The Denver Broncos were burned in the Super Bowl, but life goes on and the team will have to re-adjust their plans for another Super Bowl run next season.
Part of those plans will undoubtedly be cornerback Champ Bailey, who declared his intent to return to football next season after last night’s terrible loss to the Seahawks. Bailey will turn 36 in June, but played well down the stretch for the Broncos before having an off night in the Super Bowl. He is due a base salary of $9 million next year with a $1 million roster bonus, and will almost assuredly have to take a pay cut to remain with Denver.
I don’t see any way that doesn’t happen at this point.
Bailey could re-structure his deal to get that $10 million over the course of a two-year deal with some nice guarantees and bonuses in there, but the Broncos simply can’t afford to pay him $10 million this year as sad as it may sound because the guy has given his heart and soul to the franchise.
Baiely’s contributions to the team have been huge, but the Broncos need to strike while they can. They came close this year, despite losing horribly to Seattle, closer than they have ever come since Bailey joined the team in 2004. I’m sure he could generate some interest on the open market, which there could be a chance he’d pursue if he thought he could get better money from another legit Super Bowl contender, but the Broncos are probably his best shot at returning to the big game next season in the AFC, at least by my early estimation.
The Broncos are going to have to be aggressive on the free agent market and they’ll need all the cap space they can get. At this point in his career, it’s not about the money for Bailey, a guy who should be swimming in dough at this point. It’s easy for me to say, but he should take a paycut and allow the Broncos some freedom to sign guys on the open market, or at least bring back some of their own big names.