Andy Cohen’s column on Dolphins.com appears at 6 a.m. every weekday from training camp through the season and when events warrant during the offseason. Occasionally, like today, Andy will provide six things to think about. Thus, the title, “Six at Six.”
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1. This was an important first step. Placing a franchise tag on Brent Grimes wouldn’t have been the desired result. He is too talented to lock up for just one year and there were too many salary cap ramifications that would have limited the team’s flexibility this offseason. A win-win for everyone involved.
2. Grimes was arguably the best player on the defense last season. He is 30 years old and still in the prime of his career. We know what we are getting in Grimes and the importance of a shut down corner, capable of making big, game-changing plays, can not be overstated. The Dolphins clearly have a lot of work to do this offseason, but this was a huge piece and it set the right kind of tone heading into free agency.
3. Interesting how things can work out for a player of Grimes’ pedigree. Supposedly too small his entire life. Undrafted out of tiny Shippensburg University. Suffered a serious Achilles injury two years ago in Atlanta. Who would have given him much of a chance of standing at that podium Monday afternoon at Dolphins headquarters, talking about a four-year, multi-million contract with a nice piece of change guaranteed? Grimes is a great example of the inexact science of evaluating players. As Grimes once told me last season, “they haven’t figured out yet how to measure heart.”
4. With the Grimes situation resolved, what happens next with the Dolphins secondary? Safety Chris Clemons is an unrestricted free agent and cornerback Dimitri Patterson has a huge cap number to consider before bringing him back next season. Is this where a pair of last season’s rookies, Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, get a chance to move up? One thing for sure: Filling in those pieces is a much more palatable thought with Grimes locked up.
5. The start of free agency is a week away. There are some important decisions that must be made in-house before things heat up too much. Seems like the most significant issue at this juncture involves veteran defensive linemen Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, both unrestricted free agents. Do the Dolphins try to re-sign both? Do they opt for one of them? They are both valuable pieces on this defense. It’s a tough call because, even with significant cap flexibility, the Dolphins have a long list of needs, starting with an offensive line that needs just about a thorough makeover.
6. Finally, new General Manager Dennis Hickey now that he has been on the job for about a month. My initial impressions: Not much flash, but plenty of substance. Hickey is an extremely hard worker who seems to have his priorities in order. I like the rapport he has built with Coach Joe Philbin. Despite the fact that he has never been a general manager before, this job doesn’t seem too big for him. Hickey has spent almost two decades waiting for this chance. But like those before him, he will not be judged by his work ethic or his compatibility; he’ll be judged on the decisions he makes to upgrade this roster. Here’s hoping the prudent decision to sign Grimes was only the first of many more to come.