Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons have placed the franchise tag on CB Brent Grimes, deciding to pay him at least a one year salary of $10.6 million, the average of the top 5 cornerbacks in the NFL.It should be said that the Falcons still have until July 16th to sign Grimes to another deal, which would then remove the franchise tag and thus take away the $10.6 million dollar salary.
The player shouldn’t be up for any dispute whatsoever. Grimes is the Falcons best cornerback, which isn’t the hardest thing to accomplish. Still, Grimes is an excellent cornerback with superior athletic ability and heart. Much of this debate really has nothing to do with Grimes and all to do with the huge contract paid to Dunta Robinson a few years ago. A look at all angles and scenarios involved, pick which you like………..
Pro Football Focus ranked as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and he surely has made some amazing plays for the Falcons. Most think of him as a shutdown cornerback, regardless of his stature. He almost single-handedly shut down one of the best receivers in the NFL guarding Calvin Johnson and the Falcons had considerable issues when he wasn’t in the lineup. Grimes will be paid as one of the top 5 cornerbacks in the league either until the Dimitroff & Co. can work out a long-term deal or find how they are going to replace him. Grimes will be paid alongside Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, and Jonathan Joseph.
The Falcons general manager may have felt he had no option as the deadline for placing the franchise tag on players was rapidly approaching on March 5th. They reportedly had been in serious negotiations with Grimes and his agent to lock him up long-term, but obviously he felt that negotiations were at a standstill.
Instead of risking losing Grimes outright with no compensation or ability to match another teams offer, Dimitroff played the power hand he had. Despite the heavy cost, placing the tag on Grimes is a win for Dimitroff across the board. At minimum, he gets Grimes for another year while he finds a replacement. At maximum, he locks Grimes up to a long-term deal. Finally, if a team deems Grimes worthy of a 1st round pick, than he would happily get back into the first round in 2012.
The Birds GM made a pretty shrewd move because it allows him several options concerning Grimes and the cornerback position. First, it gives him until July 16th to work out a long-term deal with Grimes if in fact that is his ultimate goal. That would allow him to make moves in free agency and complete the draft all with the assurance of having a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback in tow.
Second, if Dimitroff has other plans at cornerback going forward, it allows him a full year to scout prospects and potential free agents for next year’s draft and also giving a chance to see if Dominique Franks or Darrin Walls truly can be Grimes replacement under Mike Nolan’s scheme.
If Falcons fans, and probably Thomas Dimitroff, could simply swap Brent Grimes for Dunta Robinson and his salary, it would be a no-brainer. The Falcons are on the hook for Robinson for this year at $7.75 million. After this year, the Falcons will no longer owe Robinson anymore guaranteed money. So, perhaps Dimitroff is giving himself another year to see if Robinson can turn the corner in a new scheme and if he can’t, he can replace Robinson with Grimes in 2013.
It’s a given that the vast majority of Americans are very sympathetic to Grimes and his agent refusing to sign a one year offer for $10.6 million dollars. Who can be expected to survive on that? After being franchise tagged, Grimes agent immediately comes out and says that they will not sign the tag. It’s understandable that Grimes and his agent want a long-term deal, but saying that you will refuse to play for the team that allowed your success, is willing to pay you as a top 5 player at your position (one of the higher paid positions in the NFL), and is likely trying to sign you to a multi-year deal comes off as completely detached from reality, bitter, and somewhat childish.
If this were the first instance of Grimes having reported issues, than this wouldn’t be a big deal whatsoever. But this pre-season his wife came out and lambasted many in the Falcons organization and many in the local media for reporting facts. The following is a description of the incident last August from John Manasso of Fox Sports South…..
Around noon, his wife Miko Grimes (@iHeartMiko) took to Twitter to go on the attack. In profane terms, she attacked Ledbetter’s anatomy, dress style and many other aspects of his life. Ledbetter’s Twitter address is @ajcfalcons.
One of her Tweets read, “and @ajcfalcons knows EXACTLY who i am too and u better run fat boy! And dont try speaking to my son anymore! He dont (expletive) with u either!”
She explained her motivation thusly: “Im very passionate about my man yall so please forgive me for lettin him have it via twitter. But nobody (expletive) on my boo & gets away with it”
Then there were the rumors (completely unsubstantiated) that Grimes held himself out of the playoff game against New York because he didn’t want to risk further injury and himself a big payday in free agency. There’s no single issue that is downright awful, but the sum total of all the issues have left a bitter taste towards Grimes for some. Of course, if he comes back and plays as he’s always done, all will be forgiven and forgotten. Much of the hysteria comes with there being nothing to talk about so everything is magnified in the off-season.
He got off to a fantastic start with the selection of Matt Ryan, Curtis Lofton, and Harry Douglas in his first draft and hit a homerun with Michael Turner in free agency. He’s definitely done an excellent job of fielding a competitive and playoff-bound team from the ashes of the Mora-Petrino-Vick Debacles, but has he gotten too much of a pass? Some fans certainly think so.
He’s missed on two of his first round draft picks Sam Baker and Peria Jerry. He’s missed on two of his biggest free agent acquisitions Dunta Robinson and Ray Edwards. He mortgaged the future for a wide receiver when clearly the team was not “one player away.” Franchise tagging Brent Grimes is just another in a list of reactive moves trying to make up for previous errors. Now, obviously a lot of this is just playing devil’s advocate and the majority of fans think Dimitroff is doing a great job, but if Grimes, players, and coaches are subject to criticism, than so is the GM that has developed the team that has made the playoffs 3 out of 4 years, but also face-planted all three times.
If the price tag stands, than the Falcons just cut their $30 million dollars in cap space by a third with one player. They likely still want to re-sign Curtis Lofton and Harry Douglas and plethora of other free agents, such as Thomas DeCoud, James Sanders, Kroy Biermann, and Jason Snelling among many others. They need to infuse talent in the OL, a pass rush, remake their running attack, safety issues, and several other areas to address.
They did, however, just make sure that they will have Brent Grimes at one of the cornerback positions, who is considered by many to be one of the best players at his position.
Your Turn to Take a Side (or several) on Franchise Tagging Brent Grimes