As the league is swirling with talk of players who have received the franchise tag like New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Baltimore’s Ray Rice, and Chicago’s Matt Forte holding out or possibly holding out of voluntary workouts today (or future workouts or OTAs) Falcons fans have no option but to think about Brent Grimes at these times. Grimes is the player that the Falcons have labelled with their franchise tag, leaving him stuck with a 1-year contract worth $10.2 million dollars.
Players don’t like the franchise tag for the simple reason that it doesn’t give them long term stability. It might give them a huge payday for one year, but what if you get injured during that one season? Teams will leave the player for dead, and he will either have to work twice as hard to resuscitate their careers or to move on to the next chapter of their lives prematurely. Guys like Brees have experienced an injury and not had a long-term deal, or know a player who has lived under those circumstances, even if they aren’t a star player.
We are currently witnessing Drew Brees miss at least this first day of voluntary team workouts, but we could encounter him missing more while he holds out for a long term contract. As a Falcons fan I hope that he sits out as long as possible, the Saints miss his leadership, and it is reflected in poor performance in the regular season. While that is unlikely, every day that this goes unresolved for New Orleans, the better it is for the Falcons and others who don’t like the Saints.
However on a lesser level, the same situation is going on with Grimes. While he is not a franchise QB like Matt Ryan or Brees are, he is an important cog of the defense, and no doubt will be only more important under whatever scheme the Falcons will use under Mike Nolan. If the Falcons use 4-3, we have seen a good bit of what Grimes can do, if the Falcons use 3-4, there is even more that Grimes could at least be capable of . The fact that the Falcons have not signed Grimes to a long term deal or had him sign his franchise tender has not yet become a major factor, as the Falcons have yet to begin their offseason program. That is scheduled to begin April 23. But I would hope that Grimes will be working out on his own if he isn’t present for the workout program, and that he will agree to a deal of come time for the OTAs where coaches will be on the field installing the playbook with the players. Then it would truly hurt the Falcons if Grimes is not present.