Broncos sign cornerback Aqib Talib from Patriots, safety T.J. Ward from Browns

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DENVER — The Broncos went back to work Tuesday as the NFL free agency period started. The team went to work on the defense in a major way.

The team announced late Tuesday night it had signed one the best cornerback available in the NFL, Aqib Talib from the New England Patriots. He played the last two seasons for Bill Belichick and at Tampa Bay from 2008-2012.

His deal is reportedly for six years and worth $57 million. The move may have assured that Denver would not be signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Broncos plan to introduce Talib at team headquarters sometime Wednesday.

Pass rusher DeMarcus Ware from Dallas was set to meet with Denver. The Broncos looked like they have a good chance to land him as reports indicated he had not scheduled meetings with any other teams.

Earlier in the day the team announced the signing of T.J. Ward.

The 27-year-old strong safety was a second-round draft pick in 2010 and he comes to Denver fresh off of his best season so far.

He started all 16 games for the Browns, made 123 tackles, grabbed two interceptions and broke up 10 passes.

The contract is a reported 4-year deal worth $23 million, $14 million of it guaranteed. The Broncos say Ward will be in town to meet with the media at noon Wednesday.

On the offensive side of the ball, with Eric Decker testing the open market, the Broncos did announce the re-signing of wide receiver Andre “Bubba” Caldwell. It’s a new 2-year contract and means that Caldwell could move into a starting role.

Guard Zane Beadles who played for Denver the last four seasons signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He received a 5-year deal worth $30 million.

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard will not be returning to the Broncos. He met with New England Tuesday and has reportedly drawn interest from several other teams including Tennessee.