February 24, 2013, 10:00 am
INDIANAPOLIS -- When free agency starts next month the Eagles would like to address their shaky secondary by considering Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s free-agent strategy.
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound physical corner, is expected to be a hot commodity on the market and the Eagles are leery of engaging in a bidding war that inflates the price tag.
Smith is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of $24 million guaranteed over three years, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post. Teams can’t sign free agents until 4 p.m. March 12, but can begin negotiations at midnight on March 9.
Smith started 56 of 63 games for the Dolphins after being picked in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft and has just five career interceptions, but the 25-year-old former Utah standout has ideal size for a man-press scheme and the versatility to move inside and cover tight ends.
The Dolphins, who are entering year two of an entirely new coaching staff, aren’t expected to use the franchise tag to retain Smith for one year at more than $10 million, especially with several other players whose contracts must be addressed.
If they can sign Smith, the Eagles will have filled one of their two starting cornerback spots as they look to rebuild a secondary that was among the NFL’s worst over the past two years.
The team has asked cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is slated to make more than $15 next season but guaranteed only $4 million, to take a pay cut but the Eagles are prepared to let him walk and absorb the cap hit, according to a league source (see story).
Their other starting corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, just finished out the final year of his contract and is expected to hit free agency.
The Eagles were aggressive in their roster assembly two years ago, trading for Rodgers-Cromartie and signing Asomugha, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and defensive end Jason Babin. But the moves backfired as the Eagles went 8-8 in 2011 and then bottomed out in 2012, going 4-12.
E-mail Geoff Mosher at email@example.com.