It's a Wonderful (Redskin) Life: Why Washington Should've Kept Champ Bailey

Brian Mahoney@@BWMahoney213Contributor IAugust 22, 2010

DENVER - OCTOBER 05:  Cornerback Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during NFL action on October 5, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 16-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Washington Redskins' faithful are pumped for the Donovan McNabb era in football.

It will commence in a few weeks officially, but, for Redskin die-hards, I'd like to take the time to remind you, even if your new quarterback launches a 50-yard touchdown strike to Santana Moss on his first pass, cheer loud.

Just don't expect it to be the answer to the Super Bowl (like you may have done so six years ago, with Clinton Portis's first amazing touchdown run in the 2004 season opener).

The emergence of the 22 year old running back, traded by the Denver Broncos for CB Champ Bailey and a 2nd-round pick, gradually deflated as the years dragged on. Redskins' fans thought that Portis was the savior to their meddling offense, but by now, the NFL sport has become a business of (quickly) disposing great running backs in a flash.

To get straight to the point—the Redskins squandered their past six years.

Some may not quickly agree with this opinion, this is all coming from a voice of the Eagles' fanbase. The trade should have never been made, as the number one reason was already secured in the organization—Bailey.

Bailey was in prime form (at only 25 in 2003), totalling 18 interceptions during his five years with the Redskins and was the stalwart to a defense that was in need of leadership once great cornerback Darrell Green and Deion Sanders departed. Linebacker LaVar Arrington was on the fringe on becoming a bust (which he was so), and at the time, everyone accounted for great defense for a shot at a championship.

So why else should have they kept Bailey? Need I say more, coming from an NFC East division that on paper was one of the fiercest overall, but weakest in terms of wide receiver depth.

The powerhouse Eagles were in shambles yearly with James Thrash and Todd Pinkston—that is, until Terrell Owens's two-year stint. The Giants competed with good, but not great wide receivers in Amani Toomer andIke Hilliard. Once Plaxico Burress became the main threat, Bailey would have at least contended with the likes of him. Lastly, the Cowboys showed poor outings of Joey Galloway and Terry Glenn, until Owens once again stepped into the spotlight.

Portis may have been a quick fix on the offensive side for the Redskins, but like stated earlier, running backs come and go like Steve Jobs and his iPods. Ever since Portis's debut in 2004, several key running backs were lost in the heat of free agency, draft, or trade by the Redskins' staff.

These (from past Drafts) include Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, and Chris Johnson of the 2008 Draft, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch of the 2007 Draft, Reggie Bush, Laurence Maroney, and Maurice Jones-Drew of 2006, Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, Frank Gore, and Marion Barber of 2005.

In the market, the Redskins also lost out on potentially acquiring Willis McGahee from the Bills, Michael Turner from the Chargers, and Deuce McAllister from the Saints.

So, if you look back at Washington as a whole, their team gradually was taken aback piece by piece, much like a Jenga set, where Bailey was that strong block not willing to lose. He kept their sights bound for greatness, but with sub-par replacements like Walt Harris, Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, and Fred Smoot, the defense kept rebuilding rather than bolstering.

Stepping into a new age with a new quarterback in Donovan McNabb, I assure you Redskin fans that he will revitalize that offense again. Surely, the weapons he has in D.C. will be better than his first set of weapons in Philadelphia ten years ago.

But if the sands of time were to show how Bailey's existence as a Redskin would last, it'd be funny to compare it to the 'George Bailey' affect, where D.C., I believe, would entail a different future and prevent such events as the New York Giants winning Super Bowl XLII—if only Bailey stayed.