Tomorrow the Davie training complex will open up and the parking lot on the players side will start having cars parked in it again. Teams are allowed to let players enter the facility on a voluntary basis (as in if the players want to report). They can train, lift weights, meet with coaches, and do classroom work if they so desire. I suspect that the Miami facility will be quite active considering the Dolphins were one of the most active in off-season player held workouts.
The Dolphins can not sign any of their free agents just yet. They can sign their rookie class and sign un-drafted free agents and can start negotiating with their own free agents although they can not sign them yet. The team can also begin player trades as well. Rookie deals are expected to very easy to do this year with the addition of the rookie wage cap. All first rounders can sign 4 year deals with a 5th year option. Un-drafted rookies will also have a “signing bonus” cap number. Only 75,000 dollars can be spent on un-drafted rookies in the form of a signing bonus…combined.
Also, the 2011 salary cap will be set at just over 120 million. New to this CBA is a borrowing plan that will allow teams to borrow in essence up to 6 million dollars from future salary caps. So if the Dolphins felt the need, they could pay a total of 126 million in salaries this year.
Both Head Coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland will be quite busy as well. The two will have had plenty of time to evaluate their current roster and on Thursday, they will be able to begin terminating contracts and waiving players. On Friday, they will be able to start signing players to their rosters.
There are a lot questions surrounding the Miami Dolphins this off-season and none will be as scrutinized as what they do with their QB situation where they currently have Chad Henne and Tom Brandstater. Tyler Thigpen will be an unrestricted free agent and will likely join the Buffalo Bills in the next week or so if rumors hold true. The Dolphins will also have to deal with the Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Patrick Cobbs situation. It is very possible that all three will play elsewhere next season.
Miami may not re-sign any of their free agents this year and opt instead to look at the availability of the free agent market to find players for their system.
Stay tuned for what will surely become known as NFL Hell Week!