Miami Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith has no shot of returning, because his big goal is to get paid as much as possible in free agency. The talented but inconsistent 25-year-old corner has three “leading candidates” at this point in time in the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New England Patriots, per Jason Cole.
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The Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles are also rumored to be interested in signing Smith, so it is interesting to see that neither team is among the leading candidates for Smith. The Kansas City Chiefs already dropped themselves out of the race by signing Dunta Robinson to starter’s money, which wasn’t the best upgrade given Robinson’s massive struggles last season. He is cheaper than Smith by a significant margin, though, so I guess they chose money over quality there.
In any case, it’s extremely interesting to see that the Patriots are interested in moving Smith north in the AFC East. While he has plenty of talent and some nice youth and upside, Smith didn’t play too well last year. He showed flashes, as usual, but he doesn’t put those flashes together and gets burned far more often than he should.
Sean Smith is like Aqib Talib in many ways. Both players are talented and have shutdown upside, but they get burned more often than they should and are easy to overrate. Talib and Smith are both looking- and set- to get a king’s ransom on the open market for their services, and I would rather have Talib. Although it is close, Talib has more talent than Smith. For the Patriots, though, it’s going to come down to who is cheaper. Talib’s character concerns even out that gap of talent enough to the point where money is the big issue. I would think the Pats are looking into Smith as Plan B, but maybe Talib is Plan B if they are a “leading candidate”. But as Cole notes at the end of his tweet, “things are fluid”.
The Arizona Cardinals are likely interested in Smith, because they want more depth and talent at corner. If I were the Cardinals, I would rather focus on keeping solid starting CB Greg Toler, because he is going to come much cheaper for them. But after releasing the disappointing William Gay, the Cards could use some more talent at CB.
At the end of the day, the Bucs look like the favorite to land Sean Smith. They have the cap room, and they have the biggest need of these three teams at corner. Because unlike the Patriots and the Cardinals, the Bucs don’t have a legitimate starting cornerback on the outside (the Patriots have Alfonzo Dennard and the Cardinals have Patrick Peterson).
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.