The Washington Times - February 21, 2013, 02:20PM

INDIANAPOLIS | With the Redskins seeking improved secondary play and the free agent market opening on March 12, it’s worth tracking the best cornerbacks whose contracts expire on that date.

Cornerbacks are among the highest paid players in the NFL – at least the good ones are – the Redskins aren’t approaching the start of the new league year with a favorable salary cap situation. However, even if the Redskins don’t sign an elite cornerback, a greater supply of quality free agent cornerbacks should the lower their price, at least theoretically.

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So it was a favorable development Thursday that Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland implied it’s unlikely the team would use the franchise tag on cornerback Sean Smith.  

“I think there’s several players that are our current free agents that would be an option for the tag. I have not ruled out Sean as being an option there, but we’ve got several more days left before we have to make that decision,” Ireland said. “We have a pretty good idea of where we’re going with it, but things could change daily, hourly. Continuity at the cornerback position is always something you’re looking for, so certainly Sean is an option.”

“Sean has started almost every single game he’s been [in] since [2009],” Ireland continued. “Having that continuity back with Sean is important, but we’ll have to see how that thing goes as well.”

Smith, who will be 26 on opening day 2013, had 53 solo tackles and two interceptions in 16 games last season. The Dolphins drafted him out of Utah in the second round in 2009.

At 6-3, 218 pounds, he is at least two inches taller than any cornerback the Redskins had on their roster in 2012. His market value as a free agent could top $8 million per year.

Ireland recently met with Smith’s representatives, but no deal to re-sign Smith is imminent.

“I left it optimistic,” Ireland said. “Still a long way to go with that one.”