Champ Bailey during the Broncos vs. Cardinals game. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Hold On To Champ Bailey


Champ Bailey left Sunday’s game in the third quarter with a foot injury and did not return. Is that the last time that we’ll see the shutdown corner in a Broncos’ uniform? His status for the final game of the season is unknown at this point.

“He’s sore. It’s a bruised heel,” Eric Studesville said of Bailey’s foot. “His status going forward, we don’t have anything on right now”.

Bailey will be an unrestricted free agent when the season ends, and the Broncos (under the McDaniels’ regime) took a contract off the table earlier this season.

Many signs point to Bailey heading for the hills before he creeps any higher in age and another team places less value on him, or tries to convince the 32-year-old corner to switch over to safety.

The thing about Bailey is he is the best cornerback in the league right now. He provides one-on-one coverage without any help from the Broncos’ primarily man-to-man defense. This season, Bailey doesn’t have the stats that would make people jump for joy at the prospect of signing him, but the thing with corners is if they don’t have the numbers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s done a poor job in the secondary. Bailey has 2 INTs and is ranked 19th in pass deflections. Most of the the opposing quarterbacks that faced the Broncos this season wouldn’t dare throw in his direction. Instead, they opted to test rookie Perrish Cox who was filling in for an injured Andre Goodman for most of the season.

Come next Sunday, Bailey’s focus will shift to how he wants to spend the rest of his career. He knows that the Broncos are rebuilding from the ground up once again, and he’s made it clear that this is the last big change that he can go through with this organization.

Does #24 stick with it, or does he go to an immediate Super Bowl contender that needs some help in the secondary like the Eagles or the Falcons?

If Bailey were to leave Denver in the off season, this team would miss him tremendously. Not only does it take away from game day, but it takes away in developing our own quarterbacks and receivers in practice every day.

Brandon Lloyd told me last week that going up against Bailey in practice has made him a better receiver.

Before the dollar signs inhibit the Broncos from offering Bailey a large contract, let’s hope they see all that he’s done for the team and his teammates.

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  • Rick

    Letting Bailey go would be a disaster for the Broncos. Some people think he has lost a step, but he is still far better than 95% of the corners in the league. With gaping holes in the defensive line and at linebacker, the Broncos cannot afford to spend a high draft pick on a corner who probably won’t be as good as the one they already have.

    Four years may be a long contract, but I think Bailey would transition to an oustanding free safety in a couple of years. He is fast, one of the best open field tacklers in the NFL, and a ball hawk. I would expect his annual inteceptions to reach 7-8 per year if he were to move to the centerfield position.

    In addition, Champ is a real leader on this team and in the community. He has been a great Denver Bronco and deserves better treatment than he has received from this organization. If this owner thinks he does not need Champ Bailey, then maybe it is time for Denver to get a new owner.