According to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, the Dolphins will “almost certainly” place the franchise tag on Smith if they can’t sign him long term before free agency commences. Volin does not consider fellow impending free agent Jake Long a realistic franchise-tag candidate after a poor season that ended on injured reserve.
The franchise number for cornerbacks will be more affordable ($10-11 million), and Smith has missed just one game in his four-year career. The Dolphins would certainly prefer to lock up Smith with a lucrative extension. But either way, it sounds like he’s not going anywhere.