Franchise-tag date one week away

NFL teams can begin using the franchise tag on Feb. 17, which is just one week away.

Will the Miami Dolphins designate Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes as their franchise player next week? That’s a distinct possibility.

Grimes was arguably Miami’s best defensive player last season. He tied for the team lead with four interceptions and was responsible for guarding the opponent’s No. 1 receivers. Grimes said after the season this was the best year of his career.

The Dolphins are short on proven cornerbacks and cannot afford to lose Grimes, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. A top-level cornerback could command $7 million per year or more on the open market. The tag would also allow both sides more time to negotiate a long-term extension.

Miami has used the franchise tag in two of the past three seasons. The Dolphins used the tag on defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks in 2011 and 2013, respectively.