Champ Bailey signed earlier Friday with the New Orleans Saints, ending any remote chance that the San Francisco 49ers would acquire the future Hall-of-Famer, or any well-known cornerback in free agency, as Bailey was biggest name left. This is probably a smart move for the 49ers, however, as they seek to get y0unger across the board with a draft set up quite nicely for them.
Bailey is one of the all-time greats, but at 35, his production has been dipping and injuries have begun to plague the twilight of his career. The Saints were able to get him for a relatively affordable price, $7 million over 2 years, but even that sum would have posed difficulties for a 49ers franchise wanting to increase salaries for a few high-achieving youngsters. Even with the loss of Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, the 49ers are better off being patient and looking ahead to the second weekend in May.
Of course, the 49ers’ whole line of thinking will be questioned should Percy Harvin, Tavon Austin and Larry Fitzgerald run all over the 49ers’ secondary this upcoming season. This is a division with a ton of firepower and a lot of playmakers–something the 49ers definitely need more of on the outside. Even so, it just does not make sense to pay for a declining, aging veteran when a deep and talented class aligns with a boatload of draft picks.
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