The Denver Broncos have parted ways with 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey on Thursday. According to a report by ESPN on March 6, the Broncos will save $10 million in cap space by letting Bailey go.
The 36-year-old Bailey was entering the final year of his deal after an injury ridden season. It was by far his least productive season just joining the team back in 2004 in a trade with the Washington Redskins for running back Clinton Portis. Although Bailey only played in five regular-season games, he did get to play in his first Super Bowl.
John Elway, Broncos executive vice president of football operations, said it was a tough decision and appreciates the years Champ Bailey has given the team.
"This was a difficult decision for our team with everything that Champ Bailey has meant to the Denver Broncos and this community over the last 10 years. Without question, he's among the best cornerbacks to ever play the game and one of the finest players in the history of the Broncos. you couldn't ask for more in a player than what Champ brought to this team. His combination of elite talent, class, leadership and competitiveness made him one of the all-time greats."
Although age has slowed Bailey, he is not interested retiring as he still believes can help a team. As a free agent he will certainly have to prove that he can still be a key contributor on a team. He would definitely give a team the leadership and competiveness Elway mentioned.
Since entering the league in 1999, Champ Bailey has 52 career interceptions and for years was considered one of the top shut down cornerbacks in the league. If he wants to continue playing, he may have to fight his way on to a team.
As for the Broncos, the move will allow them to go after one of the younger top free agent cornerbacks available as they begin their quest to make another run at the Super Bowl.