My dear friend and co-editor of this family-friendly news magazine, The Bunk, wrote a lovely piece waxing poetic about the career of one Clinton Portis, who announced his retirement yesterday and summarily launched a million articles asking who won the trade between the Broncos and Redskins for his services.
On the other end of that trade, you’ll remember (or maybe you won’t; I have zero idea how much pot you’ve smoked, hippie) that the Broncos got future Hall of Fame Cornerback, party animal and oddly-shaped-head-guy Champ Bailey, who has remained in the Broncos defense and has, for nearly a decade now, effectively cut off an entire side of the field to the passing game of lesser quarterbacks from other teams.
Comparing each team’s haul in the trade and defining who “got the better deal” is folly in his mind; tantamount to asking “Is Amurrka the Greatest Nation on Earth?” and other “silly parlor games.”
The truth is, we do know who won the trade.
First of all, Champ Bailey is going to the Hall of Fame. Portis is not. He also came with an additional draft pick. Advantage: Broncos.
Portis’ numbers are impressive, and it is unnecessary to rehash them here. Champ Bailey’s numbers were also impressive: He’s a member of the 50 interception club, has returned four of those (in the regular season) for touchdowns, and made the most memorable play of the last 10 years of Broncos football (Tebow notwithstanding):
And of course, it’s comparing apples to Cadillacs, discussing running backs vs. cornerbacks, as they’re two entirely different skill sets requiring two entirely different body compositions. I get that, and so does most of the sporting media in this country.
At the end of the day, it comes down to longevity. Not necessarily career longevity, but career longevity with the team to which each was traded.
Portis retired yesterday.
Bailey will play another 4-5 years, all of them likely in Denver. And if he does “lose a step” like so many people have said over the last couple years, he’d be a natural fit at Free Safety and could continue his athletic dominance from the back of the defense.
Yes, both men wanted to be rid of their original situations: Bailey in DeeCee, Portis in Denver. But that doesn’t have any relevance to the discussion, as we’re not talking about the “why’s” of the trade. The trade was made out of necessity for both sides; a solution to two teams’ problems.
But once the trade was made, on longevity alone, the Broncos won.
Now the question becomes, “by how much?” That’s a question we’ll likely answer when the Champ calls it a career.