Champ Bailey is on the wrong side of 35. Although his age is not the sole reason why the New Orleans Saints decided to part ways with the Hall of Fame cornerback, the team's concern might have swayed due to Bailey's injury-prone frame and his resistance to learning the safety position.
NFL.com's Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Saints, whose entire defense has been looking to get younger for the past several years, will look to their top three defensive backs.
"By cutting him today they [Saints] saved themselves $1 million in base salary. Now the reason they cut him is not just his age. It's also the fact that they seem to already have their top three corners, Keenan Lewis who played like a Pro Bowler last year is one, Patrick Robinson is another and Brian Dixon, an undrafted free agent who really has impressed them. He [Dixon] may be the one who eventually took Champ Bailey's roster spot and left him unemployed."
Questions emerge the babbling brook near the Ravens nest. The defensive depth chart is not - if you can be real with yourself - solid at the cornerback position. Granted Bailey has to pick up the shovel, dig deep and really ask himself if he could bear the pain for another season and contribute to the team as a legitimate asset. He has made over $100 million over his 16-year career and rejected the idea of shifting to the back end as a safety.
Currently the Ravens are loaded with Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. On the practice squad Tramain Jacobs and Deji Olataye eagerly await for the call.
When Deion Sanders joined the Ravens in 2004, the 37-year-young nickelback impacted the team a fair amount. In his two tries with Baltimore, Sanders registered 39 tackles, five interceptions for 144 yards; one of his picks resulted in a 48-yard touchdown. He contributed to a 9-7 season in 2004 and a 6-10 campaign in the year after.
Is this the end of the line for Bailey? Lock the door before the veteran leadership roles articles hit the headlines; let's focus on what the Baltimore Ravens really need on defense.
Is it a cornerback not named Champ Bailey?