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Could Brent Grimes deal with Dolphins help set market for Aqib Talib and Patriots?

03.03.14 at 11:36 am ET
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With the Dolphins coming to an agreement on a reported four-year, $32 million deal for cornerback Brent Grimes (with $16 million guaranteed), that should start to set the market for the Patriots and cornerback Aqib Talib.

While they’re different players with different skill sets and different responsibilities in their respective systems, at the end of the 2013 season, both Talib and Grimes were considered among the best in the league at their position. And if Grimes had hit the open market as a free agent, he would have been one of the most sought-after defensive backs in free agency — the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder had 16 passes defensed and four picks for Miami last year, and landed a Pro Bowl berth as a result. (Those numbers are remarkably similar to the 6-foot-2, 202-pound Talib, who reached his first career Pro Bowl after finishing the year with four interceptions and 13 passes defensed in 2013.)

However, it’s not a perfect model: if Talib and his agent argue for a comparable deal, the Patriots will likely counter with Talib’s injury history, one that includes a failure to finish back-to-back AFC title games because of injury. And if New England tries to make a case for Grimes’ deal as a template, Talib and his agent can say that Grimes is three years older (Grimes will be 31 by the start of the 2014 season, while Talib just turned 28), and arguably closer to the end of his career than Talib.

Regardless, it’s a good starting point for both sides. One thing worth remembering going forward is that the franchise tag deadline is set for Monday at 4 p.m. If Talib isn’t hit with the tag — $11.834 million for cornerbacks — or signed to a new deal by March 11, he will hit the open market.

Read More: Aqib Talib, Brent Grimes,
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