Per the Miami Dolphins team public relations Twitter account, the Dolphins have signed Brent Grimes to a contract and avoided the use of the franchise tag, which neither side wanted.
Brent Grimes told reporter Josina Anderson that the deal is a 4-year deal, but details of the contract structure haven't been leaked. Most deals that are labeled as "Four-year deals" in the NFL tend to be 2 or 3 year deals in practice because the guaranteed money is usually contained in the signing bonus and base salaries of the first 2 years. Depending on how much guaranteed money is in the deal, therefore, a player signing a four-year deal usually becomes a viable cap casualty (a player who can be cut to gain cap space) no later than the fourth year of his deal.
This move is significant for 2 years. First, it means the Dolphins have a playmaking, number 1 cornerback under contract for the next few years to give the Dolphins some stability at the CB position. Grimes, who was playing under a 1-year, $5 million contract, was rated as the second best cornerback in the NFL in 2013 by Pro Football Focus, behind only some guy named Darrelle Revis who was getting paid $16 million that year.
He missed 2012 hurt, but Brent Grimes has ranked 10th (2010), 3rd (2011) & 2nd (2013) in our CB rankings. Top quality cornerback.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 3, 2014
Second, it leaves the Dolphins the option to use the franchise tag on another player before today's 4 p.m. deadline.
Hat-Tip to Phinsider Mavin12.
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
$8 million per year for 4 years with $16 million guaranteed is an interesting mix. The $8 million per year average is actually slightly below what top cornerbacks are getting in the NFL. Revis is in a class by himself on a $16 million per year deal, but others like Brandon Carr and Johnathan Joseph have averaged $10+ million per year. Younger elite CBs have gotten $20+ million guaranteed, but $16 million guaranteed for Grimes is top-flight money for a cornerback over age 30, in line with the contracts that Antoine Winfield and Champ Bailey received in their early 30's. I'd estimate then that Grimes isn't a viable cap casualty until the fourth and final year of his deal, but we won't know for sure until we get specific year-by-year breakdowns of how his contract is structured.
Hat tip to TheFloridianDebater.