Kristian: Does Champ make sense for the Saints?
The Saints continue to kick the tires on free agents, most notably defensive back Champ Bailey. NFL Analyst Mike Detillier told me “He’ll go down as one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time. The problem is, you're getting the 36 year old Champ. What do you want him for?”
What do the Saints want him for? Bailey is an experienced 15 year veteran who’s sure to be Pro Football Hall of Famer when he hangs up the cleats. The Saints could use Bailey to add some experience to a very young secondary as a niche player for Rob Ryan's defense. “You’re not bringing him to be a starter, you’re bringing him into be that nickel cornerback,” explains Detillier.
Bailey played in five games last season with the Denver Broncos, hampered by an ankle injury. “He still has some gas left in the tank, I just think at 36, you’re asking a lot for him to hold up 16 games as a starter,” Detillier says. If the Saints were to ink Bailey, he could come relatively cheap. New Orleans has $2.2 million dollars under the 2014 salary cap. Bailey’s veteran minimum contract would be $985,000 on a 1 year deal. That’s more than affordable.
I wouldn’t hold my breath on the Saints signing Bailey before the NFL Draft in May. It sounds like the Saints are doing their homework on some veteran insurance if they miss out on a prospect or two in the draft. One of the more obvious needs for the Black and Gold is at cornerback. Right now, Keenan Lewis is the starter on one side with Patrick Robinson and Corey White as the two players with the most experience opposite of Lewis.
Photo via Jeffrey Beall, Flickr