After visiting the team earlier in the week, veteran Cornerback Champ Bailey has signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Bailey, who will enter his 16th season as a pro in 2014, was released by the Denver Broncos last month.
Though he was hampered by a nagging foot injury throughout last season, the 35 year old Bailey was still playing at a high level as recently as 2012. His injury undoubtedly contributed to his out-of-form 2013, though he was still able to help his teammates reach the Super Bowl. Newest Saint: Champ Bailey
Bailey will likely spend time at both Corner and Safety for New Orleans. He fits in well with what Rob Ryan likes to do in his aggressive schemes which often feature press-man coverage and multiple Safeties on the field, particularly in the 4-2-5 alignment which worked so well for the Saints last season. Bailey won't be asked to shadow the number one wideout of the opponent, a task which will likely fall to Keenan Lewis, but should help on the opposite side of the field, with the ability to bump down inside or play a deeper role in the secondary as needed.
Having lost Malcolm Jenkins via free agency and releasing both Jabari Greer and Roman Harper, the Saints have certainly been in the market for depth in their secondary, and will likely add at least one viable option through the draft in May. The team is also poised to lose restricted free agent Safety Rafael Bush, who signed an offer sheet with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this week. Bailey's signing, plus the recent signing of former Toronto Argonaut Marcus Ball make it seem increasingly unlikely that the Saints will match Atlanta's offer, a decision which must be made by April 8. With holes to fill in the secondary, Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowler, helps add more than just depth.
A future Hall of Famer, Champ Bailey was keen to carry on his playing career following his release from Denver, and landing with a contender was surely high on his list. The Saints provide him the platform to make another run at a chance to win a Super Bowl ring, and Bailey, owner of 52 career interceptions, certainly gives the team another important piece to assist their own efforts to get back to the biggest of stages.