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A look at Sean Smith's cut at free agency

I lke Sean Smith. He's intelligent. He's well-spoken when he wants to be. He seems to get it when he wants to and that was apparent when he lost weight and worked his backside off in training camp prior to the 2012 season -- understanding his contract year loomed. And he's problematic for the NFL's big-bodied wide receivers that like to win by simply being bigger than the cornerbacks they face.

So I like Sean Smith on the Dolphins.

But he is not elite.

He is not franchise player material as one local publication reported in January.

He's, well, something between terrible and good. And that makes him inconsistent.

Smith started this season a house on fire. He locked down Larry Fitzgerald. He did great work against A.J. Green. And then something changed.

Suddenly he was giving up first downs like it was part of his job description. And yes, that was him in the picture and beaten on a handful of TDs caught by opposing wide receivers. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Smith yielded more combined first downs and touchdowns than any other NFL cornerback. That number is a whopping 46.

Something didn't seem to fit. Seems he's not comfortable against smaller, quicker receivers so he plays off. And at 6-3 and 218 pounds, he doesn't have the quickness and explosion to close on receivers on out patterns and comebacks for first downs.

That's not all.

The elephant in the room is the guy should be an interception machine. But isn't.

He plays well enough often enough that balls come to him. Unfortunately, he drops most of them. He dropped one against Indianapolis last year that could've been the difference between a win and loss. Yes, he had two picks on the season, but his drops have far outnumbered his catches over his Dolphins career.

And he was a wide receiver in college at one point!

I didn't know what to make of Smith after the season so I asked two former Dolphins receivers about him. I asked them to compare Smith to former Miami cornerback Vontae Davis. Both players said the same thing.

"I'd much rather go against Sean than Vontae," one said. "Vontae is a pain in the [butt]. He gets his hands on you, he holds, he grabs, he gets away with stuff that nobody sees. Sean is just easier. He's fast as hell. But he guesses a lot and a lot of time he guesses wrong."

And so this is the resume Sean Smith will take to free agency in March.

I believe he's going to free agency because his agent David Canter is confident Smith will be a hot commodity in free agency. I don't doubt that's true. First, Canter has made his reputation by knowing the market. Second, Smith looks like a beast if you put on the Arizona tape.

But I was there for all 16 games this year. And all the games in 2011. And the ones in 2010 once Smith recovered from being benched in favor of, wait for, Jason Allen.

And I don't think it would be wise for the Dolphins to spend a lot of money on Smith. I say that that knowing that Canter will be asking for a lot of money for Smith.

As I have reported, that camp believes the market for Smith is similar to the Brandon Carr contract with Dallas or the Jason McCourty contract with Tennessee. Carr got $50 million over five years and McCourty got $43 million over five years from Tennessee.

So Smith is looking for anywhere between $8-$10 million.

The Dolphins don't see that. And much as I like Smith and respect Canter, I don't see it either. The performance simply does not rise to that level. And frankly, I'm not sure it rises to half that level, either.

Then there's the other question that must linger in the mind of the Dolphins brass: What is going to happen once Sean Smith gets paid? He worked hard to get ready for the contract year. And then he faded anyway.

Is he going to work harder once he gets guaranteed money?

I don't know that he isn't. I also am not sure he will.

The cornerback market has potential bargains. Yes, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie will want a big payday that I don't think he's worth. But guys such as Cary Williams and Brent Grimes and Michael Adams will be out there. They all come with questions marks. That makes them no better than Smith.

But they'll probably be cheaper than Smith, at least initially.

Then there's always the draft. A couple of years ago the Dolphins fished a little-known Utah cornerback out of the draft's second round and he started immediately. He wasn't great but he wasn't bad. And he was cheap. That made him a good value.

His name is Sean Smith.

But for $8-$10 million? No thanks.



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adios smith, no way hes worth that. rebuild the secondary

That's a very tough call, Armando, and only for Ireland to decide on. First, where is his replacement? Second, the backup to his replacement? Third, if there is a better than him replacement how much is it going to cost? No es facil.

Smith is going nowhere. Just like every season, we have too many other holes to fill.

Many of you shop with big eyes. You think every pick or FA you like will be golden. Most will rust.

I don't like Clemons either. He never makes an exposive encounter, takes too many wrong angles, misses tackles. But, just as with SS, what's our alternatives? I believe we are going to have to swalow their loads, at least this year. Priority now is on help for RT.

Jason McCourty, not Devin.

Oscar sorry you don't have a clue. Firstly Chris Clemons doesn't miss tackles and take wrong angles.
Secondly Dolphins are NOT DUMB ENOUGH OR MORONIC enough to over pay an average Corner that is how you fail.

Not a tough call at all.
Big-talking, twitter-using, ball-dropping, big-play missing DB. JAG.


If they pay Smith over 4 million a season they're nuts. I would be absolutely stunned if ANY gm in this league pays him 8 to 10. The bottom line is any GM that would pay money like that for Sean Smith is probably at the middle or near the end of a very short career.

HoHO!, you calling me and many other People blind , man? At best CC is a mediocre safety with NO upside.

I was hoping the V. Davis/S. Smith cornerback combo would be like the long-term one/two punch Miami got when they went Richmond Webb and Keith Sims in rounds 1 and 2 in 1990. Problem solved for the secondary for years to come, kind of like Miami's O-Line was (for the most part)a non-issue during the 1990's thanks to Webb and Sims. Back to the drawing board.

Listen, we are not interested in $, never have been. Only in telling the Truth.

He has more negative plays than positive...time to move on.

Really it isnt Sean Smith's fault. Its just all of these head scratchers draft picks keep coming back to bites us in the ass.

Nearly every pick made the past 4-5yrs that made dolfans go "WHO?" on draft day have come back to bite us in the ass.

Chad Henne
Pat White
Phillip Merling
Vonte Davis(draft rap was immaturity issues)

The list goes on and on. Nearly all of these players are no longer dolphins. Many no longer in the league period.

..We can debate the value of Smith all day. Of course he isn't worth hat he is asking, or what he think he wants. That isn't the issue. Cornebacks get paid. Simple as that. It comes with the territory. Especially big cornerbacks that show the ability to cover. These guys are even more overvalued. It is sort of like a left handed starting pitcher. There just aren't that many of them. So teams go nuts and the position is overpaid. It doesn't matter what we think Smith is worth. The market is going to dictate this. As poor as has played. There is going to be a market for him. Don't be shocked at what his contract will be. Here, or somewhere else.

I never checked film before on any Player, YG, went mainly by hearsay from the Media. And sure, when they said Jarred Odrick, I went WHO?, also. Not my case anymore. We have to be very careful now because of past doings. We trusted too much.

2012 may go down as the best draft associated with Ireland period. With Egnew possibly the only significant miss. Still, time will tell on this.

Even going back to the 2011 draft, Pouncey maybe the only one left just two short years later.

D Thomas and Charles Clay seem to be "fringe players" and either could be out before the new regular season begins. Jimmy Smith had an awful 2nd season after a 1st yr showing much promise.

If Jake Long walks, there will be 0 player left from the 2008 draft. It will be like the 2008 draft never happened for the Dolphins. Smith, Hartline, and Jerry are all that currently remains of the 2010 draft.

Absolute terrible player scouting.

Again, I disagree with Mando. Those other CB's are not an upgrade first of all. Secondly, Smith is legit in asking for Carr or McCourty money. He will get it too. Sign him back or tag him.

No doubt, YG, Pouncey, RT, J-Mart, Miller are solid Players if not Future Stars. But at the rate we are going acquiring good Players, they will turn old before we complete the Team. We need more Lamar-like picks, need to be more daring, take some chances with 3rd, 4th Rd picks

You think you are ever going to build a team paying everyone bargain basement prices?

Overpaying a certain amount of players is a necessary evil.

Sure, Jed. If you can't find an = or better replacement for them, you have to overpay them. Common stuff.

Well many here talk like they are unware of it. They think have decided who is worth what, but the free market determines that and you have to know when to bite the bullet.

Ireland and his scouts have to do much better work with the 3rd and 4th Rd Picks.

totally agree Mando

..Jed. I agree with you. A lot of bloggers here all kind of marh to the same mantra...I want him, but only if the price is right. It just doesn't work that way. You cannot built a contending team(in the NFL) by lowballing your way around the block. Now the Phins haven't exactly been cheap. It is just up until this offseason the high end contract guys werent playmakers.

Dansby is a solid MLB, but I wouldn't classify him as a playmaker. The other big contracts were set aside for lineman on both sides of the ball, and a nickel corner that was injured most of the year. Free agency is a crapshoot too. Not so much as the draft. But a crapshoot none the less. No guarantees any of the higher profile guys can make a difference like we hope whne they are signed. Still, the better teams all spend much more of their available cap space on playmakers..This team..Not so much.

OK, Jed, but doesn't mean we are going to sit on our asss. We will actively pursue a better Player than them that can be paid fairly, better value. And, guaranteed, they will go quickly out of here.

So you're suggesting that if the market says Sean Smith is worth 10 million you would pay him? Eventhough he gave up the most first downs and TDs in the league?

"And yes, that was him in the picture a handful of TDs caught by opposing wide receivers." More like: And yes, that was him in a handful of pictures of TDs caught by opposing receivers. Anyway he's a known commodity, so we should keep him at the right price and pray he'll become more consistent in his play. The thing is what's the right price?

Kris, I wrote a post on my views of the Tannehill debate but this blog won't let me post it. Didn't like something I wrote I guess.

Don't really feel inclined to re write it............

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | February 08, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Mark, The Herald has installed some type of limit-er for the lengths of the post.

They already had one, it allowed for very long posts and informed you of when it was over the limit.

This new program does neither. They shortened up the limit quite a bit and if you exceed it, too bad. It doesn't tell you, it just does not post it.

He's terrible, anyone on this forum could replace him.
Let him go.

..Phins78..I don't know what Smiths value will be. I think he will be a sought after corner just because of his measurables, and that he has shown some signs he can shut down top recievers. Some team is going to think that he is going to be a fit worth the money he wants. Cornerbaks are overpaid. That is the nature of the beast. The good ones you ould argue are worth every cent. But teams go gaga for corners who are big, and can play man coverage. You could argue that Smith was a liablity in zone, but pretty good when asked to play man.

Also..We see and read the stats. But how much of these coverage mistakes are all on Smith? Could it be that some of the time he was hung out to dry because of a missed assignment? Look I'm not making any excuses for him, we all saw him up and down last year, and throughout his career here. I'm just saying there will be a team out there that gives him a nice contract. Will it be us? I don't think it will. Can he be replaced? Of course. We will see what happens in the next month.

Vontae Davis and Sean Smith = more Ireland busts

I believe we are going to have to swalow their loads, at least this year. Priority now is on help for RT.

Posted by: oscar canosa | February 08, 2013 at 07:21 PM

Being a Psychiatrist, I wonder if Oscar knows about Frued's most infamous theory? It has become widely known as a "Fruedian Slip".

If this is the best "Analogy" you could come up with Oscar, I'm sure I'm not alone in asking you to keep the "WE" out of it.

If you're going to be "Swallowing Loads", you'll have to go it alone.

(Jesus Criminey!!!!)

No Phins, that is not remotely my point.

My point is that it is pure hogwash for bloggers to spout out who is worth what and say you don't pay a dime over. Value will be determined by the market, and you will have have to overpay some players to build a team. That doesn't mean you still don't choose wisely who you overpay or how much you ovepay.

..Odin. I have had a few posts ommited the past week. Both short, and longer ones. I'm not sure what the trigger words are. It is frustrating to say the least.

Jed. you are right. They have to overpay if they want to upgrade the talent.

Ireland will see what Smith gets offered & then decide if he's worth one dollar more. Fun to speculate but ultimately we'll see what Smith can really command on the open market & then we'll go from there.

Now Jake Long on the other hand...

We have plenty of cap space to sign everyone.

I wouldn't pay Smith that kind of money. Based on past performance(and not upside, potential, 40 times, etc, etc...)I would offer Smith something in the 4 to 5 million dollar range.

At the end of the day, NFL Football is a business. Smith is bad business. The two biggest problems with him are his hands and how he never seems to get his head around in time. The second one is HUGE! I see Corners on other teams that just know, or have learned when to get their heads around. This allows them to at least TRY and make a play on the ball.

On the Dolphins, it's not just Smith either. Almost our entire secondary suffers from this. It's unbelievable and I wouldn't WANT to keep any of those that suffer from this.

Let Smith and Clemons walk. Sign a DB in Free Agency and draft Twoo more in the higher rounds. Just make sure the new guys have the knack for getting their heads around at the right time..

U want Smith's repalcement? FA CB Jax, Jags Derek Cox, Good quiet kid, that plays big on teh field xcellent man to man coverage, solid. Phins need to go aftr him, let R. Marshall revcover, . SHould have went after Reggie Nelson yrs back @ FS

"Then there's always the draft. A couple of years ago the Dolphins fished a little-known Utah cornerback out of the draft's second round and he started immediately".

What they knew Armando, is he wasn't worth a 2nd rd pick.

There lies the problem IMO in Irelands draft history. He has been better of late with guys like Pouncey, Tannehill, Martin, and Miller. Even Vernon could be a value from where he was drafted.

Smith reminds me of one of Irelands (Parcell influenced) prototype's he thought would "project" to be big and physical like he thought with Odrick and Misi etc.

Lets not try and be clever this year and just add some talented players.

As far as a contract for Smith, I think there are times your forced to overpay like the franchise tag on Solia a couple of years ago. I don't think its the case in this situation though. There are several other good corners in free agency and we have extra draft picks. Sean Smith is not great. At least he hasn't been so far.

"Free agent CB Sean Smith is expected to seek $8-10 million annually on the open market.

Smith and his agent anticipate a deal somewhere between Brandon Carr (five years, $50 million) and Jason McCourty (five years, $43 million). Per the Miami Herald, the Dolphins don't believe Smith is worth that much and for good reason. Although very physically gifted and only 25, Smith struggles versus smaller, quicker receivers, and Pro Football Focus charted him with more combined first downs and touchdowns allowed than any NFL cornerback in 2012."
Source: Miami Herald
Feb 8 - 7:07 PM

Bye Sean. Good luck with that.

But I was there for all 16 games this year. And all the games in 2011. And the ones in 2010 once Smith recovered from being benched in favor of, wait for, Jason Allen.


Not Jason Allen. It was Will Allen.

GEEZ are any of Irescums draft choices still on the team?

I don't think Ireland is willing to pay Smith that kind of money and nor should he let Smith go on the market. Draft someone in the mid rounds and see if we can pickup a decent CB in free agency can't do worse then what Smith did the past few years.

I agree with everything except when you said Smith was intelligent. The guy can't hold on to a football and stand up at the same time. IE the Indy "dropped" int. Wake up. Pro Football Focus is right. Smith is a terrible cornerback.

..We need playmakers..You should read the whole post if PFF..It is true about Smith. But he did play over 1000 snaps. Not many corners that are free agents had that many. So the stats are a little skewed. They admit to that in the article. Still Smith's biggest issue to me is that he doesn't create turnovers. It is kind of like a qb that throws a lot of INT's if he throws a bunch more TD's you can overlook the mistakes. When the TD numbers are right around or less then the INT's thats when there are issues. If Smith had 6-7 INT's those numbers wouldn't mean as much. He didn't, and never has. That to me is the biggest issue with him.

If anybody was worried about Hartline walking, you can relax. Unlike Smith, Hartline seems to have enough smarts to know his relative value to this football team. Who knows, by his actions, he might even have a little team spirit and loyalty. Rare indeed, but very possible in Hartline's case.

His camp started out negotiations by asking for a new contract in the 5 to 6 million dollar a year range.

Despite not having a true No. 1 to draw heat and coverages, Tannehill and Hartline managed to hook up 74 times for over a 1000 yards.

Hartline can play all the WR positions, has great hands, and runs decent routes. Teaming him up with a Wallace and/or a Jennings and I would expect his numbers and contributions to only get better.

I wouldn't have any problems with us resigning Hartline for around 5.5 Million a year. At that rate, I would throw in some incentives and give him a chance to earn a little more.

Anybody else care to weigh in on Hartline at 5.5 million a year?

(PS: Please hurry any responses as I'm sceduled to give this **Smoking Hot Blondie** a Guitar Lesson at 10:30...........SHARP!



Not Jason Allen. It was Will Allen.

Posted by: We Need Playmakers | February 08, 2013 at 09:27 PM

"You Need A Brain",

Armando is aabsolutely correct, Smith was Beched in Favor of "Jason Allen". Will Allen was out for the year with torn acl I think it was that year.

Smith was coming in to cover TE's. Smith eventually became the starter again after Jason Allen was "CUT", then picked up by the by the Texans. Allen started on fire with 3 picks, then became burnt toast and was released.

"We Need A Brain", next time you try and call anyone wrong, make sure youre not wrong yourself dumbass. LOL...


My biggest issue with Smith is covering smaller quicker wr's, run support, then turnovers.

His biggest plus maybe even though he allows too many catches, he doesnt allow a ton of tds. Yes, he'll allow 2-3 tds a year that are headscratchers, he just doesnt allow them at an alarmingly high rate.

If he did he would already be out of Miami.

He absolutely hates contact in the run game too. Usually why he usnt often injured. LOL...

Just because your big doesn't mean your good. It does't even guarantee you can be taught to be good.

It doesn't matter if your big and fast if you don't have IT. Either you have IT or you don't.

Smith does seem to have the will to be good and he seems like a team guy. He's somewhat a solid corner.

For 10 million dollars though you might be able to sign Cary Williams and Dustin Keller.

..YG..You are on the money as far as your explination of Smiths shortcomings. I just think that if he was a corner that created turnovers. He would be seen as a more valuable piece..Even with all the firstdowns, and coverage lapses. We need to create more turnovers. That is no secret or big mystery. Can he be that guy? He hasn't shown it in the past. I don't know if he will in the future.

Gotta roll. Have a goodnight!

Dolphins have 2 options, resign Smith or draft a corner no later than 2nd rd.

The biggest problem is Richard Marshall. If 100% certain Marshall can return 100% healthy from the back injury. I can easily see the starting corners as Marhall and Patterson. With Smith allowed to walk.

If Smith is resigned either Marshall or Patterson walks. Carroll's to cheap to let go.


If Philbin and Sherman want Hartline back I'm down with it. 5.5 million would be to much to pay for a #3 reciever but not knowing for sure if they will land a big FA and without knowing if a rookie will beat Hartline out for the #2 spot...watcha gonna do?


Actually, the last 4-5 games of the season the defense actually began to create more turnovers. Maybe it was one of of those things where when guys actually began to grow more comfortable with the new defense, then the turnovers would began flowing.

Hopefully the defense picks up where it left off as far as creating turnovers. It should because now guys have a full season underneath their belts in this new defense.

2013 should be far more reacting than thinking for our defensive players.

You are all forgetting that Smith is not a hitter, not an intimidator, he will shy away from contact. Not good.

They liked him when Moss and Edwards were in our division. They are now gone. I say pass unless he is cheap.


What was the story with Patterson in Cleveland? 4 million is alot to pay a corner off waivers.



Dolfan Rick

Aking YG's opinion on football is only good for 12 seconds. After that, if you agree with him he will laugh in your face and call you a fool.

That is his MO.

Dolfan Rick,

The biggest names in fa always get signed first. Hartline will be the 4th-5th wr to get signed in fa.

So if the Dolphins cant land Wallace, Jennings, or Bowe. Then its back to Hartline. No team will seriously negotiate with Hartline until the top 3 wr's in fa are gone.

Actually nfl trade rumors has Hartline rated #49 in their top 50 fa list. They have Rams Danny Amedola rated far higher at #23. So it's possible Amendola get signed before Hartline according to that list.

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