« Fans and media sometimes react faster than FOs | Main | Dolphins history with free agency? Not great »

Sean Smith worth $10.7 million guaranteed for one year?

I don't want to beat a dead horse here but the idea of the Dolphins using a franchise tag on Sean Smith got new life recently when CBSSports.com either reported or suggested the Dolphins were preparing to do exactly that this offseason.

The Palm Beach Post did the same in January.

I have been told it will not happen by a well-placed team source, who even mocked the suggestion to my face.

We'll see who's right.

But aside from being told it's not happening I like my chances because we're starting to see exactly what placing a franchise tag on Smith, or any cormerback for that matter, will cost. NFL.com's Albert Breer did excellent work Wednesday uncovering projections for the 2013 franchise tag numbers.

The report sates that cornerback franchise tags are expected to be the third most expensive behind only quarterback and defensive end projections. And that cornerback number is projected at a whopping $10.7 million.

Ten.

Point.

Seven.

Million.

Guaranteed.

For one year.

Believe whatever you wish about Sean Smith. I already shared with you my take on his ability and future prospects relative to a new contract. But is there any one of you that believes paying Smith $10.7 million guaranteed in 2013 is a good deal for the Dolphins?

Anyone?

(Not counting you, agent David Canter. I know you think that he's worth that much. I'm speaking to unbiased people, here.)

There is simply no way that is a good transaction for the Dolphins spending nearly one-quarter of the salary cap space the front office has worked diligently to accumulate over time on a player who is a starter, yes, but a playmaker and difference maker? No.

Franchise numbers are meant to keep top tier talent from fleeing smaller market teams for bigger market teams. It protects teams against losing the best and brightest on its roster, at least for a year or two. Players don't love the tag because it prevents them from going onto the free agent market and getting what is typically a bigger chunk of guaranteed money, albeit for more years of service.

But the problem with administering the franchise tag is it all counts toward the cap in one large Brink's truck delivery. All of it. It is a salary cap gobbler. It is a 12-cylinder engine at the gas pump. It is that Asian guy at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest. It is Salguero at a buffet.

It consumes!

That makes it unwise to use for a team trying to maximize its cap space. And it makes it borderline personnel department malpractice to use on a player whose level of play does not suggest he should be paid among the top 10 players at his position.

Is Sean Smith a top 10 cornerback in the NFL?

Maybe that other newspaper and the website think so. I don't. I've been told the Dolphins don't think so either.

What do you think?

By the way, if I'm wrong and the club does use the franchise tag on Smith, it would have repercussions. Do that, rather than signing him to a long-term deal if he's in their plans, would mean the cap hit. And that would mean less flexibility in free agency. And that would mean less talent coming to the team.

Thankfully, I'm not wrong.

Comments