Cornerback Champ Bailey, one of the premier names left on the free-agent market, visited with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, according to league sources.
The 12-time Pro Bowler plans to take at least one more trip, depending on his talks with the Saints, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Although the Denver Broncos decided to release Bailey earlier this offseason, the 35-year-old made it clear he wants to keep playing. According to Schefter, Bailey is said to be healthy and recovered from the foot injury that plagued him last season.
Bailey is one of the NFL’s all-time greats, with 52 interceptions in a 15-year career spent with the Broncos and Washington Redskins. He has a strong case to wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He appeared in his first Super Bowl with the Broncos this past season.
However, the Broncos decided to let Bailey go before he was set to cost $10 million against their salary cap this season because his skills have started to show signs of decline in recent years. Last year, Bailey played in a career-low five regular-season games because of the injury before returning for the playoffs.
In 2012, Bailey was beat for two rare long touchdown passes in a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Bailey could provide some needed veteran depth in New Orleans, though, after the Saints released their own longtime starter, Jabari Greer, earlier this offseason. The Saints have a standout No. 1 cornerback in veteran Keenan Lewis. Behind him, younger cornerbacks Corey White and Patrick Robinson are leading contenders for the other starting job.
Lewis would certainly be on board with signing Bailey. Lewis was the first one to break the news of Bailey’s visit on Tuesday when he posted a photo of himself with Bailey on Instagram:
The Saints also announced they re-signed veteran linebacker Parys Haralson to a one-year deal. The terms were not disclosed.
Haralson, 30, was a solid addition last year as a part-time starter at outside linebacker, playing heavily in run formations. The Saints acquired him in a late-summer trade with the San Francisco 49ers after they suffered a rash of injuries at the position. And Haralson delivered with 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks before he, too, went down with a torn pectoral muscle during the playoff opener at Philadelphia.
Haralson will likely split time with veteran outside linebacker Victor Butler, more of a pass-rush specialist who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate