Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has announced today that he has placed the franchise tag on cornerback Brent Grimes.
Grimes, previously slated to become a free agent March 13, was considered to be one of the most sought-after corners during the free agency period.
Dimitroff said on 790 The Zone's Mayhem in the A.M. that the tag was applied to Grimes with the goal being to work out a long-term deal for the veteran defensive back.
"Our feeling is, Brent Grimes is an excellent athlete with the ability to move, cover, break on the ball with some of the top corners in this league and we feel comfortable with his abilities, the way that he's picked up our system and settled in nicely in the few years since we have been here," Dimitroff told 790. "We feel like, as we all know, you're always looking for corners that can settle into your system and cover and stay in phase, as what we call it often, and make big plays on the ball. I think Brent Grimes does that, obviously, against big, small, fast or slow receivers in this league. We're encouraged about having him back."
Grimes earned a full-time starting position in 2010 after notching five interceptions during the 2009 season in a reserve role. Grimes' recorded six INTs during the 2010 season, but was hampered by a knee injury in 2011 and only recorded one while missing much of the latter part of the year.
The path Grimes has taken to this point is nothing short of remarkable. Out of D-II Shippensburg, Grimes was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and allocated to NFL Europa in 2007. Later that year, he was signed to the Falcons' practice squad and eventually to the 53-man roster, where he became a mainstay.
In 2010, after a tremendous year in reserve, Grimes came into training camp and earned the starting position, turning in a Pro Bowl year as one of the league's most targeted cornerbacks.