Broncos release Champ Bailey, clear Peyton Manning for 2014 season

Kevin C. Cox

The Denver Broncos had a busy week, releasing Champ Bailey and clearing Peyton Manning for 2014. We break down what it means for the 49ers 2014 opponent.

The San Francisco 49ers have plenty to deal with in preparation for free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft, but one of their opponents had a pair of notable news pieces worth a mention. Since Wes put together his review/preview of the Denver Broncos, the NFL's runner-up squad has cleared Peyton Manning to play in 2014, and released long-time cornerback Champ Bailey.

The Broncos cleared Manning earlier this week after his neck checked out for another year. Manning's contract requires an annual neck examination. Given the numerous surgeries he underwent during his time in Indianapolis, it was the prudent course of action. He says he is feeling fine, but the Broncos had to cover themselves.

We don't know when the 49ers will play the Broncos in 2014, but at this point, they'll be looking at a team with plenty of offensive threats. The Broncos could be losing Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno, but they will likely have no problems re-tooling. The Broncos are expected to let Moreno walk in free agency, and then let Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson battle it out for the starting job.

On the defensive side of the ball, the team elected to release Champ Bailey, clearing $10.75 million in cap space. The team does not have to deal with dead money, so the release made a lot of sense. Bailey has said he does not want to retire, and it sounds like he would consider a switch to safety in the right situation.

It will be interesting to see where Champ ends up, particularly if he makes the move to safety. He could follow in the foot steps of Charles Woodson, who moved from cornerback to free safety but still got a solid amount of work as a nickel back. I could see Champ getting moved all around.

I've been a fan of his since his days in Washington. I don't expect the 49ers to sign him, but I wouldn't be entirely opposed to checking out the price tag. Depending on how the 49ers handle Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner's respective situations, a veteran presence might be a good thing. Eric Reid plays free safety, but Vic Fangio talks about the idea of having interchangeable safeties. I don't know that Champ is the best option for that kind of role, but I do find myself at least a little bit curious.

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