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Cortland Finnegan….Buyer Beware
When Miami released Dimitri Patterson and let Nolan Carroll move on to the Eagles, I had wondered if that meant that the Fins were going to allow Jamar Taylor or Will Davis step up into the #2 spot opposite Brent Grimes.
Taylor, a 2nd round pick, was a playmaker in college. But he battled a hernia problem for much of last season. Davis flashed big play potential in training camp last year. But the coaching staff felt he needed to develop more, so he was limited to playing in just 5 games. (Mainly due to injury.)
When the Dolphins brought CB Cortland Finnegan in for a visit, I realized that the coaching staff wanted another veteran back there. It makes sense. With Grimes locking down one side, you know opposing QBs are going to test the other CB.
But when I read that Miami signed Finnegan to a 2 year deal worth $11 million, I have to say I was not thrilled like so many other Fin fans. I didn’t have visions of Madison/Surtain Part II. I wasn’t even cautiously optimistic. I wondered if the Fins had just overpaid for a veteran on his way down.
Finnegan does have some positives in his favor. Just three years ago, he was arguably the best CB in the game and a playmaker. He is a game film warrior. He studies the film. He analyses his opponents. He gets in their heads. And he is a team player who will help the younger CBs.
But Finnegan is 30, and for the last two years, his play has declined…significantly.
Last year, Finnegan was rated 109 out of 110 CBs by Pro Football Focus. Before he was benched and subsequently placed on IR, Cortland allowed a QB rating of 158.3 when QBs threw against him. He gave up 16 of 19 passes for completions, and allowed 3 TDs.
Yes, Finnegan was battling an injury and that would have contributed to his abysmal play. But it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t the worst CB in the NFL last year.
However, Cortland’s struggles began in 2012, before his injury. From games 5 through 16 of the 2012 season, the QB passer rating against Finnegan was 92.8. He did not have a single INT and defended only 2 passes. He also missed 9 tackles. Clearly, his career is on the decline.
The fact that Miami gave him $11 million over two years shows that they intend for him to be the starter. You don’t pay backups that kind of coin. In addition, Philbin has shown that he does not like playing rookies or younger players.
While Cortland has stated that he will have to battle for the starting spot opposite Grimes, clearly the coaching staff intend for Cortland to start. It makes me wonder about the development of guys like Taylor and Davis. Will they be passed over for Finnegan? Could this hinder their development?
I have serious doubts that Finnegan will return to his 2011 form. At this point, I’m just hoping that he stays on the field more than Patterson and is more consistent than Nolan Carroll. But I’m not holding my breath.
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