Ray Lewis has been out of the game for a while. James Harrison just retired. Ed Reed is a free agent. If you need any more proof that it's time for a new generation of all-star defenders, look at 36-year-old Champ Bailey.

Bailey was basically the wide receivers' shadow during his prime. Now, he doesn't even have a team. NFL.com is reporting that the Saints are cutting the future hall of famer.

This is newsworthy, but it isn't a shock. Bailey has been battling injuries (including a foot injury that significantly limited his play time) and age. He's been released by the Broncos in March mostly because of salary cap issues. NFL.com reports that Bailey has been straight up outplayed for the position. 

So this may be the end for Bailey, but it's ultimately on him if he wants to retire. There are teams who'll want him, and even though he's in his late-30s, part of the reason he's so lauded is because of how consistent he's been throughout his career.

[via NFL]