After a bloody week in the NFL, and an especially tough Wednesday for veteran corners, the defensive back free agent market has been bolstered with depth. Veteran cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Champ Bailey were cut on Wednesday and are players the Chargers must consider.
Bailey is probably still the better player of the two, but at 35, Champ has had a lot of trouble staying healthy in previous years. As a quiet superstar, you may not realize Bailey will go down as one of the best cornerbacks of all-time. His experience would be invaluable for the Bolts, and if he were able to stay healthy for at least 15 games, the former Georgia Bulldog would be an upgrade over anything the Chargers currently have at this position. The question with Champ is price tag. I have to assume the Broncos did not want such an unceremonious end to Bailey’s tenure in Denver and tried to restructure, but if he is still looking for big-time money, San Diego likely won’t be his destination.
In my opinion, Finnegan is a much more realistic option for the Chargers. Just two years ago, he was the prize of the free agent class and helped mentor Janoris Jenkins into one of the top rising corners in the league. His 5 year/50 million dollar contract was a bit steep for a 30-year-old, but Finnegan having a chip on his shoulder is a scary thought. He has always been a bit undersized, but his speed is undeniable, and he can talk trash with the best of them. The former 7th-round pick has spent his entire career proving people wrong with his pitbull attitude. I would love to see him in the powder blue and gold because he would bring an attitude the Chargers defense has been missing. While the likes of Eric Weddle and Donald Butler are great players, Finnegan’s veteran presence and fiesty playing style would bring a different dimension. With the Chargers freeing some cap space, he seems like the best way for Telesco to spend some of that money.
I will be interested to see if the Chargers make a play, but the addition of Finnegan, as well as drafting two corners in May to learn from him, would improve this secondary drastically in 2014.