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Broncos sign Bailey for $40m

Associated Press / February 23, 2011

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The Broncos signed Champ Bailey to a four-year deal, keeping the perennial Pro Bowl cornerback off the market.

John Elway, the Broncos’ chief of football operations, announced the move in a series of tweets yesterday.

“Champ is truly one of the NFL’s elite players, a 10-time Pro Bowler who is playing at the absolute highest level,’’ Elway wrote. “The commitment and loyalty that Champ has shown to the Broncos, the city of Denver and this region is exemplary. We’re fortunate to have Champ with the Broncos for a long time. This is a GREAT day for our entire organization and our fans.’’

Bailey, who turns 33 in June, just played in his 10th Pro Bowl, a record for cornerbacks.

His new deal is believed to be worth between $40 million and $44 million, less than the going rate of about $15 million per year for elite cornerbacks.

Talks continue Federally mediated negotiations between the NFL and the players’ union have stretched past 35 hours over five days — and they aren’t done.

Yesterday’s session ended after eight hours. The union, meanwhile, called off a planned meeting with player agents that was supposed to happen tomorrow in Indianapolis; labor talks are expected to continue that day in Washington.

After months of infrequent and sometimes contentious bargaining, the league and union have been communicating face-to-face since Friday. They agreed to try mediation in a bid to find common ground before the current labor deal expires at the end of the day March 3. The union has said it believes team owners want to lock out the players as soon as the next day, which could threaten the 2011 season.

Saints cut Shockey The Saints released tight end Jeremy Shockey. In his three seasons in New Orleans, the former Giant caught 139 passes for 1,460 yards with 6 touchdowns in 38 regular-season games . . . Five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber will return for a 15th season with the Buccaneers. The team said Barber signed a one-year contract. Barber, 35, is the club’s career interceptions leader with 40 and has made 183 consecutive starts, the second-longest streak among active players behind Peyton Manning . . . The Panthers placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on two-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil, who will be offered a one-year, guaranteed deal worth more than $10 million. If the current franchise tag rules remain under the new labor deal, another team could sign Kalil only by giving Carolina two first-round draft picks . . . The Browns placed their franchise tag on the longtime dependable kicker Phil Dawson, the only player remaining from Cleveland’s 1999 expansion squad. Dawson, who was expected to become a free agent, will make $3.25 million next season, and it’s possible he could still sign a long-term contract with the Browns . . . The Seahawks re-signed defensive back and special teams captain Roy Lewis and wide receiver Isaiah Stanback, a one-time Patriot, for 2011 . . . Former Chiefs running back Ed Podolak is in stable condition in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after the 63-year-old was hit by a car while crossing a street. His daughter said he is undergoing “minor’’ surgeries and is in good spirits . . . The Jets announced a 2.3 percent increase on Personal Seat License ticket prices, with general PSL seats going up $5 per ticket and the 10,000 club PSL seats increase based on location.

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