The first major off-season event has passed with the franchise tagging process. Miami did not use the tag and instead they gave Brent Grimes a solid 4 year deal. I know it is a bit risky with his age and injury history but I feel it was the right move. Miami is now pretty well set at the corner position coming into the season. I don’t see then doing anything else there until after the draft unless it is a very favorable contract for the team. Grimes and Patterson will likely be the starters on paper with Taylor and Davis competing for a starting spot as well as handling the nickel and dime packages. Jimmy Wilson is a valuable veteran player that can play about every position in the defensive backfield which allows Miami to carry one less defensive back in general. Keep in mind this group should be greatly improved as I would expect they will all be healthy now coming into training camp. It would be nice to get Nolan Carroll back for depth but he is now looking for a 2nd contract. Taylor and Davis should have a better grasp of the system and pro game and be ready to go. Miami will probably just bargain shop for a veteran after the draft or maybe draft a CB in the middle rounds. It is possible the team could look to restructure Patterson’s deal by lowering the cap hit and extending it or may ask him to just take a cut. However, I think this is unlikely. Patterson has no guarantee and they can cut him at any point without any dead money. It makes the most sense to go to training camp to make sure that Patterson is fully healed and they can also evaluate where Taylor and Davis are at before they make any other moves. If Patterson is not the #2 CB in training camp either because of health or being out performed, then they will ask him to take the pay cut or he will just get released and Miami will sign another less expensive veteran for depth.
The safety position opposite Reshad Jones is very much up in the air. I would be very surprised if Chris Clemons is back before the start of free agency. Miami wants to try to acquire a faster higher ceiling player at safety. What I would really like to see is for Miami to bring in a more physical safety. I know the league rules have changed a lot but you just don’t see Jones or Clemons coming up and hitting a running back like Louis Oliver used to do. I think Clemons also lacks the speed you want to see in your safeties. This means more zone defense and less ability to cheat safeties up because of the inability to recover into coverage. I don’t see Miami putting the money out for someone like Jairus Byrd. They have too many needs on the offensive line and other areas to burn a huge chunk on safety. Also, Kevin Coyle is very good at developing players in the secondary. So I would guess they are going to give him a player that is raw but high on talent to develop. So look for them to use a draft pick to bring a young safety into the mix and then sign a veteran later in free agency. That veteran may very well be Clemons but unless Clemons is willing to take another 1 year contract I don’t expect to see him return to the team.