The Miami Dolphins have 45 million dollars in cap space, but according to the Miami Herald, they won’t be using it to put the franchise tag on CB Sean Smith.
If projections are correct for the upcoming season, Smith would receive a one-year deal worth $10.7 million in guaranteed money if the Miami Dolphins utilize the franchise tag on their star cornerback. As negotiations continue to stall, the franchise tag is a last-resort option. Still, $10.7 million on a one-year deal for a relatively unproven corner seems like a wasteful way to utilize cap space.
High-priced cover corners are an extremely risky investment. The Philadelphia Eagles landed the most coveted cornerback through free agency in recent memory, only to have Nnamdi Asomugha end up as a high-priced liability in a mediocre secondary as they missed the playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl this year after losing their top cornerback, Lardarius Webb, to injury weeks after signing a six-year, $52 million contract. Even Darelle Revis could be considered a poor investment after a severe knee injury last season.
In the end, no corner, let alone Sean Smith of the Miami Dolphins, is worth a one-year deal at $10.7 million
The franchise tag is essentially a very expensive way to drag on negotiations, while giving leverage back to the team. Should Smith suffer an injury like fellow cornerbacks Webb and Revis, his value in free agency falls precipitously. Neither the Miami Dolphins nor Sean Smith want to see negotiations end with a franchise tag.
They may be far apart now, but the franchise tag is a worst-case scenario for both parties – it squanders Miami Dolphins salary cap space while putting the long-term value of Smith at risk.