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Brent Grimes unaware of any talk of a 2016 pay cut

If there is conversation about Brent Grimes not playing up to the level of past years, and being diminished at age 32 (33 by next football season), and the Miami Dolphins needing to take a hard look at giving him a pay cut in the coming offseason, he is not aware.

And, yes, there is that conversation in all quarters of the football world.

"Honestly, I don't keep up with that," Grimes told The Miami Herald this week. "I just play. I don't read anything, I don't watch ESPN. I don't watch anything. So I don't know what anyone is talking about. I just know what the people around here are talking about and that's all I really can go off of."

So what are people within the Dolphins building talking about when the conversation turns to the club's top cornerback?

"That everybody respects me and I can play," Grimes said. "I don't know what is the narrative in the media or outside of here because I don't keep up with it."

There is truth to what Grimes says. The Dolphins coaching staff still considers Grimes their best cornerback. And for much of this season they considered him a premier CB. That's obviously the reason they asked him to cover Sammy Watkins and Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant all over the field and often in one-on-one situations.

But unlike past seasons when Grimes would win most of those matchups, or at the very least trade blows for blows in those -- such as his game against Calvin Johnson in Detroit last season when he gave up a TD pass but also had an interception -- this year the battles have more often gone to the receivers.

Marshall, Watkins and Beckham had great days against the Dolphins. Grimes, meanwhile, shut down Bryant.

"I do whatever the coach asks me to do," Grimes said. "That's what I've always done and what I continue to want to do. I've been doing what helps the team."

And for the season, metrics site ProFootballFocus.com has Grimes rated the NFL's 54th best cornerback for 2015. He was in the top 20 last year and in the top 10 in 2013.

So this is not trending in the right direction year-to-year. That doesn't mean Grimes will be worse next year. But it does mean the Dolphins, projecting for 2016 and seeing Grimes scheduled to cost $9.5 million against the salary cap, might want to adjust that number.

The Dolphins may ask Grimes to cut his base salary some. Or they might come up with some other innovative Mike Tannenbaumish way of massaging things to where Grimes feels good about his salary and the Dolphins feel better about a lower cap number.

But if things don't work out just right, there's always the possibility the Dolphins may decide to move on. Such a path would save the Dolphins up to $8 million in cap space if done after June 1 or if designated as a June 1 cut.

It is an interesting proposition. Go to your best cornerback because he hasn't been elite and ask him to take a pay cut? Or do nothing, understanding you are taking up elite cornerback cap space in 2016 for a player who recently played a step or two below elite in 2015.

So what does Grimes think of that?

"I'll wait until that happens," he said. "I always live in the moment. I'm attacking this day and we'll go from there."

Notice Grimes did not rule anything in or out. There have been suggestions he would be on the next plane out of town if the Dolphins no longer value him at the same level (i.e. approach him about a pay cut). His wife has made such a suggestion on social media.

But Grimes and his family also have planted some roots in South Florida. They like it here. So he's not definitely out.

"My family likes it here," Grimes said. "It's nice. My family is good. We have a good time."

And would he like to keep playing for the Dolphins?

"Yeah, of course," he said. "We'll see what happens."

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