Mile Klis of the Denver Post brought up an interesting point recently in regards to Elvis Dumervill and Champ Bailey’s contract situations.
Both players will become free agents at the end of the season and both could command salaries that push north of $10 million per season. If the Broncos give one player a long-term deal, will they be able to do the same with the other?
Dumervil is 26 and coming off a season in which he led the league in sacks with 17. Bailey is 32, but is still playing at a Pro Bowl level, is a fan favorite and recently told the media that he doesn’t plan on hanging ‘em up for at least another five more years.
Generally, teams pay younger players first and legit pass-rushers like Dumervil are hard to come by. But Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks don’t fall off trees either and Bailey hasn’t shown signs of decline.
What is owner Pat Bowlen to do? If he pays both of them market value, he’ll cripple his team’s budget and the Broncos probably wouldn’t be able to be major players in free agency next year. If he only pays one of them and allows the other to walk, he’ll have an angry fan base on his hands and worse, he’ll have a huge hole to fill defensively. If he gives one player a long-term deal and franchises the other, he could sabotage his short-term budget.
Even though Dumervil has toed the company line his entire career, this is one of the reasons why the Broncos have chosen to wait to give him a long-term contract. If he plays well this season, then they’ll have a huge decision to make at the end of the year. If he doesn’t play well, they might have an excuse to let him hit the free agent market and then they can invest long-term money in Bailey.
Either way, it doesn’t appear that Bowlen and the Broncos are ready to make a decision, which is why Dumervil still doesn’t have a multi-year deal.
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