Before the 2011 season began, the Dolphins had a pair of young, exciting cornerbacks in Sean Smith and Vontae Davis. Davis was so confident in himself and Smith that he (foolishly) said, "I'm going to go out on a limb and say we're the best [cornerback] tandem in the league."
But Davis unimpressed his team so much that Miami traded him to the Colts before the 2012 season began. And though Smith had early-season success, it seems unclear whether the Dolphins will want to give the unrestricted free agent a fat new deal.
That hasn't stopped Smith from dreaming big, though. As the The Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin wrote last month, Smith will seek a contract similar to the one signed by Tennessee's Jason McCourty ($43 million, $20 million guaranteed). The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero notes Smith also would take Dallas' Brandon Carr money ($50 million).
But here's the problem: Smith ranked as the 76th-best cornerback in the league this year, according to Pro Football Focus (he was even worse in 2011, ranking 105th out of 109 cornerbacks). Salguero points out that Smith performed admirably on Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Cincinnati's A.J. Green early in the season but after that had nothing.
More from the Herald:
I didn't know what to make of Smith after the season so I asked two former Dolphins receivers about him. I asked them to compare Smith to former Miami cornerback Vontae Davis. Both players said the same thing.
"I'd much rather go against Sean than Vontae," one said. "Vontae is a pain in the [butt]. He gets his hands on you, he holds, he grabs, he gets away with stuff that nobody sees. Sean is just easier. He's fast as hell. But he guesses a lot and a lot of time he guesses wrong."
And so this is the resume Sean Smith will take to free agency in March.
As Volin wrote, the Dolphins value Smith at much less than what Smith apparently wants. But Smith will only be 26 in time for next season and has good size for a cornerback, so it's likely some general manager will give him a sweet deal.
Yet he also only has recorded five career interceptions in four seasons, and it's hard to see how he deserves $50 million for that.
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