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Broncos Release Champ Bailey To Clear Salary Space

As a member of the Denver Broncos in 2002 and 2003, Clinton Portis was a wrecking ball who averaged 5.5 yards on the ground per game in his first two seasons in the league. His success made him a hot commodity, one of which the Denver Broncos were willing to trade away to get Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. And while Portis dropped off the map a few years back, Bailey had become the face of the franchise on defense. That is, until Wednesday that it was announced that the Broncos would be releasing Bailey to clear up nearly $10million in cap space.

The release of Bailey represents a lot for the Broncos. First, it changes them from 5-1 to 7-1 in terms of winning Super Bowl 49. The day after losing Super Bowl 48 to the Seahawks, SportsPicks.com daily handicappers had the Broncos tied with the 49ers for the second best chances to win next year. That number has now dropped off thanks to the departure of Bailey and other moves made by the team. However, Bailey leaving also shows that maybe the Broncos are preparing for what may be to come depending on the health of Peyton Manning. Fans are still waiting for doctors results on Manning, which are supposed to happen later this month. By clearing cap space by releasing Bailey, the Broncos now have the chance to go after other free agents who may have more clout in the league right now.

Bailey, who is now 36, was once the seventh overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. During his career he has amassed 52 interceptions and has the most Pro Bowl selections by any cornerback ever with 12. However, he was hampered by injuries this past season and hardly saw much time on the field. Whether or not he’ll sign with another team is left to be seen, but there may be some franchises out there who need help on the defensive end of the ball.

As for the Broncos, they still have a handful of free agent situations they need to worry about.  One of Manning’s favorite receivers in Eric Decker is looking to get a new contract this offseason, and he’ll be looking for big time money considering the year he is coming off of.

And after already deciding to part ways with Bailey, they’ll also need to decide what to do with Wesley Woodyard. Also up for a contract, Woodyard noticed his role diminish this year with the emergence of Danny Trevathan. Defensive end Shaun Phillips, who played his first year in Denver after nine seasons in San Diego, is also going to be on the market.

One thing that is for certain is that the Broncos are going to keep their fingers crossed and attention directed at the health of Peyton Manning. Despite losing Bailey and the uncertainty of a few other players, Manning has been the core of this team for the last two seasons. Even though the Broncos dropped from 5-1 to 7-1 after losing Bailey, those numbers would change even more drastically if it was announced that Manning wasn’t coming back next season. However, if you think he will and you also believe that the Broncos will make some key additions this offseason, now could be the time to place your bets on them.