Hoist the flags, throw up the banners, call the “FireLand Mafia“, this isn’t going to be pretty! The Miami Dolphins have four million dollars in cap space today after signing their practice squad players. They want to add a receiver or two, should add another cornerback, and probably an offensive lineman. That’s a lot to fit into four mill. The bigger issue for the Dolphins isn’t the money they can spend, a few trims here and there could save a bit more, no the bigger issue is where the hell did it all go?
For a team that is 126 million spent on a 130 million cap, they seem to be void of stellar talent. Across the board.
Jake Long is the highest paid Miami Dolphin at 12.8 million followed closely behind by Karlos Dansby‘s 11.5 million dollar salary. At first glance, Long is expected to make that kind of dough and the Dolphins will get a reprieve on that next year when Long becomes a free agent. The Dolphins will likely sign Jake Long but his contract, like most these days will carry a big signing bonus and will be back loaded keeping the first two seasons of cap space lower. Dansby on the other hand has not come close to the value of his deal. Those fans wanting to see Dansby shipped out have a better understanding now as to why that hasn’t happened. Who wants to eat 11 million dollars of cap room for a guy that plays at around half that?
Reggie Bush comes in next at around six million followed by Kevin Burnett at 5.3 and Randy Starks at 5. Looking at the rest of the team, it’s amazing how far the salary drop is from Dansby to Bush and down. Five million separate the 2nd highest player from the third.
Twenty-four players make over a million dollars a year on this team. Paul Soliai, Richie Incognito, Anthony Fasano, and Tony McDaniel sit in the four million dollar range. Does anyone believe that Fasano deserves four million a year? A solid blocker yes but his inconsistency in the passing game will be far more tested this year in the WCO. I am still trying to wrap my mind around the four million being paid to McDaniel.
The three million dollar men consist of David Garrard, Richard Marshall, Davone Bess, and Jared Odrick. Garrard’s salary at this point isn’t guaranteed until the first weekend of football but his value isn’t necessarily on the field as much as it is in the film room with Tannehill.
Dropping to two million we find Dan Carpenter, Cameron Wake, Mike Pouncey, and Ryan Tannheill. Obviously the Wake contract is back loaded so the Dolphins will need to make a decision on him down the road when his cap number escalates but it points out the value the team is getting this year in that deal.
Rounding out our million dollar team are Nate Garner, Brandon Fields, Artis Hicks, Brian Hartline, Koa Misi, and Chris Clemons.
The rest of the team are below a million at various ranges from 900 thousand to 390 due to Javorskie Lane. The biggest name on that list is Sean Smith at 851 a year. He is likely to see the million dollar mark next season as he becomes a free agent. His play this season will dictate his salary in the future. With Miami or not.
The Dolphins are currently spending about 600 thousand on two players. One on IR, Kelcey Mcray and the other the PUP list, Jonas Gray. They are spending about a thousand more than that on the 8 man practice squad. Around 750 thousand.
Then the bomb drops. The Dolphins are sitting on a cap hit of 15 million for dead money. All told, the salaries of the active 53 man roster add up to about 109 million dollars of the 130 million dollar cap. That 15 mill of dead money is huge.
5.5 million to Brandon Marshall. 4.8 to Vernon Carey. 1.8 to Yeremiah Bell. 1.1 to Vontae Davis. The rest of the dead money is spread out over the remaining contracts of 42 players. Most of the money is nickel and dime stuff. Single 4 digit signing bonuses and a some 5 digit bonuses. In reality the dead money numbers are not out of this world bad when you look at the individual player, it’s just the fact that there are so many of those individuals. It adds up.
The good news for the Dolphins is that those numbers will fall off the cap next season. The bad news is more will be added. How much is unknown.
It’s hard to look at a team that is expected to finish at or near the bottom of the league and the division and then see that they are sitting at the bottom of team spending especially when you consider the upper side of the cap space and see teams like Kansas City with 26 million under the cap and Philadelphia around 20 million to spend. Something doesn’t add up.
Jeff Ireland is responsible for the management of the team and the salary spending. Already under the gun for missed draft picks, bad decisions with personnel, and a sever image issue, the salary cap problems are only going to further lend credence to the already inflating distrust given to the man. How does one justify spending to the limit of the salary cap on a team that is void of standout names and performers? You can’t.
For all the support that I have given Ireland here on this site this is the one area that I can’t agree with. The talent level needs to be better. Without having intimate knowledge of certain areas of the team or the future contracts and how they accounts towards the cap in future years, it’s difficult to say if the numbers presented cloud over a better situation for next season. I also have to wonder if it is better to eat the 12 million given to Jake Long this year as opposed to re-working his contract to save money this year when there is no real option on the market to greatly improve the team. Regardless next season Long is going to want a bigger check on his next deal.
For now there isn’t much to say other than the fact, which can’t really be argued, is that the Dolphins lack talent in several areas of the field and the cap numbers do not support a team missing so many pieces. I’m not a “capologist” by any means and my opinion only reflects the numbers themselves, not the money saved, bonus’s paid, pro-rated bonuses, or base salaries. Only the total number that eats at the cap.