Next up in our Free Agent Focus series is Dolphins' cornerback Sean Smith. We break him down with a Dolphins writer to lend some insight.
A recurring theme with Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen is they like big corners. Their two free agent pickups who started the 2012 season were both good sized corners - Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Sean Smith fits that mold as well. But he comes with fewer question marks.
The four year corner has missed just one game in his career and started nearly all of them as well. He will be in demand in free agency and could command a salary around $6- $7 million. The Raiders will have some money to spend and I expect they will make at least one decent sized splash. After all, they did last year when they signed Mike Brisiel and they had a lot less money than they are expected to have this year.
There are really no better areas to make a splash for the Raiders than corner and there will be few if any better targets than Smith who is still young and could be just the talent they are looking for.
Here is what Kevin Nogle of Dolphins blog, The Phinsider had to say:
Smith is one of the most infuriating players on the Dolphins' roster. One game, he looks like a shut down corner, covering players like Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green. The next game, he is getting torched repeatedly. That inconsistency is what could be his undoing in Miami.
His size is outstanding, but his hands are like stone, dropping potential interceptions over and over. As a former running back and wide receiver, there's really no reason for the drops he has. Smith is the player most talked about receiving the Dolphins' franchise tag, with some local beat writers saying the team is discussing it, while others say there's no chance.
Paying him a franchise tag salary, for the level of production he provides, is crazy, but locking him into a long-term deal worth the $8 million a year he reportedly wants could be crazy as well. Smith could still be developing, and seems to still be on the upswing of his career, but it's a gamble no matter what the Dolphins do. Unless the franchise tag is applied, I would expect the Dolphins to let Smith test free agency, then try to match any offers he receives.