Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel initially reported Grimes would be cut by the team. According to Kelly, the Dolphins decided to make the move after trying and failing to restructure Grimes' current deal with the team.
Miami has a little more than $27.8 million available in salary-cap space this offseason—a large chunk of which came after restructuring Ndamukong Suh's contract to spread his 2015 cap hit over the remainder of his deal. That freed up $18 million in cap space, per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.
Cutting Grimes opens up an additional $6.5 million in 2016 and $7 million in 2017, per Over the Cap. While the move provides financial benefits to the Dolphins, many will question whether those benefits will be outweighed by the consequences on the field.
Following the news, Grimes' wife, Miko, responded to her husband's release on Twitter:
The 32-year-old defensive back has made each of the last three Pro Bowls, though Pro Football Focus graded him as the 41st-best cornerback in 2015. Some of the money Miami will save will have to go toward replacing Grimes in the secondary.
He had to apologize to teammate Ryan Tannehill in December after his wife posted tweets critical of the Dolphins quarterback. Tannehill said Miko Grimes' Twitter rant was "becoming a distraction to myself, this organization and this team," per ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio.
Last January, Miko also went on Twitter to criticize the NFL and offered a take on Grimes' future in Miami:
Brent signed a 4yr 32M contract with 16M guaranteed. U better beleve he wont see that other 16M! They can opt out after the guaranteed.— Miko Grimes (@iHeartMiko) January 26, 2015
Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton summed up everything in play for Miami as it weighs Grimes' future:
It's not just Miko that led to Brent Grimes' release. Clear drop in performance, athleticism & salary a factor. So were the leaks from each— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) March 7, 2016
ProFootballTalk speculated about one cornerback on whom the team may focus its attention:
Decision to cut Brent Grimes could mean Dolphins are confident they have a shot at landing Adam Jones.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 7, 2016
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal) reported on Monday that Miami has landed Byron Maxwell in a trade.
Whoever they ultimately acquire, the Dolphins will act fast in order to ensure they find a replacement who at the very least replicates Grimes' production over the last few years.
Grimes, meanwhile, should have some options for 2016. While his skills are diminishing, teams will look at his overall body of work and recent Pro Bowl appearances in the hopes that he is still a productive defender in the NFL.