As the Broncos work diligently to make over their franchise, a lot of questions have been asked about the organization’s future.
Fans have heard from John Elway, the team’s new executive vice president of football operations.
They’ve heard from John Fox, the team’s newly-named head coach.
Yet at this time, nobody’s heard a definitive commitment about the Broncos’ intentions of re-signing cornerback Champ Bailey.
Despite recent reports inferring it’s practically guaranteed Bailey will return to Denver, his agent downplayed the notion by underlining negotiations haven’t even restarted.
“There has been no contact from the Broncos since before the season started,” said Bailey’s agent, Jack Reale, when contacted Thursday evening.
Though the Broncos were close to completing a four-year extension during the 2010 regular season that would have kept the nine-time Pro Bowler in Denver through 2014, they abruptly tabled talks with his agent, suggesting the timing just wasn’t right.
This allowed Bailey to play out the seventh and final year of his $63 million deal, with no noticeable rush for additional clarity.
Though it’s noted Bailey’s 2010 statistics (of 45 combined tackles, two interceptions, and one sack) show a decline in comparison to his career averages, there’s no doubt Bailey showed the Broncos faithful he was often the best player on defense.
Even as the team finished the regular season ranked 25th in passing defense, 31st in rushing defense, and dead last in total defense, there was hardly a time the 32-year-old stood out as the problem while nursing a sore right heel.
So now with the regular season over, and with free agency looming, there’s no guarantee the Broncos’ previous offer would be satisfactory at this point given Bailey’s overall performance.
Meanwhile, there are a number of teams that could be interested in Bailey’s services including perhaps the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Atlanta Falcons.
Not to mention, with every day that passes without a sincere attempt to bring Bailey back into the fold, the Broncos allow more opportunity for other teams to sweep him off of his feet.
So at the end of the day could Bailey still come back to the Broncos?
There’s still time. One could certainly envision a call from general manager Bran Xanders coming at any point, or a private meeting in a shaded corner at the upcoming NFL Combine.
But until then, the only thing that’s certain in regards to Bailey, is that his agent says the Broncos haven’t called yet.