Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/2/12
With only three days left before the deadline to do so, the Falcons announced that they will place the franchise tag on starting left cornerback Brent Grimes, a Pro-Bowler in 2010, keeping him off the market for at least a year and guaranteeing Grimes a salary of approximately 10 million virtually a four-fold increase over his 2.61 million salary of last season. Speaking on the teams flagship radio station, 790 The Zone, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff disclosed the news and provided updates on negotiations with a number of its other 17 pending free agents. NFL free agency starts on March 13. Our feeling is Brent Grimes is an excellent athlete with the ability to move, cover, break on the ball with some of the top corners in the league and we feel comfortable in his abilities, Dimitroff said. The way hes picked up our system, hes settled in very nicely over the last years since weve been here and we just feel, as we all know, youre always looking for corners who can settle into your system and cover and stay in phase, is what we call it often, and make big plays on the ball. And I think that Brent Grimes does that, obviously, against big small, fast or slow receivers in this league, so were encouraged about having him back. Grimes, who will be 29 this season, was an undrafted player out of Division II Shippensburg (Pa.). He had one interception and 44 tackles in 2011 in 12 games, as teams seemed to throw less in his direction. He sat out four of the last five games and also missed the teams 24-2 playoff loss to the New York Giants with a knee problem. He had five interceptions in 2010 and six in 2009. Next season will be his fifth with the team. According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Falcons top 51 players under contracts will total 101.5 million. By having to pay Grimes, upwards of 10 million and with the salary cap expected to be in the range of last years of 120 million, the Falcons could have some difficult decisions ahead. The tag could be a way to jump start negotiations for a long-term deal, which would ease the cap implications for the Falcons while also giving Grimes the benefit of more guaranteed money. Well, ideally youd like to do that, Dimitroff said. Thats very, very important, as you can imagine. That number comes off your cap and your cash number the year its placed on you and its not pro-rated, you cant spread it over years of the contract, so theres where the difficulty comes in. Most teams would like to move towards securing a long-term deal to spread out the funds. That said, it doesnt necessarily always happen. The team also is reportedly close to re-signing defensive end Kroy Biermann, a starter in 2010 who lost his job to free-agent signing Ray Edwards. If new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wants to show some 3-4 looks, then Biermann is an ideal candidate, with his speed and smallish size at 260 pounds, to play one of the outside linebackerrush end spots. Biermanns contract could be in the range of 3 million per season. Dimitroff called negotiations with Biermann very productive. All of that complicates negotiations with middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, the teams leading tackler every season since 2006, and defensive end John Abraham, whose agent has said he expects the player to test the free agent market. Dimitroff did not report any progress with Lofton, who is 26. There have been reports that the team believes he could be better in pass coverage and last year they drafted middle linebacker Akeem Dent out of Georgia in the third round as a potential successor. I dont really know where were at with it as this point, Dimitroff said of negotiations with Lofton. The radio show played a clip of Abraham, the highly productive pass rusher who will be 34 next season and who battled groin injuries last season, saying he would like to be paid 12 million a number the Falcons almost certainly cannot afford. Dimitroff would not get into specific numbers and only would say that its human nature to be paid as much as possible. Curiously, when asked about reports that Pittsburgh is expected to cut wide receiver Hines Ward, the Georgia native and former Bulldog standout, Dimitroff said on a hypothetical basis that it would be interesting to target a player like Ward but that the player would still have to be productive on the field. Dimitroff said the team has not had negotiations with quarterback Matt Ryan, who remains under contract for this season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker