Champ Baily is selling his house. So what, people put their houses up for sale all the time. But, how many 10-time NFL Pro-Bowlers book a ticket to Canton without a Super Bowl ring? Make no mistake, as good as Champ is, he will never be in a conversation for the greatest DB of all time without a Super Bowl ring. I think Champ Bailey really enjoys living in Denver but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the Broncos are a long way away from being a serious Super Bowl contender. And, if you're Champ Bailey, that is a big part of the equation for the team with which he eventually signs.
If Champ thought there was the smallest glimmer of hope the Broncos could make the post-season and contend he would be back in the oracle and blue. But the Broncos organization is psychologically battered and is considered among all those outside the Denver region as a major rebuilding project. And, no disrespect to Elway, how could anyone in the Broncos front office tell Champ anything different. To do so would be to lie to arguably the best player on the team.
I think Champ Bailey deserves a shot at winning a Super Bowl. I think it's a very long shot he returns to Denver next year given the current state of the franchise. But, if the Broncos front office wants to convince him he's got a shot with the precious few years he has left as a players here's what they should do:
1) Acquire a physical demon DT or DE. Without being able to generate a base pass rush Champ's talents are being wasted. Even the best NFL CBs can't cover every play for 10 seconds... let along the other receivers and TEs on the field. The McDaniel's regime valued character guys over talent and the Shanahan regime always valued hard-workers. Both attributes are commendable but, outside of Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos have regularly drafted busts in that position over the past decade. Notice I didn't say they had to use a 1st round draft pick here. I don't see any of the first round DT/DE's having the same impact as Ndamukong Suh did this past year. Nevertheless the Broncos need to show Champ how a push up the middle will highlight his game and help the Broncos push for the playoffs.
2) Draft a play-maker at LB. The past few years have been loaded with both draft and solid FA players. Yet, the Broncos have seemed content to see if DJ Williams can become the player we all hoped he could. Yet, hope as we may, DJ has failed to do anything more than register tackles 4 yards downfield. His statistics as a playmaker (forcing fumbles, collecting fumbles, grabbing interceptions, and sometimes sacks) is anemic compared to top players at his position. The crop of top free agent LBs is dwindling especially now that the Steelers have franchised Lamarr Woodley. Convincing Champ there is someone there capable of filling in the leadership void at this position is the key. The Broncos need a smart/emotional/inspirational playmaker at LB. The situation with the CBA will make it more difficult, but the Broncos could certainly look to trade back a ways in the first round to grab their man and a few other picks.
3) Name Tebow the starting QB now. Hey, it can't hurt! This cloud weighs heavily on Bronco nation and the uncertainty has to be unsettling to the Broncos lockeroom as well... no matter what the Broncos say. At least this way you're putting your best foot forward.
4) Commit to running the football. I buy into the saying, "Defense wins championships". But, it's rare a defense gets to a championship game without its offense being able to grind out a few critical first downs to win a game somewhere along the way. As head coach John Fox will be a welcome addition here. The version of thunder and lightning he used in Carolina was very effective. It would have looked very good with the Broncos if Peyton Hillis were still in town to team up with Knowshon Moreno. It still starts up front though and the Broncos interior line has holes larger than the ones in the ozone layer. So, bring back Lendale White or get a big back in the draft. The point is to convince Champ he'll get to drink Gatorade late in the 4th quarter when the Broncos new right guard will be pancaking tired opponents into creamed corn.
Cheers to Champ! One thing's for sure... he'll never look better than he has in blue and orange!