The Miami Dolphins have announced that they have released Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes. The decision came after Grimes declined to restructure his contract, according to the Miami Sun-Sentinel. Grimes is coming off his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl and his fourth trip overall, and is one year removed from an All-Pro nomination.
Grimes, 32, has revitalized his career in a big way in recent seasons, but with a $9.5 million cap hit in 2016, the Dolphins need to free up some space. Grimes was the best cornerback on the Dolphins roster, but they had to create some cap space and Grimes had already earned the guaranteed money in the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014.
He joined the Dolphins in 2013 after spending six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, his first team in the league. His first year saw him grab four interceptions and put up 60 total tackles, enough for the Dolphins to reward him with a big multi-year deal. The Dolphins likely tried to get Grimes to take a pay cut as one of the team's highest-paid players, but he had no real reason to agree to one.
The Dolphins are in talks to acquire cornerback Byron Maxwell from the Philadelphia Eagles via trade, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. A trade cannot be officially executed until the new league year begins on March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, but it sounds like the Dolphins have plans in place to move forward without Grimes.
On the open market, Grimes should attract plenty of attention. He will be 33 next season, but he didn't look especially slowed down last season. He has 26 career interceptions and should make every bit he was set to make with the Dolphins with some other team on the open market.
The Dolphins tied up an awful lot of money when they signed big-ticket free agent Ndamukong Suh last season. Suh signed a six-year, $114 million deal with the Dolphins and has a base salary of $23 million next season. The Dolphins restructured Suh's contract to lessen his cap impact, but Grimes will be hitting the open market regardless.