In March 2004, the Denver Broncos traded promising young running back Clinton Portis to the Washington Redskins for star cornerback Champ Bailey.

Almost exactly even years later, it’s become obvious that the trade was won by the Broncos. Handily.

Only days after the 10-time Pro Bowler Bailey signed a new long-term contract with Denver, Portis has been released.

And that’s why blue-chip cornerbacks are a thousand times more valuable than top-of-the-line running backs.

Don’t get me wrong: Portis had an exceptional career, but at 30 he’s pretty much done. In three of the last five years, he’s failed to reach 600 yards on the ground. Injuries have factored in strongly, but Portis simply lost a step after the 2005 season and hasn’t been the same since.

Considering what happened to backs like Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes at the same point in their respective careers, there’s a decent chance Portis remains unemployed for good. His NFL career might be over.