Time to talk extension with Champ Bailey?

Just as we saw earlier this week with Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson, Denver CB Champ Bailey — through his agent — is looking for a contract extension. Typical of veteran players heading into the final years of their current contracts. They want to be protected with some new upfront money.

Understandable, but with Bailey — who will make $13 million this season in salary and bonuses — when do you draw the line? The CB is 32 years old, and despite endorsement from his former teammate, WR Brandon Marshall, clubs have issues with paying CBs in their 30’s. They slow down, their technique begins to suffer and they aren’t as productive.

I have no issue with speaking highly of Bailey, as I got to see him work firsthand when we played together in Washington. His body control is unbelievable, as is the way he can turn his hips, run with a WR and make a play on the ball to finish. And, he can tackle — like a football player. The best way to describe it? Natural, like he is teaching a clinic on the field.

But, let’s be honest here — how much longer can he do that? Can we still call him a top-five CB in this league? I think so after what we saw last season, but again, does it continue?

One thing about Champ, he will play for a long time because he does have the ability to move inside and play over the slot — and be effective. That is a tough position to play on defense in the NFL, and I have no doubt we could see him playing as a nickel corner well into his 30’s. Or, as a free safety, as the Denver Post’s Mike Klis suggested on Wednesday. Bailey also has the ability to play between the hashes in the middle of the field.

But, you don’t pay top dollar for that. You also don’t pay No. 1 CB money for that.

And, this is where the Broncos are right now. They have to get all of their draft picks (including Tim Tebow) under contract before camp opens up, and they also have to find a way to lock up DE Elvis Dumervil — who also needs to be paid.

I like when players get rewarded for their production on the field. But, I also know that you don't take chances on defensive backs when you see their skills start to decline. That gets you beat on Sundays. Can Champ continue to show us thos elite skills? If he does, then Denver can start talking about a new deal. But, even the best players start to slow down at some point.

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