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ASHBURN, Va. -- Every single day he walks into the Washington Redskins locker room, every day for nearly three weeks straight, Champ Bailey hears it from his teammates. It might be a different version of the same taunt, but after awhile it all starts to sound the same.

When are you getting paid?

Champ Bailey isn't the only one lauding his efforts through his first four seasons in the NFL.(Getty Images)

"I hear it 10 times a day," Bailey said. "They all think I'm going to break the bank."

Well, he is.

Bailey is currently in negotiations with the team on a new contract, a contract that should make him the highest-paid corner in the league. Whether that happens is still to be decided, but if ability has anything to do with it, Bailey is going to get paid as the best in football since he is the current holder of that title.

Entering his fourth season, with the path to unrestricted free-agency possibly ahead if the Redskins don't re-sign him, Bailey is the prototype cover corner. None other than Tampa Bay's Keyshawn Johnson anointed him the best in the NFL earlier this summer. That's hard to argue, which is why the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder are smart enough to make sure to get Bailey signed to a long-term deal.

"I know it's coming," Bailey said Wednesday after a practice at Redskins Park. "But I just try and stay out of it and let my agent handle it. It is hard not to think about it sometimes, because it is your life."

New England's Ty Law is the top-paid corner with a deal that averages $7.36 million a year. Two other corners, Tennessee's Samari Rolle and Miami's Sam Madison, have deals that average over $7 million a season. The Redskins are said to be offering a little over $6 million a year.

Law is a nice player, a quality corner, but if he's worth that money Bailey is worth more.

"If I'm the best, then that makes sense," Bailey said with a sly smile. And Bailey truly believes he's the best. "Aside from my talent and what I do on the field, the consistency is what makes me the best," Bailey said. "Other guys go out and have good games, but they get beat. I have been so consistent the past two years.

"I match up with the top receivers most of the time and do well against them. They get a catch here and a catch there, but they hardly beat me. That's a sign of a top corner. There are guys who want to say they're the best, but they don't lock up on the No. 1 guy at least eight of the 16 weeks like I do. That will make you the best."

Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles, who signed with the team this spring, said working against Bailey in practice every day has already helped make him better. He said it's tough not to when matched against a player of that caliber.

Coles can flat-out fly, which makes Bailey on him in man coverage a treat to watch.

"I've played against some good ones," Coles said. "Everybody has something about them. What makes them great is you can't put a finger on it. It's the same with Champ.

"There's nothing bad you can say about him. Some guys you say, if he jams you, he has you, but if he doesn't, you have him. It's not that way with him. Champ can cover you the whole field."


Bailey's critics will say he doesn't get enough interceptions to be the best, getting just 16 in four seasons and only three each of the past two seasons. But when you are the best, teams don't challenge you as much, which Bailey has learned the past couple of years.

"If you notice, a lot of picks come when teams are playing zone," Bailey said. "We don't play a lot of zone. So, we're not going to get as many picks."

Bailey is set to make just over $2 million in the final year of his rookie deal. He is seeking a large signing bonus as part of the next deal, with indications he wants between $15 million and $18 million. The Redskins are offering less, and they want the bonus split, which has become the norm around the league.

Bailey might get half of his bonus now, half as an option bonus and some as a roster bonus, helping ease the cash hit up front for the Redskins. That, as well as other structuring, could lead to prolonged talks.

If that's the case, Bailey and his agent say they don't want to negotiate during the season. If the right deal comes along, though, you can bet they will take it -- no matter when it comes; that's negotiation-speak.

The Redskins could also opt to place a franchise tag on him next spring, a move that would almost certainly prevent him from leaving. It would also force the team to pay him a salary equal to the average of the five highest-paid corners. That's a cap nightmare.

So, this deal will get done -- eventually. The only issue is whether the deal will make Bailey the highest-paid corner in football, which would indeed be breaking the bank.

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When am I gonna get paid?????????

Little byatch needs to stop crying - take the millions and count his blessings that he can even make that kind of money playing football - much less for a team with such a proud tradition.

Or else - go somewhere else and get paid, ya homo.

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What a player is worth is more than just an objective analysis of stats. DG got paid more in the last couple of years of his career than his skills may have warranted but he was rewarded for his many intangible contributions to the team - model citizen - critical mentor to the younger players - extreme loyalty to the team - and many years of play at the highest level.

I took freshman economics and (when I wasn't sleeping) I learned about opportunity cost -- i.e. if you spent this $$ on this, what purchase will you have to forgo. Depending on any number of factors, Champ would likely have a different value to different teams, because each team has a different cap situation, different alternatives in terms of what player would be played if Champ wasn't there, and how many other players you could get if you didn't spend that money on Champ. Look at the absurd contract that mediocre FA CB got from Detroit this offseason.

As has been noted often here, Champ is perhaps the best pure cover guy in the game, but less of a big playmaker or intimidating physical force. More and more the FO seems to be getting the notion that there is no sense in overpaying for someone relative to what you need to accomplish. Coles got a lot - but if we didn't perhaps overpay a bit the Jets might have matched. The same with the voidable year in Chad's contract.

The fact is that if Champ doesn't get resigned before or during the season, we'll have the opportunity to assess whether Bauman, Molden, Jimoh, next year's FA or draft class would give us better value. And we can still franchise him next year and get picks/players/or another year to figure it out. If Champ takes that course he takes several risks: he could get seriously hurt this year and get nothing; if franchised he would get a high salary for next year (but not guaranteed) and then he runs the risk of injury for another year that could lose him his big bonus; he also runs the risk of getting a good offer from a team like the cardinals and he can get paid on a team that s*cks. Or maybe owners will decide to stop paying the huge bonuses if there are some high profile injuries this year and the teams change their attitudes.

In many avenue of life money trumps talent. Probably everybody on this board has been told at one time or another that "nobody is irreplaceable." Very rarely does a gambit like fat boy gilbert played work to their long term advantage $$ wise. There are risks in this situation for both sides. There are indications that the FO is being smart and that Bailey' rep is being smart too so IMHO the odds are that Bailey will sign a lucrative, but reasonable deal with the Skins.

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It isn't likely to get done Friday as I had wished. It is more clearer to be a matter settled after the season. Unless there is a hat trick with that bonus, Bailey would just rather play ball, then the season's over, cha-ching! If we don't line his pockets, someone with a truckload of money will. Thank God Dan Snyder's rich! :)

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In the end I suspect Bailey will be brought back and uniformly we'll find a way to be happy about it. But, the team is approaching this correctly. We have all the leverage here. Offering Bailey a contract as big as we have knowing we'll probably have a bit of upward momentum to it is great. But, we don't have to give Bailey $18 million now.

We'd be stupid to. In the offseason if we can't reach a deal and we franchise him and someone else wants to give him that, then we can give it to him. We have those options available to us. Why give him that type of money now when you can't lose the guy unless you want to? Why add the extra $4 million to the bonus structure now when he has 16 games to go to possibly get injured. Even $14.75 million is obviously a huge risk.

But since we control Bailey's ability to move, we don't need to give him his wish list ever. We can allow another team to do so if it wishes and then match. Bailey also needs to understand that a bird in hand is often worth two in the bush. He'd be wise to start the contract cycle now because he's young enough he'll probably come due for another deal at 29 when we'd have to look to restructure him.

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I listened to Snyder on Jim Rome today and he sounded very decisive about the Bailey situation. He basically said, they threw out a good offer, and hopefully Bailey will accept it, if not they will explore other options and one of them will be the franchise tag next season. He said although he doesn't want to resort to going the Franchise tag route, he sees Bailey as a very important part of the Redskins and does not want to see him go.

So either way Snyder understands Bailey's huge role on the defense and doesn't want him to get away. So we'll see. I see him remaning on the team AT LEAST through 2004.

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I'd like for Champ to say but he's just not worth much more than what we offered him. He is not a playmaker which you have to be if you want to be one of the top paid players in the league. I'm to the point where I think we'd probably be better off trading him next offseason.

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I'm confused...

Bailey says that most INT's come in Zone defenses, which I agree with, but he says the Skins don't play much zone so that's why he doesn't get many????

So many people here on extremeskins were crying all of last year about how much zone D we were playing, that Lewis likes the zone but we're a man to man team....

What gives here.. Is champ full of BS? Are all the man to man vs. zone whiners full of BS?

Does anyone know?

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Champ is right that more interceptions come in the zone than in man. He's even right to say we don't play as much zone as other teams because we don't. We are in man more than we are in zone. Teams like the Jets, Bucs, Lions, etc., are primarily zone teams with a little man mixed in.

What you hear about the complaints in D.C. is why we'd EVER run a zone with our corners given just how poorly they play in space like that. I don't think it's that we run a majority of zone or even that we run a ton of zone compared to anyone else. It's that when we ran a zone last year and for the last few, we've been so obviously gutted that it makes you crazy that we run it even once given how badly we play it.

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Biggest issue with the zone is that you MUST get to the QB with four guys. For instance, in a simple cover-2, unless the receiver drops the ball, the pass is not well thrown (usually because of pressure but it could just be the QB and this could be an int) or the DB jumps the route (and because of pressure, the QB goes there causing an almost certain int), the fade route WILL be completed.

How often do we get pressure with just four guys?

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