Grimes franchised by Falcons, but CB not ready to sign

The Atlanta Falcons have placed the franchise tag on cornerback Brent Grimes, the team announced Friday.

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Grimes is assured of receiving $10.6 million under the franchise tag in 2012, the expected value of the tag for cornerbacks.

However, his agent, Ben Dogra, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Friday that Grimes is not a lock to sign the tag.

"We have no plans to sign the tag at this time," Dogra told the newspaper. "We hope to be able to continue to discuss [through] all the issues at the appropriate time."

Dogra had previously said the move by the Falcons was expected.

"We anticipated receiving the franchise tag," Dogra told The Associated Press. "Brent Grimes is certainly viewed as one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL, and getting franchised is not a surprise to any of us. We look forward to continuing to speak with (Falcons general manager) Thomas Dimitroff over the next few days."

Dimitroff announced the move on the team's radio partner, Atlanta's WQXI AM-790. He said he plans to continue talks on a long-term deal with Grimes.

"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," Dimitroff said. "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."

Dogra said Grimes hopes "to explore all options with the Falcons, including signing a long-term deal."

Dimitroff was scouting players in California on Friday and could not be reached for additional comment.

Grimes, who led the team with 17 passes defensed in 2011, is one of the most important names in an unusually large class of 17 unrestricted free agents for the Falcons. Other top Atlanta players expected to hit free agency include linebacker Curtis Lofton, who led the team in tackles, safety Thomas DeCoud, who topped the Falcons with four interceptions, and defensive end John Abraham, who led the team with 9.5 sacks.

Undrafted out of Shippensburg University in 2007, Grimes has started 42 games for the Falcons in five seasons with 13 interceptions. He had a combined 11 interceptions in 2009 and 2010, and was an alternate Pro Bowl pick in 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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