AFC East: Champ Bailey

The New York Jets are expected to put star cornerback Darrelle Revis on the trade market this offseason. But it will be challenging for New York to get equal value in return for the best cornerback in football. Revis is coming off a season-ending knee injury, which hurts his value.

So what can the Jets get in return by trading Revis? Let's examine recent trades involving quality cornerbacks, with a special assist from ESPN Stats and Info.
  • In 2004, the Denver Broncos traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey of the Washington Redskins. In return, the Redskins got former Pro Bowl tailback Clinton Portis. The trade paid dividends for both teams. Washington got a multi-time 1,000-yard running back, while Denver got one of the league's top corners for many years and a second-round pick. Bailey still plays in Denver to this day.
  • In 2010, the San Diego Chargers traded cornerback Antonio Cromartie to the Jets for a 2011 second-round pick. Like Revis, Cromartie was entering the final year of his contract in San Diego and wasn't expected to return. The Chargers got something for Cromartie with a second-round pick. Cromartie played one solid year in New York and later agreed to a contract extension. Ironically, the Jets are now on the other end with Revis.
  • Finally, in 2011 the Arizona Cardinals traded cornerback Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie in another player-for-player swap. Arizona shipped Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Philadelphia had a backup quarterback with a lot of value and was able to fleece the Cardinals with this trade.

These are three good examples of what the Jets could be looking for if they trade Revis this offseason. The Jets have a lot of needs, and could go the route of acquiring another player and perhaps a quality draft pick. If the Jets don't think they can keep Revis beyond next season, it will be wise to get something for the cornerback.
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Dansby believes he's the best linebacker in the NFL. I wouldn't go that far, but he is very good. Miami needs another healthy and productive year out of Dansby in what should be a solid defense.
  • Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey says former teammate Tim Tebow will be a starting quarterback with the New York Jets at some point.
Morning take: Whether injury or performance, Tebow-mania will put a lot of pressure on quarterback Mark Sanchez. Maybe that's for the best. Sanchez hasn't been challenged by a backup his entire NFL career.
  • Former Buffalo Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Chargers.
Morning take: Parrish had some good moments in Buffalo, but he was too injured to sustain any success. Perhaps a change of scenery will help.
Morning take: Patriots coach Bill Belichick wants to give Ochocinco one more chance in his system. He's had one of the most productive careers for a receiver in recent memory but never seemed to fit in New England.

Revis, McCourty and then Davis at corner

June, 21, 2011
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NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan continues to roll out his positional evaluations.

Next up are cornerbacks.

Only three AFC East players made Kirwan's rundown of the league's 30 best cornerbacks. Kirwan breaks down each position into sets of five (along with a corresponding trend arrow), and you can guess who's in the "A" quintet.

New York Jets star Darrelle Revis is there and still trending upward. Also in the group are Nnamdi Asomugha, Champ Bailey, Asante Samuel and Charles Woodson.

New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty is in the "B" group, ranking him somewhere between sixth and 10th along with Cortland Finnegan, Dunta Robinson, Tramon Williams and Antoine Winfield. McCourty's arrow is pointing up, too.

Vontae Davis of the Miami Dolphins fell into the "D" group and is tending upward in Kirwan's book.

Polamalu secondary to Revis on DB list

June, 7, 2011
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General consensus says Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is the NFL's best defensive player.

He was voted The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year. ESPN.com's Power Rankings panel made him the unanimous choice when voting on the best defenders last month.

But in a segment for the NFL Network, a pair of opinionated and decorated veterans didn't rate Polamalu even the best defensive back in the game.

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber assembled their top-10 list of the greatest defensive backs. With one safety and one corner compiling the order, there was no positional bias.

This is what Sharper and Barber came up with:
  1. Darrelle Revis, Jets cornerback
  2. Troy Polamalu, Steelers safety
  3. Ed Reed, Ravens safety
  4. Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders cornerback
  5. Charles Woodson, Packers cornerback
  6. Champ Bailey, Broncos cornerback
  7. Nick Collins, Packers safety
  8. Adrian Wilson, Rams safety
  9. Devin McCourty, Patriots cornerback
  10. Aqib Talib, Buccaneers cornerback

I believe Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL, but it's a little strange to see him rated higher than Polamalu, who's coming off such a great season.

That's also an impressive showing for McCourty after one NFL season. Sharper and Barber ranked him the fifth-best cornerback ahead of guys like Asante Samuel, Antoine Winfield and Tramon Williams.

McCourty can't tip Power Rankings scales

April, 19, 2011
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Power Rankings should not be a career-achievement award. They are a snapshot of a given moment, the here and now.

Since we're in the offseason -- or purgatory, if you will -- I've been forced to alter the perception of the moment when compiling my positional Power Rankings ballots for ESPN.com's weekly series.

I've taken into account not only last year's production, but also how I perceive players entering the 2011 season.

With that in mind, I can't fathom how New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty didn't get more respect from our panel when rating the NFL's best at his position. He came in eighth on the overall list, one point behind Tramon Williams.

I rated him fifth on my ballot. Nobody else had him higher than NFC West blogger Mike Sando at eighth. Three bloggers ranked McCourty ninth, two had him 10th. NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas didn't list him at all.

Yasinskas reasoned it was because McCourty was a rookie who needs to put together another brilliant season to be considered among the best.

"One great season does not make a great career," Yasinskas said in the story written by AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky. "Let's see him do it again. I'm not saying he's got to do it for 10 or 15 years. ... But you have to be consistently at the top for at least a few years before you get on a top 10 list."

That's where Yasinskas and I have philosophical differences.

It didn't matter that McCourty was a rookie when the Associated Press voted him second-team All-Pro, when the Sporting News named him first-team All-Pro, when the fans, coaches and players voted McCourty a Pro Bowl starter.

McCourty tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. He ranked fourth in team tackles with 83 and led with 17 passes defensed (by the Patriots' count; the NFL had him down for 24). He also recorded a sack and two forced fumbles.

The NFL community clearly considered McCourty elite. That's good enough for me.

Furthermore, he was New England's left cornerback, forced into the critical role of defending the opposition's top receiver when Leigh Bodden was placed on injured reserve right before the season began. McCourty performed under pressure.

For the record, this was my ballot:
  1. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
  2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders
  3. Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
  4. Asante Samuel, Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
  6. Antoine Winfield, Minnesota Vikings
  7. Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
  8. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins
  9. Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons
  10. Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs

Most of the list is self-explanatory. Where I was most out of line with the other voters -- aside from McCourty -- was Bailey. I ranked him lower than any other panelist.

Then again, McCourty took one of my lofty spots they were reluctant to give. I also had Winfield sixth, exactly the same as four other panelists.

So Bailey makes sense at No. 7 when McCourty gets a little more respect.

Around the AFC East: Maroney intends to deliver

October, 8, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets

Patriots' Morris out; Broncos' Cutler returns

October, 20, 2008
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris had a career game in just the first half. Now, he's out with a knee injury and his return is questionable for Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos in Gillette Stadium.

Morris ran for a personal-best 138 yards and a touchdown before halftime. That ties Morris for the 10th-highest first-half total since 2001, according to ESPN researcher Benjamin Lerner. The last rusher with at least 138 first-half yards was Denver's Selvin Young, who ran for 143 last December.

Before the game, the Patriots ended running back Laurence Maroney's season by placing him on injured reserve and deactivated LaMont Jordan, who's battling a calf problem.

For the Broncos, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker Boss Bailey will not return to the field, but quarterback Jay Cutler resumed control of the offense on the first series of the second half.

Champ Bailey is out with a groin injury, while Boss Bailey is out with a knee injury.

Broncos' Bailey sidelined with groin injury

October, 20, 2008
10/20/08
9:58
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Denver Broncos are dropping.

In a development New England Patriots receiver Randy Moss must love, lockdown cornerback Champ Bailey has a strained groin, and his return is questionable. He appeared to be in agony, lying on his back on a trainers table on the Broncos sideline at the two-minute warning in the second quarter.

And before I could hit the button to publish this entry, Matt Cassel connected with Moss for a 13-yard touchdown over Dre Bly and a 20-0 Patriots lead with 44 seconds left in the first half.

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