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Broncos land CB Talib, SS Ward; re-sign WR Caldwell

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The Denver Broncos landed two of the top defensive prizes on the opening day of free agency, agreeing to terms with cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the team, but ESPN reported that Talib's six-year deal was for $57 million and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer indicated that Ward's contract averages $5.5 million per year.

Denver was thought to be close to re-signing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie but landed Talib.

Injuries and off-the-field issues surrounded Talib the past few years, but he was considered one of the top players at his position in free agency.

In 13 regular-season games for the New England Patriots last season, Talib had four interceptions and 41 tackles. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

In seven seasons with the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 28-year-old Talib has 23 interceptions, 73 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and 272 tackles.

Ward, 27, registered a career-high 129 tackles with the Cleveland Browns in 2013, earning his first Pro Bowl selection and was named second-team All-Pro.

He is considered one of the league's most aggressive safeties, often playing in the box as an extra run defender. Ward will be paired opposite free safety Rahim Moore, who possesses far more range.

One of the Broncos' main priorities following their blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII last month was to get more physical on both sides of the ball.

"We are excited to add T.J. Ward to the Denver Broncos," Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said. "He's a young, explosive strong safety who is going to bring a lot of energy and toughness to our secondary."

The Broncos also agreed to terms with wide receiver Andre Caldwell on a new two-year contract. reported the deal is worth up to $3.45 million.

Caldwell, who will enter his seventh NFL season in 2014, has played in 24 regular-season games (two starts) for the Broncos during the last two years, totaling 17 receptions for 218 yards with three touchdowns.

Caldwell, 28, combined to catch 11 passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns during Denver's final three games in 2013 before seeing action in all three playoff contests for the club. He could be in line for significantly more playing time with Eric Decker expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

"If (Decker) doesn't come back, (I'll compete) for his spot and make some things happen if I get that opportunity," said Caldwell. "Only time will tell if that's the case or not."

In six NFL seasons, including his first four with the Cincinnati Bengals, Caldwell has appeared in 75 regular-season games (16 starts) and tallied 141 catches for 1,390 yards with nine touchdowns. He has seen action in four career postseason games (one start) and has four receptions for 51 yards.

Selected by the Bengals in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft from the University of Florida, Caldwell caught a career-high 51 passes for 432 yards with three touchdowns for Cincinnati in 2009.

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