With the NFL free agency period starting this Tuesday, the list of available free agents keeps getting bigger and bigger by the hour. This year more than any other, there are some prominent veterans who will be on the open market.
One of these veterans will be a future Hall-of-Fame defensive back who just recently played in Super Bowl 48. After failing to reach an agreement on a new deal with the Super Bowl runner-up Denver Broncos this offseason, cornerback Champ Bailey was released by the team and will be looking for another team to call his own.
With the Detroit Lions needing secondary help in the worst way possible, they should make a serious attempt at signing Bailey to fix their own secondary woes.
I know that Bailey is not anywhere near the shutdown corner that he was several years ago, but I feel there is still enough in the tank for him to have a few more good years. Just watching his Super Bowl performance against the Seattle Seahawks was painful enough considering it was his first opportunity in 15 years, but I consider that performance a blip rather than a trend.
Before Bailey’s bad final season in Denver, the cornerback had two interceptions and nine pass defenses in 2012 with opposing teams throwing away from the future Hall of Famer. Bailey only played in five games in 2013 due to various injuries and was not 100 percent in the Super Bowl as he gave up some big plays, but I expect the corner to be completely healthy heading into 2014.
The Lions have had a longstanding need for a quality defensive back ever since the days of Dre’ Bly in the mid 2000s. For the past several years, the Lions have tried to fill this position with journeymen like Chris Houston and Rashean Mathis, and while each were serviceable, none of these players will strike fear into opposing offenses like Bailey has.
While I think the Lions will address cornerback in the early rounds of the NFL Draft, bringing in a veteran like Bailey can also help this team.
The Lions would get Bailey as a bargain due to his previous injuries and declining production. With Bailey producing on the field, he can also teach the younger defensive backs like Bill Bentley and Darius Slay how to play the position and how to become professionals. Bailey could also serve as a mentor and a team leader to a roster that desperately needs one after last season’s debacle.
With a future Hall of Famer like Bailey in Honolulu Blue and Silver, the Lions can take their first step towards fixing their porous pass defense, and their first step in claiming their first division title in over two decades.