Champ Bailey, 35, might not be the lockdown corner he once was, but he'll be trying to revive his career with Rob Ryan and the Saints' defense with a starting opportunity at corner open. The Denver Broncos cut Bailey after the Super Bowl in a salary-cap purge.
"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 in a statement released by the team. "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 defense. Having spent time with him recently and in our discussions with him, I know that he's thrilled to be joining the New Orleans Saints and starting a new chapter in his professional life."
Bailey's contract is for two years. Financial details have not been made public yet.
The Saints have Keenan Lewis as their top corner, and some questions marks about the remainder of the position. Bailey could be in the mix for a starting spot, competiting with younger players such as Corey White and Patrick Robinson.
Another possible role for Bailey could be to moonlight at safety, something that could become more of a likelihood depending on whether the Saints match the offer sheet for Rafael Bush signed by the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints signed Jairus Byrd to start alongside Kenny Vaccaro, but the depth behind them would be thin and Ryan likes flexibility in his defensive backs.
Bailey is said to be healthier now than he was last season when a foot problem bothered him. Although Bailey played well in the AFC championship game, he struggled in the Super Bowl — his final game with the Broncos.
He has 52 interceptions in 15 seasons and adds another element of talent and leadership to a Saints defense that is seeking to take another step next season.
- - - - - - -