One of the Miami Dolphins‘ major moves of the free agency period was signing veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan to a two-year deal worth $11 million.
Cornerback became an issue of need quickly after free agency started, even with the Dolphins re-signing their top cornerback, Brent Grimes. Dimitri Patterson was released by the franchise due to his contract, and the Dolphins’ starting cornerback opposite of Grimes from 2013, Nolan Carroll, departed through free agency.
Finnegan is a known name due to his tenure with the Tennessee Titans from 2006-2011. Although he has played with the St. Louis Rams over the past two years, it was with the Titans where the 30-year-old had his best seasons. Though he was a late-round draft pick with the team in 2006, Finnegan became an immediate contributor for the Titans during his rookie season.
In 2008, Finnegan had his finest season when he was named an NFL All-Pro and named a starter to the Pro Bowl team. As part of a defense that ranked second in scoring and ninth in pass defense, Finnegan picked off five passes and recorded 70 tackles. He helped the Titans to an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2008.
However, that was many years ago. If Finnegan was signed by the Dolphins in 2010, this may have been seen as a good move. It’s 2014 now, and it appears Finnegan’s best days are way behind him,
According to Pro Football Focus, Finnegan allowed a 136.0 passer rating in 2013. According to Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar, Finnegan was allowing a 158.0 passer rating outside and in the slot at one point last season.
It doesn’t take a football metrics genius to decipher those numbers and what it means. Those are absolutely horrible numbers. To make matters worse, Finnegan’s deal isn’t just for two years and $11 million; $5.5 million is guaranteed toward Finnegan. Why would the Dolphins guarantee $5.5 million to an aging cornerback who hasn’t been relevant in years and was one of the worst cover corners in all of the NFL last year?
Early on in his career, Finnegan was known as an intimidating, ferocious hitter who made plays in the passing game. Now, he’s just a guy who plays the role of defensive back.
In seven games played last year, Finnegan had one interception, zero sacks and one pass deflection.
So why did the Dolphins hand $5.5 million guaranteed to a player who will likely have zero positive impact to the defense?
That’s a question everybody wants answered.