It took 11 days for a team to finally use the franchise tag when the Philadelphia Eagles surprised no one by slapping it on DeSean Jackson last night. It took no more than about 11 hours for the second tag to be handed out.
And this one is no less surprising, as the Falcons have hit top cornerback Brent Grimes with the tag.
That means the 28-year-old Pro Bowler will be paid over $10 million in 2012, unless he decides to hold out (obvious worst-case scenario) or is able to come to terms with the team on a long-term deal (obvious best-case scenario).
Unfortunately, it looks as though the first scenario could be in play. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an ominous quote from Grimes’ agent, Ben Dogra:
“We have no plans to sign the tag at this time. We hope to be able to continue to discuss [through] all the issues at the appropriate time.”
The problem is that while Grimes is the best player in the Atlanta secondary, he hasn’t been the highest-paid player at said position. Dunta Robinson hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing as a free agent two years ago, but the 29-year-old is making nearly $10 million a year. So while having to pay Grimes the $10.4-million tag price would severely restrict the Falcons elsewhere, this might not make a huge difference because Grimes and Dogra are probably going to demand something in that general range regardless.
The difference is that they can’t be flexible with a franchise tender — it’s all cap money for 2012 and 2012 only.
So Grimey has very little incentive to rush into signing his tender, and the ball’s probably in his court when it comes to long-term contract negotiations.