December 5, 2010; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) defends a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Arrelious Benn (17) during the second half of their game at Raymond James Stadium. The Falcons won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Could Brent Grimes Become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer?

The Falcons’ blogosphere has been set a light recently over the debate “should we place the franchise tag” on Brent Grimes. The guys over at Gritz Blitz quoted a source saying it was a “no brainer” that Grimes will receive the franchise tag. We here at Blogging Dirty ran an article outlining some reasons why we thought franchising him would be a good idea. Dave Choate at the Falcoholic then gave a nice counterargument and explained why he thought using the franchise tag would be a bad idea.

With $30.6 million in cap space franchising Grimes would take approximately a third of that available cap space, which is a lot but worth it my opinion. Part of the argument that I have not even considered up to this point is where Grimes would go if we didn’t resign him (looking unlikely at this point) or use the franchise tag and let him hit free agency.

Do you know who the favourite is at this point? It is The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa has an abundance of cap room over $60 million and is forced to spend and be active in free agency. Corner is probably their biggest need and they are widely expected to draft LSU CB Morris Claiborne with the 5th overall pick, if a move is not made before in free agency.

Brent Grimes has had tremendous success against the Bucs in recent years. My mind goes back to the 2010 game at Raymond James stadium where he nearly intercepted three of Josh Freeman’s passes, one he got, one was overturned on review and the third he just couldn’t quite bring it in.

Tampa knows exactly what Grimes can bring to the table and would be sure to be heavily involved in the bidding process. With so much cap room the Bucs could easily outbid us on the open market, if we let Grimes get there.

The great well run franchises in this league do not let their best players go whilst they are in their prime. You could make a case that Grimes is the best defender on this team; at least he would be in the top 3 for our defensive players. He is deserving of a nice payday and frankly we should be the one who gives it to him, but if we can’t get a deal done, we need to protect our valuable asset with the franchise tag.

If we let Grimes go for nothing and he goes and signs with the Bucs, I will be absolutely livid. Not only will we be losing our best corner but we will be handing our division rival a big time defensive playmaker. While my preference is still for him to be signed to a long term deal (3 to 4 years) with the Falcons, using the franchise tag should definitely be in play. Electing not to franchise him and letting him walk would be frankly foolish. With Tampa Bay very likely to be the destination for Grimes we would regret this decision for quite a long time.

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