Denver Broncos Would Be Crazy To Let Champ Bailey Leave Next Season

Jason Muckley@@jamuckleySenior Analyst IIOctober 10, 2010

Broncos cannot afford to lose Champ Bailey this season.
Broncos cannot afford to lose Champ Bailey this season.Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Champ Bailey MUST remain a Denver Bronco next season.

Josh McDaniels told reporters Friday that the Broncos want Champ Bailey to remain a Bronco and finish his career in Denver. McDaniels is quoted saying, “We want Champ Bailey to be here, we want him to finish his career here–there’s no question about it.” This statement made by McDaniels comes after rumors around the league conjectured that this could be Champ Bailey's last year with the Broncos.

Wednesday several media sources indicated that the contract talks between Bailey and the Broncos were tabled until the end of the season. Many believe that Bailey's price tag likely will soar at the end of the season compared to the mediocre four-year contract extension that Bailey was likely to sign (reluctantly). The Broncos have the option of retaining Bailey with a franchise tag, but, that salary would most likely fetch over $10 million.

"I am disappointed, because I want to be here," Bailey said. "We know that, they know that. What's the issue here, really?"

Ever since he arrived in 2004, Champ Bailey has been consistently dominant. Every game Bailey shuts down his half of the field for opposing teams' offenses and dares the quarterback to throw his way. Also, almost every week he matches up against the opposing team's top wide receiver.

Bailey plays tight man coverage and is one of the few cornerbacks to barely ever receive costly interference penalties. Before last Sunday, Bailey only had one, that's right, only one defensive pass interference penalty against him since 2006! In that period, Bailey had been targeted over 300 times.

Bailey's best season in Denver came in 2006 when he recorded 10 interceptions (Tied 1st in NFL), scored a defensive touchdown in a huge postseason game against New England (100 yard return), and recorded 73 solo tackles. Since he arrived in Denver in 2004, Bailey has only played in less than 14 games one season (9, 2008). In his six seasons in Denver, only in 2008 was he not elected to the Pro Bowl.

The Broncos have some talent waiting in the wings with Rookie CBs Perrish Cox and Cassius Vaughn, but it would be a long year defensively, if as second-year players they were called upon to replace a future Hall-of-Famer like Champ Bailey. Peyton Manning exposed the Broncos' rookies in Week 3, hooking up 12 times with Austin Collie—who worked mainly against Cox—for 171 yards and 2 TDs.

If the Broncos do not sign Bailey before the season ends, he figures to be a hot commodity among salivating head coaches looking to instantly improve their secondary.

In regards to the deal, McDaniels went on to say, "Certainly, if there’s something that can happen sooner rather than later, then that’s what we’ll want to do. I know I love the guy. He has been great for me professionally (and) personally, he’s been great for our locker room, and nobody here wants him to leave. There are a lot of things that go on into these things and factor into timing."

The Broncos would be wise to make sure their time does not run out with Bailey, as it would be much easier to lock him up long-term while he is still on the roster compared to when he becomes an unrestricted free agent once the season ends.