Recent reports revealed that the Denver Broncos will release veteran cornerback Champ Bailey instead of paying him the $9 million he was set to make in 2014. Bailey has already made it clear that he has no plan to retire after his release. He has made a case as one of the greatest players to play at his position over his 16 years in the NFL. Suitors will quickly line up in hopes of signing him as soon as he becomes a free agent. As of now, he has not expressed any desire to play for any specific franchise.
In the latter part of a legendary career, it will be almost impossible for Bailey to rake in big money from whichever team inquires about possibly signing him. This leaves the door open for franchises to sign him at a bargain, especially after missing most of 2013 with an injury. Even though there will be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on Bailey, I believe signing with the San Diego Chargers may be the best bet for him at this point of his career.
The Chargers are coming off a poor defensive season and are in troubling need of a cornerback who can help their porous defensive backfield. In 2013, the Bolts gave up 4,000-plus yards through the air while also allowing more than 250 passing yards per game. Eric Weddle is a very bright spot in coverage, but there is only so much a safety can do in a league that is dominated through the air. To make matters worse for the Bolts, they released Derek Cox, who was hailed as a savior prior to the start of last season. Cox played well below his All-Pro potential, failing to impress anyone in San Diego which ultimately led to his release after only one season as a Charger.
Cox’s release leaves a gaping hole in the Chargers’ defense, but Bailey could quickly fill in that space. San Diego is a fair-weather city, and a perfect place for Bailey to enjoy the final years of his Hall of Fame career. He may not be the ultimate answer to the Chargers’ cornerback problems, but he would certainly be a very helpful piece to the puzzle. Even if he is not the player he once was, his vast football knowledge could rub off on the entire defense if he eventually ends up playing for the Chargers.