The Miami Dolphins announced Monday that they had re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes, beating the looming franchise tag deadline by mere hours and keeping Grimes off the free-agent market. The deal is worth $32 million over four years, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapaport, with $16 million guaranteed.
Had Grimes been hit with the franchise tag, he would have been in line to earn more than $11.8 million for the 2013 season. He may not reach that bar with his new contract, but Grimes does figure to receive a significant bump over the one-year, $5.5 million he signed with Miami last offseason after blowing out his knee early in the 2012 campaign.
The Dolphins' move to land Grimes went down as a brilliant move. The soon-to-be 31-year-old Grimes thrived as the team's top cornerback, intercepting four passes and earning a Pro Bowl nod.
"I wanted to be back but you never know in this business," Grimes told ESPN's Josina Anderson . "When it all worked out, I was happy."
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Retaining Grimes topped the list of priorities for new Miami GM Dennis Hickey, who just landed that job in late January. His attention now may turn to the defensive line, where tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks both could leave if not re-signed by the start of free agency on March 11. Also on Hickey's plate, of course, is the ugly and lingering situation involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. Incognito will be an unrestricted free agent as of next week (and will not be back), but Martin remains under contract as of now.
But Hickey faced a much shorter window regarding Grimes' contract status, so he moved to ink that contract. In doing so, the Dolphins thinned out the potential CB pool a great deal, keeping arguably the top option at the position from reaching free agency. The futures remain in doubt for other intriguing cornerbacks such as Alterraun Verner, Aqib Talib and former Dolphin Vontae Davis, all of whom could be free agents soon.
Although the Dolphins used a second-round draft pick last year on cornerback Jamar Taylor and a third-rounder on Will Davis, they still may need to address the post opposite Grimes again in the coming weeks. Progression from either Taylor or Davis obviously would make the task much easier.
But the No. 1 corner job is taken care of for 2014 and beyond, thanks to Grimes' new contract.