The Broncos made headlines late Wednesday night when they announced the release of Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey has been the driving force behind a hard-hitting Broncos secondary for a decade. He came over to Denver in a 2004 blockbuster trade that sent Clinton Portis to the Redskins in exchange for Bailey and a second round draft pick that turned out to be Tatum Bell. Bailey has 52 career interceptions and has gone to the Pro bowl 12 times. The move will free up $10 million dollars in cap space, giving Denver room to lock up other key defensive personnel.Despite his release from Denver, the fans and the organization have nothing but respect and love for the long time Bronco. The team plans to bring him back after his retirement to put him in their own ring of fame.
As for Bailey, he has no intention of retiring, despite the injuries and less than perfect play in the last few years. He has played more in the nickel recently, and has no issue with moving to safety, like many aging corners do. There is no doubt that someone will take a chance on a legend like Champ Bailey, but who still remains to be seen.
The Bears came to a shocking decision today when they told Pro Bowl kick Returner Devin Hester that they would not be resigning him. Unlike the Bailey situation that seemed inevitable, Hester’s release came as a surprise to fans and players alike. Both the Bears and Hester himself handled the situation with grace. However, Bears’ fans might not be as gracious. Many are still recovering from losing long time defensive icon Brian Urlacher last season. The loss of Hester may put a few over the edge.
Hester is the NFL leader in punt return touchdowns at 13, and over all kick return touchdowns at 18. He actually has 19 total return type touchdowns, which ties Neon Deion for the most all time. He has only been in the league since 2006, and should still have plenty of gas left in the tank. Hester has already expressed interest in a reunion with the coach that drafted him, Lovie Smith, in Tampa Bay. There would certainly be a place for a three-time Pro Bowl returner on a team that is notorious for a lack of kick return ability.
Green Bay Packers’ fans are feeling both joy and sadness today. John Kuhn, fullback by trade and a goal line specialist, has been a fan favorite at Lambeau since he arrived there in 2007. The Packers have decided to not offer him a contract and allow him to test the free agent market. Both sides have said that Kuhn may still come back to Green Bay if the price is right, but for now he will be cutting ties with the team.
BJ Raji and the Packers are very close to a one-year deal that will be beneficial to both sides. The Packers want to keep the big defensive lineman in place for another year and Raji wants one more year of strong production before he hits the open market next season.
D’Qwell Jackson, the former Cleveland Browns’ linebacker, has signed a lucrative four year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis colts. Several teams were interested in the 30 year old linebacker, but ultimately Indianapolis was the best fit for him. The Colts hope that adding Jackson will solidify a defense that was ranked in the middle of the pack in a majority of categories in 2013.
Commentary By Chris Chisam