As we begin to move towards the regular season, it becomes a second round of the feeding frenzy for NFL teams. Yes, the teams get the rosters down to the 53 necessary to start the season, but everyone is watching the waiver wire. We know that teams leave training camp with holes, and with all of the cuts that are made, there are many players that are suddenly available to fill them.
The Jets are not without holes. We don’t know how the left guard is going to perform when the season opens up against the Raiders. Bryan Winters has a lot to prove. Until they do it in the regular season, we also don’t know what the wide receiver group, after Nelson, Kerley and Decker, is going to look like. But, by far the biggest threat to the Jets’ season is the back end of the Jets’ defense. Specifically, I am talking about the hole at cornerback.
We know the Jets’ mantra, “sustainable success”. Normally, that involves signing players that are talented, but young. However, today I am going to make the case for signing veteran free agent cornerback, Champ Bailey.
Champ Bailey’s success in this league is well documented. Bailey has been on three teams, the Redskins, the Broncos and the Saints. For his career, he has posted 52 interceptions and 142 passes broken up. A consistent starter and Pro Bowl participant for the majority of his career, Bailey is a true professional at cornerback in every way, shape, and form.
However, Bailey is 36 years old, and his career is very much on the decline, as is his body. He has had injury problems, and over the last three seasons, has only posted four interceptions. He was only out on the field for five games in 2013.
So why is Champ Bailey a good fit for a growing team like the New York Jets? Glad you asked.
Dee Milliner had his trouble for a good part of last season, did he not? Whether you blame it on his injury, his inability to learn to play his position at an NFL level, or a combination of both, Milliner looked lost for a good portion of his rookie campaign.
However, Milliner turned it around during the last few games of the season in 2013. He picked off multiple passes, and looked like a different player in man coverage. This showed the Jets enough potential to allow Antonio Cromartie to walk, on the cheap, to Arizona to play for the Cardinals.
What happened that coincided with Milliner’s ascent? The arrival of Ed Reed. Having a greatly experienced player back there gave Milliner the mentor that he needed to make that next step.
Champ Bailey can be that mentor for Milliner, and the rest of the Jets’ young defensive backs. He may not play very often, but he can play in nickel and dime situations, and Bailey would serve a great role as a mentor for the younger players. Everyone would benefit from his experience.
Don’t sign him for a long time, or for a lot of money. At 36 years old, John Idzik should, however, kick the tires and see if Bailey might be available for a one year, incentive laden deal. It would benefit the Jets in the long run.
What do you think?