Is Champ Bailey still the premier shut down corner in the NFL? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that at the age of 34 he still isn’t one of the best cover corners in the game, something the Denver Broncos need to keep heading into next season with only winning the Super Bowl on their mind.
Bailey is a 12 time Pro Bowler, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great player. It’s usually a sign of popularity and recognition of your name-brand among NFL fans. Bailey used to be a guy you simply don’t throw the ball at, but things have slightly changed. There were even discussions about moving Bailey to safety, like old corners tend to do, but he was in the top 8 among cornerbacks in the NFL when it came to stopping other team’s #1 receivers. No longer elite, but still one of the best around, while the developing Chris Harris does a very good job on the other end.
There’s always the money issue – Bailey is owed $9.5 million in base salary for 2013, which could be saved if Bailey is cut before the deadline. After getting torched by Torrey Smith in the postseason, thoughts began to come up among Broncos executives, but the thought is that Bailey is still and integral part of their cornerback trio, along with Harris and Tony Carter. A few weeks earlier Bailey did a good job on Smith in a 34-17 win.
All signs point to this – Bailey won’t be cut, but it’s clear to everyone within the Broncos organization that Bailey is no longer an elite cornerback, possibly heading into his final season as a guy that covers the #1 receiver on the other end, before he’s cut by the Broncos and/or moved to the safety position, in Denver or somewhere else. Bailey has been with Denver since 2004, recording 34 interceptions, including a league best 10 in 2006.