As the Scouting Combine presses on over the weekend, the hot stove in the NFL is going to be absolutely ablaze. One reason for that is because every coach and GM and every front office contingency is at Lucas Oil Stadium, or Indianapolis in some fashion, as well as every NFL insider and beat reporter.
It’s the reason why the Combine is such a big deal.
Prospects are the focus, but what goes on behind the scenes is where the true meat of this time of year is.
Just a couple of weeks away from the start of the new league year, teams have big decisions to make and the Broncos are no exception. Per Jeff Legwold of ESPN, the Broncos’ cap number currently sits just over $18 million below the NFL’s new limit of $130 million.
For a team that was just in the Super Bowl, that’s a really good number but the Broncos have to be wise about their spending and they will need to make some tough roster cuts. The top three players that are on the chopping block right now are guard Chris Kuper, who is set to make just under $6 million this season, Joel Dreessen, who is set to make around $3 million, and Champ Bailey, who is set to make a whopping $10 million.
Obviously, the Broncos aren’t going to pay Champ that kind of money this year, but with the number of players already leaving in the secondary this offseason, they would obviously like to keep the longest tenured player on the team and a player who has devoted nearly his entire NFL career to this franchise.
John Elway in speaking to the media had this to say about the future Hall of Famer:
“I’m going to sit down with Champ, first of all,” Elway said. “And find out what he wants to do and go from there.”
With Elway taking over the title of GM, every football decision now comes down to his authority, although it did before as well.
The Broncos need to get Champ Bailey to basically cut his salary in half–maybe even more than that–or he might be sent packing. At this point, playing football is not about the money for Bailey and he’s already signed a blockbuster deal or two over the course of his career.
Now it’s time to throw the front office a bone, or he’ll have to search for a new contender with which to get acclimated. My guess is, Bailey will easily get a new deal done with Denver. He realizes his age, productivity, and recent injury issues do not necessitate a huge contract, and the Broncos will probably give him a more fair deal than any other team would.
Expect to hear more about this as the Combine progresses.