THURSDAY, 12:51pm: The Broncos officially announced that they have released Bailey, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
WEDNESDAY, 9:01pm: The Broncos will release Champ Bailey, an NFL source tells Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The move does not come as a surprise, as Bailey was set to earn $9MM this season with a cap number of $10MM.
While Denver was not expected to shell out that kind of money for Bailey in 2014, the two sides discussed alternatives along the way, La Canfora tweets. Ultimately, however, the team didn’t offer up a pay cut, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. By completing the move in advance of March 15th, the Broncos will also save themselves the $1MM bonus that he would have been owed.
Bailey will turn 36 this summer after playing just five regular season games in 2013 thanks to a foot injury. While he can walk away from the game as one of the top cornerbacks of his time and a likely ticket to Canton, Bailey indicated after the Super Bowl that he would like to continue playing. And while he previously expressed reluctance towards moving from CB to safety as many veterans do, the longtime corner seemed to ease up on that stance as well.
Before you go crying for Bailey, who turns 36 in June, note that he has made over $101MM during his 15-year NFL career with ~$64M of that coming after his 30th birthday, as Brian McIntyre (via Twitter) points out. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap (Twitter link) estimates that the Broncos should now have ~$29MM in cap space.