Broncos Officially Release Champ Bailey

The Broncos have officially released the best corner back of his generation, letting go of 12-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey.  Bailey has been with the Broncos for ten years, originally joining the team from Washington in a trade for running back Clinton Portis.  Bailey made eight Pro Bowls and intercepted 34 passes as a Bronco.

The move was made to remove the $10 million owed to Bailey in 2014 from the Broncos salary cap.

Broncos boss John Elway called the decision to release Bailey a “difficult” one given all that the perennial Pro Bowl corner back has brought to the team over his 10 seasons with the Broncos.

“Without question, he’s among the best corner backs to ever play the game and one of the finest players in the history of the Broncos,” Elway said in a statement. “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.”


However, the 35-year-old Bailey has been slowed by injuries in recent years, as he missed 11 games with a Lisfranc injury this season.  The injury issues and the fact he is losing some speed with age may mean that Bailey will need to play safety going forward, just as Charles Woodson made the transition before him.  This is something Bailey has said he is willing to do in order to continue his NFL career.

“I consider it a privilege to have coached Champ these last three years,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “There’s no doubt he played an integral role in establishing a culture of winning here.

“Aside from his natural ability, Champ set a great example with his hard work and relentless commitment to mastering his craft.”

The 15-year veteran mentored many teammates, teaching them the tricks of the cornerback trade. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, an impending free agent, once said he used to study film of Bailey simply because, “If you’re a cornerback, you have to be a fan of Champ Bailey. Anytime a guy does that for a period of time he did it, 14 or 15 years, you’ve got to watch him.”

Rodgers-Cromartie and Bailey were the Broncos shutdown tandem when healthy, however the Broncos may have two new starting corners next season.


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