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Falcons Free Agency 2012: Brent Grimes Receives The Franchise Tag From Atlanta Falcons

As Thomas Dimitroff intended, the Atlanta Falcons have officially franchise tagged 5-year veteran cornerback Brent Grimes. With the Falcons tagging Grimes, this could mean the end of the Curtis Lofton era in Atlanta as the middle linebacker will hit the open market. Grimes and Lofton were the only two potential franchise tag targets on the roster, so one was invariably going to be out.

Grimes expected contract for 2012 is expected to be around $10.5 million, per the projected average for the top five cornerbacks' salaries in the NFL. At this point, if a team wanted to still acquire Grimes then the return compensation would have to include two first round picks, a cost that is too steep for anyone in the league to incur.

Grimes, the undrafted rookie from Shippensburg University, has tenure over in NFL Europe before eventually signing with the Falcons in 2007. In just four year, Grimes has made himself into a full-time starter and in the Pro Bowl.

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, visit The Falcoholic. For more news and notes on NFL free agency, check out SB Nation's NFL page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.