Tag:Champ Bailey
Posted on: July 1, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: July 1, 2010 12:38 pm

Positional rankings: Cornerbacks

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, this time taking a look at the top five cornerbacks in the NFL. (To view top five safeties debate, click here).

Josh Katzowitz’s top fiveD. REvis  Photo: US PressWire
5. Leon Hall / Johnathan Joseph, Bengals
4. Champ Bailey, Broncos
3. Charles Woodson, Packers
2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
1. Darrelle Revis, Jets
I covered the Bengals last season. As a Bengals beat writer, you know that when the guy who never shuts up finally keeps quiet, he’s really worried about what will happen on the next Sunday. Thus, when Chad Ochocinco grows thoughtful, saying nothing but nice things about Revis, you know he greatly respects the man. Of course, that could be because Revis, like a defensive magician, made Ochocinco disappear (he had a combined two catches for 28 yards vs. Revis in back-to-back games last year). That said, Ochocinco also faced Asomugha, Bailey and Woodson last year and had more success on his stat line. Revis is the kind of CB who shuts down his entire half of the field – which is helpful, because he doesn’t usually get help from a safety over the top. This, of course, is invaluable.
Asomugha has only recorded three interceptions the past three years – after eight in 2006 – but that’s because nobody wants to throw to his side of the field. According to the Dallas Morning News, only 28 passes were tossed his way in 2009. That’s less than two a game. Unreal. 
Woodson, at the age of 33, had a career-high nine interceptions – also a league high – last year, and oh yeah, he hits pretty hard as well (four forced fumbles attest to that) while playing four different positions for the Packers.
Bailey has been one of the best corners for the past decade. Although he’s a step slower than he once was, he still jumps routes with the best of them. He’s certainly still feared by offensive coordinators. Yeah, I’m cheating a bit by putting Hall and Joseph into one two-headed monster, but they’re so similar and they’ve been so good together that it’s impossible to separate them. They are the best young CB tandem in the league. Might as well keep them together in my list.
Andy Benoit’s top five
5. Asante Samuel, Eagles

4. Cortland Finnegan, Titans

3. Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders

2. Charles Woodson, Packers

1. Darrelle Revis, Jets

First off, totally agree with everything you said about Revis, Woodson and Asomugha. I have Woodson ahead of Asomugha only because Woodson does a larger variety of things for a Green Bay D that has enjoyed far more success than Oakland’s. But that’s nitpicking. What’s especially impressive about the Asomugha stat (28 pass attempts) is that the Raiders operate almost exclusively in man coverage, which taxes the corners. 
I’m replacing Bailey with Finnegan. I actually thought Andre Goodman was Denver’s best corner last season. (That’s not to say I think Bailey is washed up… I’d rank him No. 6 if I could.) Finnegan is a stopper in all phases. He defends on an island downfield incredibly well, he’s physical in underneath coverage, he’s a playmaker (five interceptions in each of the last two seasons) and he’s formidable in run support.
I agree with the rest of the world that Asante Samuel can’t tackle to save his life, but he’s the best off-coverage corner (i.e. zone defender) in the league. That has to mean something, right?
P.S. I was prepared to solve the Hall/Joseph dilemma for you and pick one guy, but looking back through my film study notes, I too failed to declare one over the other. Hall seems to require less safety help, and in the games I studied, he was targeted less than Joseph. But Joseph is the more physical tackler and one of the NFL’s most athletic deep-ball defenders. 

Josh’s rebuttal
I’m not sure why, but whenever I happen to see Finnegan on TV, he’s usually in an opponent’s face, taunting or boasting or whatever. It always seemed to me that perhaps his bark was worse than his bite, that the 5-foot-9 Finnegan had some sort of Napoleonic complex. But you’re absolutely right. He is a top-notch CB. Regarding Samuel, I think tackling is such an important part of a defensive back’s job that it’s hard for me to overlook how bad he is after an opponent catches the ball. It’s the Deion Sanders “Ole!” method, and for me, it’s a deal-breaker. No doubt, his nine interceptions last year were outstanding. But when your head coach is calling you out, albeit very mildly, during the offseason, that’s not a particularly good sign.
Andy’s final word
You’re right about Samuel. I regret putting him on the list. I can live without the tackling – Deion Sanders is the greatest cornerback of all-time, after all – but Andy Reid’s gripes about Samuel’s freelancing are tough to ignore. Consider Champ Bailey now on my list (No. 5), with Mike Jenkins or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the verge of overtaking him.

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.


Posted on: June 23, 2010 10:01 am

Champ Bailey's Agent Makes Noise About Contract

Champ Bailey is in the final year of his contract and disappointed that the Broncos haven’t approached him about a new deal. All told, he’s making $13 million, so there will be no holdout or even public discontent. But Bailey’s agent, Jack Reale, had this to say to Mike Klis of the Denver Post:

"Are we disappointed the Broncos have not approached us about a contract extension? Obviously, we are. A player of Champ's caliber deserves to have the option of an extended contract. This is a guy who essentially was a six-time Pro Bowler (Bailey was not a Pro Bowler in ’08 when he was plagued by injury) in his six years there. Anyone with any kind of football knowledge knows his skills have not diminished, as evidenced by the fact he didn't allow one touchdown in 80 passes thrown his way last year, played in 98 percent of the snaps and remains one of the best-tackling cornerbacks in the game."

Bailey, at 32, is still in his prime. But there has been mild evidence that that could soon change. He gave up separation on redirecting routes at times last season and lost his aura of invincibility. That said, we’re still talking about a Top 10, maybe even Top 5, cornerback.

It says something about Bailey that he’s been able to play out his seven-year, $63 million contract. Most teams backload big deals like this. Indeed, Bailey’s base salary in '10 is a hefty $9.5 million, and he has a $3 million roster bonus. These are the type of clauses that normally get a veteran player released.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 21, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2010 4:33 pm

Contract Situations In Denver

Mike Klis of the Denver Post points out that, while most people are focusing on Elvis Dumervil’s contract situation, it’s worth noting that Champ Bailey is in the final year of his deal. As it stands now, Dumervil and Bailey are both set to become unrestricted free agents in 2011.

The Broncos will likely try to keep both. They’ll use a franchise tag if need be. A decision on who to franchise is influenced by external factors like what the top paid defensive ends/outside linebackers make versus what the top paid cornerbacks make, how eager Dumervil or Bailey is to stay or leave, and how easy it is to negotiate a long-term deal with their agents (Dumervil is represented by Gary Wichard; Bailey by Jack Reale). Not irrelevant is the fact that Dumervil is 26 and Bailey is 32.

Dumervil’s price point is basically set because DeMarcus Ware signed a six-year, $78 million contract last October. Dumervil isn’t worth Ware money (yet), but since Ware can be considered the best rush linebacker in the NFL, his contract sets the market. Of course, if Dumervil has another season like last year’s 17.5-sack campaign, his price tag could match Ware’s. In other words, he could be cheaper now than next year.

Bailey’s price point could jump if Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis gets the long-term deal he desires. Of course, with Bailey being 32, his value is diminishing by the year. Denver could probably get him at a slightly better price next season than this season.

Only time will tell on all these things (especially given that there’s really no CBA right now). What’s certain is the Broncos are playing with fire by letting the contracts of two superstar defenders both expire in 2011.

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter

Posted on: June 20, 2010 12:10 pm

Dumervil in line for big payday, too

He hasn’t received the notoriety or media coverage of Jets CB Darrelle Revis, but OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil (the NFL sack leader last season), who signed his restricted free agent tender of nearly $3.2 million last week, also wants a long-term contract.

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla has an interesting take here where he decries the fact that Dumervil was forced to sign a deal that was well below his market value while writing the Broncos actually did the right thing.

Kiszla makes a good point here:

This is a tricky deal for the Broncos.

The team must negotiate the fine line between what makes financial sense in roster maintenance and the costs required to maintain the faith of fans whose trust in the team has certainly been shaken.

Is Dumervil worth a multiyear contract in the neighborhood of $65 million, with more than half the money guaranteed, no matter how long his 5-foot-11, 248-pound body holds up against the strain of being an undersized playmaker in a violent game?

The brutally honest answer is: No.

Dumervil is a fearsome pass rusher, but his every-down impact is no match for NFL linebackers such as Patrick Willis or James Harrison.

So, no matter how much I like Dr. Doom, it's hard to mindlessly shout: Show him the money!

Ah, but here's the rub. Unless the Broncos sign Dumervil to a long-term contract before training camp begins, he would be foolish to show up. It then would be fair for everybody from veteran cornerback (Champ) Bailey to season-ticket holders to wonder if this franchise has commitment issues.

Dumervil has played remarkably well for someone who wasn’t drafted until the fourth round because of concerns about his height. He had nice production his first two years – even though he lined up on the right side of the line, meaning he had to face the opposing team’s left tackle – but after lagging a little in 2008 (five sacks in 16 games), a new role in Josh McDaniels’ 3-4 defense, in which he plays much more outside linebacker, has helped him become one of the most feared defenders around.

Is he worth more than $3.2 million? Probably so, especially if his career is extended because he’s not crashing into offensive linemen every single play. Will he get that contract extension? At this point, it’s hard to tell.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com