ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - The Denver Broncos plan to release veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, 7NEWS has confirmed.
7NEWS Sports Anchor Lionel Bienvenu said the Broncos and Bailey discussed a salary reduction this week. But for now, Champ is being released.
Bienvenu added that with the $10 million in savings the Broncos will free up with Bailey's release, the team is now about $29 million under the salary cap.
Bailey missed a number of games in 2013 with a nagging sprained left foot, but returned to help the team claim the AFC championship with a win over New England, and play in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks.
The perennial Pro Bowl cornerback has been in the NFL for 15 years -- playing for the Washington Redskins from 1999 until 2004 before he was traded to Denver.
With Bailey out, the Broncos have used Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as their No. 1 cornerback, matching him up on elite receivers no matter where they line up.
Bailey told USA Today that he was not offered a pay cut to stay with the Broncos and that he looks forward to free agency for the first time in his NFL career.
"It sucks, but at the same time, I have to move on. I can’t dwell on it. I know they’re not dwelling on it," Bailey told USA Today.
Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan tweeted, "Champ. You taught me a lot! It's been a damn honor and a privilege bruh."
Denver Tight end Gerell Robinson tweeted, "I didn't realize today would be the last day I see Champ at the facility.. My heart hurts.. Class act individual."
"Champ Bailey has been one of the best defensive players and team leaders in Broncos history. This is the cold reality of the business," said Bienvenu.
The Broncos will release Champ in the next few days.
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