The Denver Broncos and Champ Bailey came together to give Broncos fans a blast of fresh air. The fact that the team stepped up, made a commitment to an older player that is still playing at an ultra-high level - while, at the same time, the player stepped up, likely took less than market value to return, well, that's not something we see everyday, not anymore. That is exactly what the Broncos and Bailey did, though timing may have been just right for the deal to happen right now.
In no way am I looking to put a damper on the news of Bailey's return to the Broncos. Absolutely not. If this were last off-season, however, one has to wonder. The uncertainty of the CBA weighed heavily on Champ's mind, and in some ways the Broncos benefited from that. It's not often a team can keep a player the caliber of Champ Bailey from at least testing the free agent waters, considering some thought he could get $20 million in guaranteed money. This is no ordinary year, however, and Champ knows it.
You see, that's the point. While we all hope there is a deal come March 4, or sooner, there is a real possibility that there is not. If there is a lockout, something tells me it could go for awhile - all the urgency is gone at that point, and all the posturing will begin again. Who knows when football would return, and in the cas eof Champ Bailey, how long teams would have to sign free agents. It was a risk that Bailey simply wasn't willing to take for a few million dollars more.
What today's signing does in terms of planning for the NFL Draft, or any kind of free agency remains to be seen. What today did for me, personally, was continue to build my faith in John Elway the personnel man. His first two big decisions - hiring John Fox and getting a deal done with Champ Bailey - have been home runs in my opinion. He was able to bring in an experienced coach that has rebuilt a team - and won with them - adding that experience to a front office that sorely lacks just that. He then was able to get a fair contract with a superstar player despite the team's struggles. Not a bad start for Elway in my book.
All this comes at a time when Denver sports is struggling with the Carmelo Anthony mess, not to mention the NFL-CBA mess. Fans are losing faith in players, and in some cases the teams they love. Today, John Elway, Pat Bowlen - perhaps even Brian Xanders - along with Champ Bailey - reminded us why we love these players - and the team - to begin with.
And selfishly, it's just nice to write something positive for a change about the Denver Broncos!
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