The Miami Dolphins are not in a bad salary cap situation but that doesn’t mean they won’t try and trim their roster to make more room. Across the NFL, teams are starting to do just that. Already we have seen both Green Bay and Houston cut their starting centers from last season.
Between now and the start of free agency on March 17th, teams will need to get their rosters under the salary cap and some teams are well above the projected $180 million number. The Dolphins are not but that doesn’t mean they won’t try and create more space.
Miami extended placekicker Jason Sanders earlier this month. His contract has a negligible hit on the cap this year but Miami has to make decisions on their own impending free agents as well as their roster and then decide what they need to do to create more.
Miami should fall somewhere between $25 and $30 million in cap room and again, they can create more with some contract restructures and releases.
We have speculated on when the Dolphins may begin working towards getting some players on their final years under longer term contracts. Miami has a few, like Jerome Baker and Emmanuel Ogbah on defense and Mike Gesicki on offense that are in the final years of their contract. It would seem to make sense to get deals done now but this year is problamatic.
The NFL will see a significant increase in cap space for the 2022 season. This year is low because of the COVID situation last year and the deal made with the NFLPA regarding opting out and payouts. The league will be negotiating new network contracts as well.
All of this points to a lot of money to spend in 2022 and that means teams will likely be frugal with their spending this off-season. Some because they have to and others because it makes good business sense.
That is not to say that Miami won’t play big in free agency or extend players this year but I would guess a lot of that money will be floated to the 2022 cap instead of the 2021 with high 2nd year guarantees.
When it comes to players Miami may cut, I doubt we see anything significant until the week leading up to free agency. I would expect Miami to look at moving players via trade first or restructuring where they can. Since the Dolphins don’t need the cap space, they can be a little more patient and they should be patient.
I don’t anticipate a lot of moves being made between now and mid-March. Unless the Dolphins have to create quick cap room or a player asks for an early release, we shouldn’t see Miami doing too much for the immediate future.