Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and the Miami Dolphins agreed to a new four-year contract Monday, as the veteran avoided a franchise tag designation and will be with the team for the foreseeable future.
The Dolphins' official Twitter account announced the news:
Official | The Dolphins have re-signed CB Brent Grimes.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 3, 2014
Josina Anderson of ESPN relayed what Grimes had to say as he outlined the specific length of the contract:
Grimes to me on new deal: "It's a 4-year deal. I wanted to be back but u never know in this business and when it all worked out I was happy"— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 3, 2014
ESPN's Adam Schefter later followed with financial details:
Dolphins gave Pro-Bowl CB Brent Grimes a four-year, $32 million deal that includes $16 million guaranteed, per ESPN source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2014
NFL teams have until 4 p.m. Monday to use the franchise tag, which does not have to be used but can only be used on one player. ESPN.com's James Walker noted in his analysis before the parties agreed on the contract that Grimes would have made approximately $11.5 million in 2014 if the Dolphins gave him the franchise tag.
That's a heck of a payday, but it would have only guaranteed Grimes' presence in Miami for one season. The front office seemed to believe in what he did this past year enough to invest multiple years in him, though, and Walker called Grimes the Dolphins' "most consistent defensive player."
Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus noted how Grimes stacked up in recent years with elite corners such as Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Disputing that notion is difficult, considering Grimes came in last season as a free agent after missing all but one game of 2012 with the Atlanta Falcons due to a torn Achilles suffered in the season opener. Grimes turns 31 in July, so that made a long-term investment in him an even riskier proposition.
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But Miami rewarded Grimes for his bounce-back 2013 campaign, when earned his second Pro Bowl nod, made 60 combined tackles and intercepted four passes in playing all 16 games.
The Dolphins secondary would have sorely missed Grimes' veteran presence if he left for another team as a free agent. The fact that the team gave him such a generous extension even though he could have been franchise-tagged while long-term negotiations continued shows Miami's enthusiasm for keeping him around.
This contract also speaks to the value of cornerbacks in the pass-heavy modern NFL. It's a familiar narrative, but teams will continue to place a premium on players like Grimes—even though there is a risk that he won't be as effective as he was last season throughout his entire four-year contract. The Dolphins drafted corners Jamar Taylor and Will Davis in the second and third rounds respectively in 2013, so Grimes will aid their development too.