Chiefs Looking for a New Champ in Their Corner

The Kansas City Chiefs could be nearing a deal that would send disgruntled Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey to Kansas City in exchange for the Chiefs 30th pick in April's NFL draft.

As we told you a couple of days ago, the Chiefs were not going to stay quiet forever. But who thought they'd open the flood gates with a blockbuster trade.

If rumors are accurate the Chiefs are about to trade and sign for one of the NFL's elite cornerbacks. Kansas City is in serious negotiations with the Washington Redskins to secure the rights to Champ Bailey.

The report of a potential trade first circulated early Saturday morning. But by most accounts, the move to sign and then trade for Bailey would not be something the Chiefs would seriously consider. So we thought.

Warpaint Illustrated.com has learned that the Chiefs have agreed to send their first round pick #30 in this years NFL draft in exchange for the rights to Bailey. Now the deal has to be consummated before February 24th when franchise designations have to be made by NFL clubs.

In order for the Chiefs to acquire Bailey before then, the Redskins would have to sign Bailey to a contract and then trade him to Kansas City. The deal would revert to the Chiefs and they'd be responsible for the contract. The Chiefs would negotiate the contract with Bailey's agent and once it was consummated, Bailey would be traded to the Chiefs and the Redskins would get the Chiefs first round draft pick.

Sounds pretty simple. But how could the Redskins part with Bailey? New Head Coach Joe Gibbs inherits a Redskins franchise that is littered with terrible free agent acquisitions and limited cap space. Thus Bailey and his agent were given permission to talk with other teams after contract talks between the two sides fell apart on Friday.

The Redskins offered Bailey a new contract on Thursday but it was rejected. The deal called for $ 17 million in back loaded money and Bailey wanted more money in the first six years of the eight year contract offer the Redskins presented to his agent.

The deal would have paid him nearly $6 million per season but that was not to his liking. Bailey wants to become one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL.

His point of reference is the fact that Patriots cornerback Ty Law is scheduled to make $9.5 million in 2004. Law is in the final year of five year deal that has averaged $8 million over the life of the contract.

Bailey is twice the cornerback of Law and making him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL would not be far fetched but that won't happen in Washington. The Redskins, after giving LaVar Arrington a $20 million signing bonus, can't afford to franchise Bailey in 2004 and pay him $6.5 million this year.

As for the Chiefs, they sit $4.5 million under the cap with four key free agents still unsigned. Right tackle John Tait, defensive end Eric Hicks, safety Jerome Woods and back-up tight end Jason Dunn.

Out of those four players, only Hicks is expendable. But that might not be the case if Bailey is signed. Hicks is the only proven pass rusher on the roster and if Bailey climbs aboard, Hicks could be a double digit sack master in 2004.

Signing the 25-year old Bailey would give the Chiefs a tremendous boost to their ailing defense. Bailey has yet to play his best football and he might already be the premier cornerback in the NFL right now.

Bailey can do it all; cover, tackle and blitz. He's a ferocious hitter and he'd be perfect fit in Cunningham's new attacking defense. Bailey would upgrade the Chiefs defense and secondary ten-fold.

He would start opposite Eric Warfield and that would mean Dexter McCleon would move out of the starting line-up and be the teams third cornerback. That's not really a demotion since most NFL with most teams utilizing three and four wide receivers on

But before Chiefs fans get too excited, Bailey's agent Jack Reale, has to come to terms with Kansas City and President Carl Peterson. Now Peterson has acted fast in these types of situations in the past and if this deal is going to happen; it might be consummated in the next 24 hours.

Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil had indicated after the Colts playoff loss that he wanted a big play wide receiver in free agency. But with the persistent rumors of a potential trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Plaxico Burress apparently on the table for the same draft pick, the Chiefs must decide which player can be more productive on the Chiefs roster in 2004.

Common sense would say the Chiefs need Bailey and nobody is going to argue his value and the contributions he could make to the Chiefs for the next five or six seasons. But the same can be said about adding a big play wide receiver that won't drop passes all over the field.

That question can only be answered by Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil. But if it's Bailey, then Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt will be opening up his checkbook and Chiefs fans will be opening up their arms for Bailey.


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