aqib Talib, LA Rams. Age: 32. Contract (inherited in trade): 2 years, $19 million. The Rams become fourth team of Talib's 11-year career. He was a first-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2008 and played his first four seasons with the Buccaneers. Then he spent two seasons with the Patriots and four with the Broncos before Denver traded him to the Rams for a fifth-round pick in 2018. Talib went to five Pro Bowls and helped the Broncos win a Super Bowl with the NFL’s top-ranked defense in 2016. He intercepted a career-high six passes with the Bucs in 2010 and has 34 picks in his career.