One of the game's top cornerbacks is off the market, and his new deal should affect the negotiations that are taking place between the Patriots and cornerback Aqib Talib.
The Miami Dolphins have handed Pro Bowl corner Brent Grimes a four-year, $32 million deal with $16 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.
Talib's representation and the Patriots reportedly discussed options for a new deal during last week's NFL Combine. Though no deal has yet been struck, and though it appears Talib will not be franchised by 4 p.m. Monday, the two sides will have a chance to agree to a new contract before Mar. 11 when the league's free-agency period kicks off.
Grimes is arguably the best corner in the AFC East, and one of the top cover men in the league. His new deal should help set the values of the other remaining top free-agent corners slated to soon hit the open market: Talib, Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Alterraun Verner to name a few.
When healthy, Talib is undoubtedly among the cream of those at his position, capable of locking down some of the league's biggest, most physical receivers. In 2013, Talib took on the likes of Jimmy Graham, Demariyus Thomas, Vincent Jackson, Julio Jones and Roddy White and performed admirably in one-on-one situations.
For the second consecutive year, however, a hip injury hampered his mobility in the second half of the year and forced him to miss three regular-season games. He also checked out of the AFC title game early in the first half after suffering a knee injury in a highly-scrutinized collision with Broncos receiver Wes Welker.
Talib's ceiling as a shutdown corner could be perceived as higher than that of Grimes. And given Talib's age -- at 28, he is about three years younger than Grimes -- it could be argued that he is more valuable.
Talib's injury history will surely come into play during negotiations, but if and when he does get a new deal, the $8 million average annual value Grimes pulled in from Miami on Monday could be seen as within range of a logical place to start.