With an abundance of cap space also comes many questions that must be answered and with free agency looming those questions are becoming much clearer. One of the main uncertainties that surround the Miami Dolphins is whether or not they will use the franchise tag and if so, on who? The name that continues to enter the discussion is cornerback Sean Smith.
Smith who will be entering his fifth NFL season in 2013 signed a four year contract with the Dolphins that will expire in just under one month's time. Entering the past campaign it seemed that re-signing Smith would be a priority given the lack of depth at the position however as the season progressed this was no longer the case.
In the four years he's spent in Miami, it has become evident that Smith does not have the ability to make game changing plays on a consistent basis. His career totals of five interceptions and one recovered fumble are proof of this. While Smith is usually successful in tracking the football, it often falls to the ground harmlessly instead of turning over possession. Another weakness in Smith's game are his struggles in coverage against smaller and quicker wide recievers. This past season, no cornerback surrendered more first downs and touchdowns than Sean Smith.
The only way I can invision Smith returning to Miami is if he takes a hometown discount which is extremely unlikely. Smith's camp is reportedly looking for a contract in the range of Jason McCourty (5 years, $44 million) and Brandon Carr (5 years, $50.1 million). In 2012, Smith recorded two interceptions and 59 tackles compared to McCourty's four interceptions and 92 tackles and Carr's three interceptions and 53 tackles. It's a steep price to pay for a player who struggled against higher quality opponents.
This year the franchise tag for a cornerback pays roughly $10.7 million which would make Smith one of the highest paid players at his position. For a team such as the Dolphins with several needs to address, this would not be a wise way to spend their allotted cap space. While letting Smith walk leaves the team with very little depth in the secondary, Smith's play over the past few seasons has not warranted the salary that comes with the franchise tag.
The Dolphins would be better suited in signing a cheaper alternative to replace Smith on the free agent market. A name that stands out is Jacksonville's Derrick Cox who is a better fit in Miami's coverage scheme and is expected to be cheaper to sign than other available cornerbacks. As opposed to the more physical Smith, Cox is more agile and uses speed to his advantage resulting in fewer pass interference penalties taken and fewer touchdowns allowed. Cox would benefit from the Dolphins stout defensive line, something that did he could not rely on with his current team.
Without Smith in the fold, cornerback becomes a much higher priority for the Dolphins in the draft. Expect names such as Jonathan Banks and Xavier Rhodes to climb up the team's draft boards as potential first round picks.
Sign him if we can at a deserving rate. DO NOT use the franchise tag on Smith. Let's just target secondary help in the draft or even F/A. W. Gay just got cut, now that's food for thought or sign a WR and draft Rhodes at 12.
there is no way they franchise tag him. 10 + million a year no flipping way. he isn't even worth 5 million a year.
Why even consider a franchise tag on this guy. The Franchise tag is intended for a player that the team cannot do without and just can't get a contract signed that is agreeable to both sides. Management could always offer a 1 yr. deal at 6.5 or 7 million and draft the position. At least we wouldn't have an immediate hole to fill and we would have time to bring a young player up to speed.
Loyalty is a word I never hear brought up in conversations. I understand that this is a business, but management needs to look at the whole picture. I am talking about resigning Reggie Bush. This is a guy that has done everything the team has asked of him. I am surprised that with the number of carries he has had (behind the questionable run blocking of the line) he wasn't hurt more. Also, WHY aren't we utilizing his pass catching ability more. We talk about not having a number one receiver on the roster. Reggie's ability as a receiver would garner him a contract for another team as just that (a receiver).
Lets get back to the Dolphins of old. We used to reward players who did it both on the field and off. This player WANTS to be a Dolphin and has EARNED a nice contract offer. We need to get the city behind the team again. Letting him walk without even putting together a nice contract offer would leave us all scratching our heads again. Just like the shipping of a players like Brandon Marshall. That move was understandable, but who negotiated the deal. I negotiated lawsuit settlements for a living and I guarantee that I could have worked out a much sweeter deal than the one that was done. It seems that we might have just given him away if no-one showed interest in the first 5 minutes. We got next to nothing for this top NFL receiver.
How about hiring someone who know the meaning of VALUE and LEVERAGE as they pertain to negotiations. I would be happy to work as a consultant to get these deals done.
@DolfanDaniel is this article worth writing or reading? note: same answer to Sean smith franchise tag question.
@roseygolf If the front office feels that letting Smith walk would leave the roster to thin at cornerback and that the position would be difficult to address, using the franchise tag on Sean would be used as a last resort. However, it is being reported that the team will not use the tag on Smith.
I agree with you about Reggie, I would like to see him back as well. He was the Dolphins most dynamic playmaker this year but the fact that a knee injury affected most of his season along with him nearing the age of 30 must be taken into consideration. It would also be beneficial to Tannehill to have some consistency on offence (re-signing Bush and Hartline), although I wouldn't overpay for a running back after investing a fourth round pick on Lamar Miller. Also just because the Dolphins haven't reached out to Bush yet doesn't mean that a deal can't get worked out before March 12.
@jaykubs Then don't read it, what can I tell you? Even though you and I don't believe Smith is worth it many others do.
@DolfanDaniel haha sorry I know that came off as rude. I'm just so sick of the dude at this point. no offense.
@jaykubs I know what you mean. Smith hasn't handled this process well and his demands are too high. I'd rather spend the money elsewhere.