Dolphins not in a position to randomly trade to fill holes
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have been hit by injuries this month at training camp. They have lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan for the year. They have holes that need filled.
When looking at the Miami Dolphins roster you have to wonder what direction the team will go this year. Tannehill has been replaced by Jay Cutler and Miami could spend as much as $13 million on his contract in 2017. That money could have gone somewhere else and it creates a problem.
Depending on how you read the estimated tables on Spotrac.com, the Dolphins have between $5 million and $12 million to play with in cap space. That isn’t great for a team that is going to need to add bodies but at the same time keep some money available for the entire season as injuries will happen.
Most notably the Miami Dolphins have holes at linebacker where McMillan is out and Misi is out. Both for the season. Many Dolphins fans are hoping Miami will trade for a linebacker but salary cap doesn’t really make that a possibility. At least not on a starting type of player. Factor in the compensation to the other team and it becomes a bit more complicated.
On the offensive line injuries have hit Ja’Wuan James, he returned to practice today, and more specifically Ted Larsen who will miss weeks of the regular season with a torn biceps. Miami is thin with veteran guard talent but ask around social media and many believe the Dolphins should be trying to sign Branden Albert to play guard. Albert was released last week by the Jaguars after retiring and then un-retiring.
Albert is a unique player who might have been willing to slide inside but he isn’t coming back to Miami for league minimum money. One hang-up with the Jaguars is that he wanted a new contract. Even if he did return, Albert’s injury history makes him unreliable for a full season.
While Mike Pouncey returned to contact practices on Monday, the Dolphins still have to be concerned about his health this season and Miami is a different team when Pouncey is not on the field. This could potentially pose a problem in 2017 if he can’t stay healthy.
The NFL did the players a favor this year by allowing all players to remain on pre-season rosters until one big cut from 90 to 53. This will put over 1,000 players on the free agent market in one single day. Veterans, drafted and undrafted rookies, players with injury designations and more. There will be plenty of options after week four of the pre-season.
When the rosters drop to 53 however don’t expect Miami to make major moves to claim waived veterans. Under the current CBA any veteran on an opening day roster will have salary for the season guaranteed. That means teams are more likely to wait until the Monday after opening weekend to sign veteran players when their contracts will not be guaranteed.
The good news for the Miami Dolphins is that their holes are fixable. Mike Hull is practicing really well in place of McMillan and the Dolphins don’t anticipate using a three linebacker set as much as they will a two LB set. On the offensive line some players are starting to step up including Anthony Steen who could be in line for work at guard as well.
Miami has three more weeks before the pre-season ends and they start working on the regular season but if you are expecting a big trade from Mike Tannenbaum and company, money, for now, is an issue.