After 10 seasons, eight Pro Bowl appearances, and an AFC Championship victory, it appears that Champ Bailey has reached the end of his tenure with the Denver Broncos, as the team has decided to cut the 35 year old. Despite some hard feelings from loyal fans of the star player, this is clearly the right decision for the Broncos’ franchise moving forward.
Whereas Bailey was once the premier cornerback in the NFL, this is simply not the case anymore, as a combination of age and injuries have turned him into a bit-part player at best. During the 2014 season, the 35 year old only appeared in five regular season games, did not induce a single turnover, and only helped contributed 14 tackles. Furthermore, anyone who watched the debacle that was the Broncos’ loss in the Super Bowl saw that he was physically over-matched on the big stage, and that starting at the NFL level will not be an option ever again.
Once the Broncos realized this ugly truth, they then had a tough choice to make, which they ultimately pulled the trigger on by cutting Bailey and saving $10 million in salary cap room. For a Denver team that only had $17 million in cap room before the move, this was an extremely wise decision, as they still have to re-sign players like Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker, not to mention rebuild a defensive unit that ranked 27th in pass yards per game against and 22nd in points against per game in the NFL last year.
Sometimes in the NFL, teams have to make decisions that value future productivity and outlook above player loyalty, and this was certainly one of these situations. They simply have too many assets to re-sign and needs to fill in order to win the Super Bowl in 2015 to blindly throw money at an aging player. This may hurt for now, but Bailey surely knows that football is a business, and Broncos fans must now realize this as well.