New Orleans (AP) — Champ Bailey will get to chase a Pro Bowl record and another Super Bowl appearance with the New Orleans Saints.
The veteran cornerback agreed to a two-year contract with the Saints on
Friday, with a maximum value that approaches $7 million, including
guaranteed money and a signing bonus in the first year.
The 35-year-old Bailey played the last 10 seasons with Denver after
spending his first five in the NFL with Washington. A shutdown
cornerback for much of his career, Bailey has made three All-Pro teams
and been selected to 12 Pro Bowls. He trails only Hall of Fame end
Reggie White (13) among defensive players in NFL history in Pro Bowls.
Bailey's 52 interceptions are the most among active players, as are his
204 passes defensed. He made the league's All-Decade team for 2000-09.
"We are excited to be able to add a future Hall of Fame player with the
addition of Champ Bailey," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said.
"His career accomplishments mirror that of his high character, and he's
a very prideful and competitive player who we believe will add to our
He returned late in the season to help the Broncos advance to the Super
Bowl, where they were routed by Seattle.
His coverage skills clearly are not what they were in his prime, but he
will add leadership and savvy to the Saints' secondary that is
undergoing a transformation following the release of strong safety
Roman Harper and the loss of free safety Malcolm Jenkins, who signed
with Philadelphia as a free agent.
"I have a little more to my game, I believe, especially mentally,"
Bailey said on the Saints' official website. "I can see things a lot
easier, a lot of things come up that I've had experience with. That
only helps your game. I'm using that to my advantage as much as
possible because I know how much you've got to be mentally ready for
this, as well as physically ready.
"I just like the situation I'm going into because I know these guys are
going to be hungry."
New Orleans also may lose safety Rafael Bush, an unrestricted free
agent who on Thursday signed an offer sheet from the Atlanta Falcons.
New Orleans has until April 8 to match that offer and keep Bush, but
the Saints have been operating with minimal salary cap space, which
will only be squeezed further by bringing in Bailey.
A versatile player who saw action on offense, defense and special teams
at Georgia, Bailey was drafted with the seventh overall pick in 1999 by
Washington. He was dealt to Denver in 2004 for running back Clinton
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Bailey To The Big Easy
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