New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has been drawing most of the attention as Monday’s deadline for franchise players to get long-term deals approaches.
But there’s one other NFC South player carrying the franchise tag that’s worth keeping an eye on the next few days. That’s Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes.
As D. Orlando Ledbetter writes, Grimes is in a much different spot than Brees. To start with, Grimes already has signed his franchise tag, worth $10.281 million. Brees hasn’t signed anything and there’s one other key difference between the two. Brees is the only player in the league who was hit with the exclusive-rights franchise tag.
The mere fact that Grimes signed his franchise tag in the spring is a pretty strong indication that he’s prepared to play for the tender this season and hope for a long-term deal down the road. There aren’t any strong indications the Falcons and Grimes are talking about quickly working a long-term deal and the Falcons don’t have a lot of salary-cap room to work with. But salary-cap room really shouldn’t be a factor if Grimes and the Falcons want to work a deal now.
If structured properly, Grimes' first-year cap figure in a new deal could be well less than the $10.281 million. That’s why I’m not completely ruling out the possibility of Grimes getting a long-term deal before Monday’s deadline. There might not be any active negotiations, but I think there’s a good chance the Falcons previously let Grimes know what they’d be willing to do in terms of a long-term deal.
If an offer remains on the table, Grimes could decide to take it before Monday afternoon.