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Broncos, Champ Bailey Start New Contract Talks

While the Denver Broncos broke off contract extension talks with impending free agent cornerback Champ Bailey back in October, the Denver Post reports that both sides appear to be talking about a new deal now. They will use the two-week period allowed to designate players with the franchise tag to work this out. It is unlikely the team will use its franchise tag on Bailey because a salary of $15 million for the coming season will be too expensive.

March 3 is the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement. If no deal is reached, free agency will not start until a new deal is struck.

If a new contract can be reached, this would likely clear up the team's direction in the draft. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, widely regarded as the top defensive back in the draft, has been considered a strong possibility for the Broncos with the No. 2 pick if Bailey left through free agency. Retaining Bailey doesn't necessarily mean the Broncos will lean away from Peterson come the draft, but the position certainly isn't as high of a priority as it would have been. With three picks in the first two rounds, the team can look later for the soon-to-be 33-year-old's replacement.

Still, contract talks are in their early stages with much left remaining.