Just three weeks into a perfect season, Brent Grimes is arguably the Miami Dolphins' MVP. Miami fans have not seen a cornerback of this caliber since Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain, in their primes, more than a decade ago.
After the Dolphins' first three games of 2013-14, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has Grimes as Miami's highest-rated player:
- Brent Grimes (+6.7)
- Ryan Tannehill (+5.5)
- Brian Hartline (+5.4)
- Cameron Wake (+5.2)
- Paul Soliai (+5.2)
- Randy Starks (+4.4)
- Richie Incognito (+3.1)
- Mike Pouncey (+2.9)
- Dion Jordan (+2.6)
- Jared Odrick (+1.4)
While they landed a bargain, can they keep "Optimus" Grimes for a few more seasons?
Among cornerbacks, Grimes ranks 18th in average salary. His teammate, Dimitri Patterson, ranks 19th.
Grimes will climb the ladder in 2014, but how much guaranteed money will Ireland offer a player that will be 31 next season?
The 2013 franchise number for a cornerback was $10.854 million. Franchising Grimes is an option for Miami, but striking a deal would be more beneficial to the Dolphins and their top cornerback.
Miami will be dealing with many of its own free agents in 2014, which include Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, and not having to use their franchise tag on Grimes would give Ireland more leverage.
As far as Grimes is concerned, another one-year deal with the ever-present chance of injury is not desirable.
The most recent free-agent period was not a good one for cornerbacks. Ex-Dolphin Sean Smith signed one of the more lucrative deals, a three-year contract worth $18 million with $11 million guaranteed.
If Grimes continues to defend receivers like he has thus far, a fair deal would span three years and be worth $24 million with $14 million guaranteed. A three-year contract will expire when Grimes is 33.
There is no doubt that Grimes is setting himself up for a big payday. If he continues to shine, that day may arrive before the end of the season.