• Fins cut Grimes Fins cut Grimes The Fins release CB Brent Grimes, freeing $6.5 million in cap space
  • Mario Williams signed Mario Williams signed DE Mario Williams signs a 2 years deal with the Fins
  • Fins trade for CB Maxwell Fins trade for CB Maxwell Fins swap 1st round picks with the Eagles for CB Maxwell and LB Alonso
  • Adam Gase hired Adam Gase hired Coach Gase was hired as head coach of the Dolphins


Cortland Finnegan….Buyer Beware

Tennessee Titans v St. Louis Rams

CB Cortland Finnegan signed a 2 year deal with Miami

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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Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
Cortland Finnegan....Buyer Beware, 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
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James Lancaster

James Lancaster

When not fighting crime or sleeping, James enjoys working out, playing with his K9 partner and his kids, participating in his "On The Fin Side" radio show, and working on this website.
James Lancaster

Latest posts by James Lancaster (see all)

6 Responses to Cortland Finnegan….Buyer Beware

  • When you say that they have Finnegan as a definite starter – you are 1/2 right. Finnegan is going to be used in a variety of different roles – likely matching against receivers in the slot.

    The Dolphins made the right gamble. They thought his knee was troubling him enough to create a marked decline in his play.

    Healthy this guy as plenty left in the tank and is a scrappy and intense competitor. They also are going to have plenty of opportunity for Davis and Taylor.

    I hope that the Dolphins bring Patterson back with an incentive laden contract. If Patterson and Finnegan can be part of a crew that allows players to be interchangeable, it allows for them to healthy late in the season.

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  • Gotta say I was a little surprised they went after Finnegan given his decline in play, age, and recent injury history. Patterson showed that when healthy he was a good CB; Carrol is a solid vet who knows the system and signed for a modest deal with Phili. Let’s hope he can get back to the disruptive force he was for the Titans or one of the 2nd year CB’s develop.

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  • I enjoy reading your article and it made sense. However I just feel maybe this maybe the fire that Finnegan needs. Don’t really know the type of coverage the rams used but didn’t they change coaches a few times, in which the defense scheme switch a few times?? There is also the fact that the rams didn’t have a good secondary (not making excuse for the guy). The only thing I worry is that he doesn’t control his emotions. In conclusion hopefully this guy will be another Grimes.. Great article

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    • James Lancaster

      Thanks for visiting the site. We always love getting feedback from our visitors.

      If Finnegan returns to 2011 form, I will be thrilled. Hell, if he plays even decent I will be happy. I WANT to be wrong on him. But I can’t shake the gut feeling that Cortland will be more like Gibril Wilson and less like Brent Grimes. :(

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  • I recommend waiting to hear on how the contract is structured, how much money is guaranteed, etc.

    Remember that finnegan represents himself so the reason the real numbers aren’t all over the web is because there is no agent to provide details. I’m willing to bet no more than 3 or 4 million is guaranteed and that this deal is just like the grimes deal but Miami added unrealistic fluff on the back end to make him feel better since he represented himself.

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    • James Lancaster

      Excellent point. That is true. And I hope it is very back loaded. But the initial numbers caught me off guard.

      Still, I’m not sold on Finnegan regardless of how the numbers shake out.

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      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

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