Three players dominate Dolphins future salary cap


The Miami Dolphins have trimmed enough from their roster to get below this years salary cap but what does the team look like for the future? Many contracts will expire and not all of them will be re-signed leaving the Dolphins with plenty of money for the future.

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2016 is going to be a tight season and depending on what they do this off-season, their salary cap will be obviously affected in 2017, 18, and 19. We know where we are at with the 2016 salary cap without awaiting releases. Here is a look at the following three seasons for the Dolphins.


The Dolphins have $96 million already allocated to the 2017 salary cap. Ryan Tannehill accounts for the most with $20 million which is why all of the off-season chatter regarding Tannehill centers on his production in 2016. If Tannehill plays up to the teams expectations, his contract will be reworked as nothing in Tannehill’s contract is guaranteed after the 2016 season. Miami will not pay Tannehill $20 million in 2017. Releasing him will save the team $13 million in cap space.

Obviously the big price tag with guarantees is going to go to Ndamukong Suh and his $15 milliion salary cap hit in 2017 could be higher if the Dolphins change some of his 2016 salary to guarantees. By as much as $4 million each of the next few years.

Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey, and Brent Grimes round out the Dolphins higher priced salaries with Albert making $10 million and Pouncey and Grimes both making $8 million. Grimes will not likely see that contract end. He might not make it to the start of the 2016 season.

The bigger issue with 2017 is that Miami has only 24 players under contract for the 2017 season which means that the 2017 off-season is going to be busy for the team. If the salary cap stays the same or raises by another $5 million, Miami will be looking to add a plethora of players heading into 2017 but it’s important to note that most of the players that will be added to the team this year, including their draft picks will be added to the “under contract” list.


11 players are under contract currently for the 2018 season. This is not abnormal as teams always have thin rosters two and three years down the road. Miami will be saddled with high contracts however with Ndamukong Suh accounting for $22 million and Ryan Tannehill at $19 million. Like 2017, Tannehill’s numbers are going to be predicated on what happens to him after the 2016 season.

Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey are both under contract at $11 and $9 million repectively. Albert may not see this year if injuries persist or his play declines. Pouncey will likely be restructured at some point prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Of the other contracted players, all are entering there 2nd season in the NFL in 2016. The Dolphins have already allocated $70 million towards the cap in 2018 but that of course will change considerably this year as players are added and dropped as well as the 2017 off-season. It just gives you an idea of where the money is going to. $70 million on basically four players.


The Dolphins are as of now committed to $53 million in 2019 and like everything else that will change considerably before the season ever arrives. Only three players are currently under contract through 2019. Suh, Tannehill, and Pouncey. Suh accounts for $24 million, Tannehill $21 million, and Pouncey $8 million. So we are talking about $53 million being spent on three players.

The purpose of this is nothing more than a look at the future cap situation without any new additions, subtractions, restructures, or draft picks. Miami will need to make decisions on a few players but specifically, Ryan Tannehill’s contract is the biggest question mark because again, after the 2016 season he has no more guarantees to be paid out. In 2020, the same three players are under contract from 2019 and the total committed salary is $46 million. There would be no cap hit for releasing any of those players in 2020 and only marginal hits if the players are released prior to the 2019 season. It’s very likely that Ndamukong Suh will play his final season in Miami in 2018.

Suh’s contract, if not restructured in any way, would basically give Miami huge cap relief with only a couple million in dead money prior to the 2019 season.