The franchise tags have come and gone with the Carolina Panthers using theirs on CB Josh Norman and the Los Angeles Rams using theirs on CB Trumaine Johnson. With those tags in, I peeked at the free agent cornerback marketand ... holy crap, Sean Smith is going to be a rich man.
The Chiefs only hope of keeping him was through the franchise tag, which they used on Eric Berry instead (not that Berry was the wrong decision). That's because I could make an argument that Smith is the best free agent cornerback hitting the market on March 9. He has rare size (6'3) that many teams covet and he's coming off three consecutive solid seasons in Kansas City.
Looking at the list of top corners, Janoris Jenkins is up there. He has some baggage from college but is just 27 years old coming off his rookie deal. Pacman Jones is one and he too has some baggage. Casey Hayward is someone I like but he's a nickel corner. Even if you put one of these corners above Smith, someone out there is still going to pay Smith a crapload of money.
As Matt Conner pointed out last week, this was the plan from Smith's camp when they signed a three-year deal in 2013. Smith's agent was quoted last year as saying, ""[Smith] is very comfortable playing out the year and becoming an unrestricted free agent at 29 (years old), which is the reason we did a three year deal. We did that deal specifically so that Sean could hit the free agent market again once the numbers had popped and once the money had significantly increased."
Mission (almost) accomplished.