All over the NFL landscape, teams are re-structuring the contracts of their own players, signing others to longer deals, cutting a few here and there, and re-signing their own free agents. In Miami? It’s quiet. Nary a word. Not about Peyton Manning, not about getting some guys either under contract or reducing their cap hits for the 2012 season. To me, that is a bit surprisings.
In four days, the NFL will kick-off it’s annual feeding frenzy known as free agency. Teams will need to be under or at the NFL salary cap (a number that is still unknown). So why haven’t the Dolphins been working at creating some salary cap space in anticipation of the league new year?
In the secondary the Dolphins are in need of an upgrade and to be honest the fact that they have not worked out a new deal for safety Yeremiah Bell has me perplexed…and a little concerned. The Dolphins under Jeff Ireland rarely do anything without a plan in place or a back-up. So what gives with Bell? By reworking his deal, the Dolphins could save a considerable amount of money. Bell is scheduled to make over 6 million this season. Why not restructure that deal and reduce the cap hit? The fact they haven’t yet tells me one of two things. Either they have no desire to and will eat the contract or will cut him and save about 2.5 million.
On the offensive line Anthony Fasano has become a go to TE but he is scheduled to make over 4 million this season. Another candidate for an extension with a portion of his deal converted to a roster or signing bonus. Thus saving money on this years cap. The same can be said about a number of other players as well. The biggest name of course is Jake Long.
Long will be a free agent in 2013 and the Dolphins will need to decide if his health is worth the investment. When he is healthy no one beats him on the outside, when he is not healthy he tends to play through it and is less than stellar but still better than most LT’s in the NFL. So why haven’t the Dolphins started addressing the Long contract? Jake will pull in more than 50 million on his next deal with a sizable portion of that guaranteed. The Dolphins still could back-end quite a bit of the base salary and give Jake the guaranteed portions up front spreading out the guaranteed portions over the deal. Such a restructure could significantly lower his 2012 cap number.
The Dolphins rarely discuss internal matters with the media but that is not the case with agents, friends, and so-called “sources”. If the Dolphins were talking deals, it’s likely someone would have “tweeted” it by now.
In addition to the names above, Reggie Bush will count 4 million against the cap in his final season, Karlos Dansby will eat almost 9 million of cap space. Both players still have lengthy careers ahead of them and there is no reason that extensions can’t drop those numbers this season. Dan Carpenter is another player who could save the Dolphins some money. He is scheduled to make over 2 million this season. Carpenter has proven himself as a clutch kicker and could be signed to a longer deal as well.
The point is that while some players won’t get extensions and others will be asked to take pay cuts, the Dolphins at this point are doing neither. Instead, the are quietly going about their daily business. That business also doesn’t appear to be covering their own free agents this off-season. Led by Vernon Carey, Kendall Langford, and Pro-Bowler Paul Soliai the Dolphins will have to go to the free agent pool to replace who they lose or fill in from the draft next month. Regardless, it’s still surprising that the team has opted thus far to not at least look at some of these players are returnees who could help fill depth roles on the team.
As I said at the outset, there is 4 more days until free agency and the weekend could change the structure of the team as well as the salary cap space the team has, it’s just a little odd that the team seems to be cutting their financial situation so close.