Bailey puts his Colorado home up for sale

Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey glances down at the Seattle Seahawks as they warm up at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 19, 2010 in Denver. . UPI/Gary C. Caskey

Ready for a good news/bad news scenario, Bronco fans?

The good news is that Champ Bailey and your team are talking contract again.

The bad news is that according to Inside the NFL’s Josina Anderson, the 10-time Pro Bowler just put his Colorado home up for sale. If Bailey thought the Broncos were willing to offer him more than a one-year deal, then it seems unlikely that he’d stick a for sale sign in his front yard.

One option for Denver is to assign Bailey the franchise tag and lock him in for one year. But the Broncos don’t want to pay a 32-year-old corner $15 million for one season, even if he is Champ Bailey.

The other problem is that the Broncos shouldn’t be playing for 2011. I understand that in today’s NFL, turnarounds can happen quickly but this team needs an upgrade at every level defensively. Even if they were to re-sign Bailey, nothing says that the Broncos won’t take someone like LSU’s Patrick Peterson with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. They need to build for the future.

As hard as it would be, maybe the Broncos would be better off allowing Bailey to go to a contender that will shell out big money for 2-3 years. No team wants to let talent walk out the door and Bailey is the consummate professional. But teams aren’t created equal. Some need one or two pieces to make a Super Bowl run, while others are starting over. The Broncos are in rebuilding mode and unless they seriously believe they can build a winner in the next two years, why pay Bailey to hang around?

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The Broncos’ upcoming contract dilemma with Bailey and Dumervil

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.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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