Former Atlanta Falconscornerback Brent Grimes has signed with the Miami Dolphins on a one-year, $5.5 million per Jason La Canfora. This removes the last viable, high-quality cornerback from the market leaving the Buccaneers with few options other than Darrelle Revis if they want to address their depleted cornerback corps with a quality veteran presence.
Why didn't the Buccaneers sign Grimes, then? Because the diminutive corner is coming off a torn Achilles tendon a year after suffering an ACL injury. Those are serious injuries for any player, but especially so for a small corner who relies as much on his explosiveness as Grimes does, and even more so when Grimes will turn 30 this season. The one-year deal is a rich one, and it's near the top of the cornerback market, with players like Sean Smith and Aqib Talib getting deals with a similar amount of money per year.
Does this hurt the Bucs' leverage in the Darrelle Revis negotiations? Not really. The Bucs can always so no if they think the price is too high, and the fact that they haven't gone after any of the cornerbacks in free agency proves that.they're willing to do just that. If they can't trade for Revis, they'll likely go into the season with Eric Wright (at a reduced price) and a first-round draft pick starting, with whoever wins the training camp competition at slot cornerback. They could add some more depth in free agency with a few older veterans still on the market. That's not a top-notch group, but it would be good enough to give the Bucs a chance to win, at least.
More importantly, though, the Jets have no choice but to deal with the Buccaneers. If Tampa Bay walks, no team is going to match the reported offering of a first- and second-round pick in 2014, and a massive contract for Darrelle Revis. Don't worry about leverage. That's not the issue. The issue is whether the Bucs and Jets can find a price they're both willing to pay, regardless of leverage.
Check out the Phinsider for all your Dolphins news