Champ Bailey, You Can’t Go Home Again to the Redskins

Boy. News that the Denver Broncos will release Champ Bailey brought back a lot of memories about his time in Washington, as well as thoughts about a potential return.

This is a blog, so lets bottom line this post and answer the question about his return to Washington.

The Redskins shouldn't even think about bringing back a 35-year-old cornerback if the reason to do so is his famous name and nostalgia.

Scouting by name value has plagued the Redskins throughout the Snyder era. It has usually led to the wrong choice.

It's the wrong question anyway. The choice is not made in a vacuum.

The proper question is something like, "Who can best help the team, Champ Bailey or [fill in the blank]?"

If the choice is Bailey or 31-year-old Devin Hester, who is to be released by the Bears, then you take Hester as the player who can help the Redskins now and one or two years from now.

Building a roster is a forward-looking thing. For that, you reverse the cliché of age before beauty. Younger before older is best.

 We don't know yet how the Allen-Gruden front office thinks, but they ought be weighing all the alternatives for boosting the secondary while measuring the cap implications for 2015 or 2016 when the Redskins must re-sign Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and others.     

Decisions today affect what we do then. Those underpaid quality control interns should be working all the scenarios in their salary cap spreadsheets to feed to the bosses.

This involves numbers. Numbers are hard. Fans don't want to factor tomorrow's costs in today's feel good moves. GMs have to. It's the game between the seasons and it argues against Bailey.

Redskins RB Clinton Portis and Broncos CB Champ Bailey

In the Social Media Age, what happened ten years ago is prehistoric. So blog readers might not remember that the Redskins did not so much lose Bailey as that he wanted out.

Bailey did not care for the way Mr. Snyder ran the team (How can I be critical?) and made clear that he would not sign a new contract with Washington. He was never loud or obnoxious about it. In fact, he was as professional as he was resolute.

Joe Gibbs' return to the team did not change his mind. Gibbs made lemonade out of lemons by trading Bailey to Denver for Clinton Portis before Bailey became an unrestricted free agent.

It was the first such slick move for Gibbs. A year later he would swap disgruntled receiver Laveranues Coles to the Jets for Santana Moss. Moss is one of the great receivers in franchise history. Viewed from that perspective, it was a smart move and it gave Moss his career opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver.

The Redskins have yet to duplicate the receiving one-two punch of Coles and Rod Gardner, which explains a lot about Washington's past and future offensive struggles.

The Portis for Bailey trade also had a good individual result for the players, but not so much for the teams or coaches involved.

The simplistic saying in Denver is that Mike Shanahan never won a Super Bowl without Elway, who neither won one without Shanahan … nor with Peyton Manning.

Shanahan figured he needed a shutdown corner to win another Super Bowl. Bailey had four Pro Bowl seasons while with Shanahan, but Shanny reached no more Super Bowls with Bailey than the Redskins did in Champ's Pro Bowl years in Washington.

Portis was a magnificent edge rusher in Shanahan's Broncos offense. He was quite a good power back in Gibbs' downfield offense, especially after he bulked up for it in 2005, his one super year in Washington. But the 'Skins never had a genuine playoff run with Portis and Moss and nary an appearance with Bailey.

If Portis was with the Broncos in '05, he might have been the difference-maker in Denver's conference loss to the Steelers that was as close as Shanahan ever got to another Super Bowl.     

Stars emerge from teams, so build your team and stop gazing at stars.

Bailey is somebody else's star and an aging one at that.

Bloggers and sportswriters write these fluff pieces in the absence of real NFL news. That changes next Tuesday when 2014 free agency opens.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

Quantcast