Commentary

Tip Sheet notes: Bailey's stance

Broncos stalwart wants to be paid top dollar until he makes inevitable switch to safety

Originally Published: June 25, 2010
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com
Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey is willing to take less money when he switches to the interior secondary position in a few years, which the 11-year veteran conceded he will do later in his career.

But he likely won't make the conversion for another three or four seasons, and he expects to be paid premium cornerback money for that stretch.

Bailey's pursuit of a contract extension, first reported by the Denver News earlier this week, actually began in February during the NFL combine, ESPN.com confirmed, when agent Jack Reale approached general manager Brian Xanders about a potential add-on of four years. Bailey, who turned 32 on Tuesday, is entering the final season of the seven-year, $63 million contract he signed in Denver when the Broncos acquired him from Washington in 2004, and he is scheduled to make $13 million in 2010, including bonuses and base salary.

He is open to taking less money later on in a deal, when he likely will be playing safety, and isn't as concerned about the annual average of the contract as he is about the value over the next three or four seasons. But four months after the initial meeting, Bailey's side still hasn't been presented with a proposal.

Bailey and Reale are both class acts, and it's uncharacteristic for the agent to speak publicly about the contract stalemate. But with Broncos management facing some pressing priorities -- such as dealing with dual first-rounders Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow, and a possible long-term extension for linebacker Elvis Dumervil -- they wanted to make sure Bailey is on the team's radar screen.

Still one of the game's top corners, Bailey has been to the Pro Bowl nine times in 11 seasons, and was an alternate the other two years. Entering his 12th season, he will play for his ninth different coordinator (he had two stints with Mike Nolan, in Washington in 1999, and in Denver last year), and is on his eighth different secondary coach.

Bailey never had the same coordinator for successive seasons during his five-year Redskins tenure. He has had the same coordinator for more than two consecutive seasons only once in his entire career. Ditto his secondary coach. "That's a lot of adjusting," Reale told ESPN.com earlier this week.