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Reasons Dolphins might not cut Ernest Wilford

The Dolphins personnel department got lots of things absolutely right in 2008. Signing receiver Ernest Wilford as an unrestricted free agent was not one of them.

And while just about any fan would say the best way to correct the mistake is to simply cut Wilford this offseason, the Dolphins have not and might not be able to take that quick road to redemption with their enigmatic receiver.

The reason? NFL accounting rules have changed this offseason and that means teams, including Miami, must immediately account for the salary cap consequences of the moves they make. The fact there is no scheduled salary cap in 2010 has forced the NFL to change rules and one rule change is that teams can no longer defer the cap hit for a player into next year by releasing the player after June 1.

If a team releases a player this offseason, be it before, on, or after June 1, the entire amount of prorated guaranteed money comes due immediately.

So what does that mean to Miami as it pertains to Wilford?

Well, believe it or not, it would cost the Dolphins more money to cut Wilford in 2009 than to keep him on the roster. Here's how it works:

Wilford signed a four-year, $13 million contract last February that included $6 million in guaranteed signing bonus. Wilford, who caught only three passes all season, is due $1.5 million in 2009 base salary. Add the $1.5 million he costs the team in prorated bonus -- $6 million divided by 4 years = $1.5 million per year -- and his 2009 salary cap number if he stays with the team is $3 million.

But because the new rules would force the Dolphins to absorb the entire proration for all three remaining years of Wilford's contract if he is cut, he would cost the team $4.5 million against the cap were the team to simply get rid of him. That figure is the yearly $1.5 million prorated portion of his bonus multiplied by the deal's three remaining years.

Is that crazy? The Dolphins would actually cost themselves $1.5 million in cap space by cutting Wilford versus keeping him, an empty space costing more than one occupied by Wilford.

The numbers are simply against the Dolphins this year. It makes more financial sense for them to take Wilford to training camp and try, hope, pray, to get something out of the guy. Maybe he suddenly gets it and contributes. Maybe some other receiver-hungry team comes calling and the Dolphins can trade Wilford and his contract for a draft pick.

But simply whack the guy? The desire to make a produce-or-else point would have to be great because the cap consequences suggest it shouldn't be done.

One more thing: The numbers are in Wilford's favor this year, but they turn after this season, assuming there is a salary cap in 2010 and beyond. (One would have to be collectively bargained, as none is currently scheduled.)

Keeping Wilford for 2010 would cost the Dolphins $3.5 million against the cap, or $2 million in his scheduled base salary plus the $1.5 million bonus proration. But cutting Wilford would cost the Dolphins $3 million in cap space, a savings of $500,000.

In 2011 the situation grows more dire for Wilford and I would say he'll never see that season in a Miami uniform. He would cost the Dolphins $4 million in cap space that year, but only $1.5 million if the team cuts him. That year, Ernest will not go to camp.

This year, meanwhile, the numbers say he probably will.

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Everybody ,isn't amazing how the only other poster who used to post in caps was MONALIZA AKA CUBAN MENACE and we havn't seen or heard from him in while,now we have a new poster who writes in caps by the name of J-R , LOL . GOTCHA

wilford is the same guy from virginia tech that dropped game winner against miami in '01.. just 4 that i think he deserves a raise :D

lol okay first of all i am not CUBAN MENACE or whatever his name is I am original J-P and if you look at the stuff i've wriiten they are more intelligent and stuff I actually looked up compared to the stuff that the menace has written. Don't worry i've accepted your apologies for the confusion but seriously I am not the menace to the blog site I am a loyal dolphin fan that loves an honest and good argument when it come's to my WONDERFUL DOLPHINS. AND I DON'T KNOW IF I SAID THIS ALREADY BUT I AM NOT CUBAN MENACE.

AND 1 MORE THING I DID SAY DORELL DIDN'T DO A GREAT JOB BUT I ALSO SAID HE DID WHAT HE CAN WITH WHAT HE HAD. MY OPINION JUST STATES THAT ANOTHER COACH WHO COACHES PRO BOWLERS AND FUTURE PRO BOWLERS WOULD HAVE DONE BETTER. AGAIN SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION.

I think Wilford is still a long shot to be on the roster come September. His contract won't give him a free ride that far, however most likely it will get him to training camp and then its always possible he could look much better and convince the Dolphins to keep him.
It’s not really true that cutting him would be more expensive. In the long term it is cheaper. While he would count 1.5 million more against the cap this year, he would then be off the books which would save 3 or 3.5 million next year (assuming there still is a cap of course).
So there is no incentive for Miami to cut him in the near future. Keep him till training camp just in case they need the extra 1.5 million in cap space. That way the Dolphins also get to see if he can make an amazing turn around and prove he is actually worth keeping. However, once we get to the training camp cuts, assuming the Dolphins have sufficient cap space to absorb the hit this year, then in the long term cutting him is the cheapest option.

Just reading some of the comments, I guess Dat Roro Kid would have us believe Mando signs in as Tinshaker, and Dolfan Denny, and Chris J Nelson and NJ Phinfan,and Woodrow,and Reene Rodriguez, and Joe, and STefin and DC Finatic and, of course, ME!

Kid, you got issues buddy. I see punks like you on the street every day and I would bet you didn't have a father

Ok CUBAN , i mean J-P . lol. good my headache is starting to feel better already.

If getting rid of Wilford would be cost prohibitive, I imagine the same is true of a loser such as Jason Allen. Sucks!

Excellent post, Mando.

My only problem with any of this is that Bill Parcells has never been a great evaluator of WR talent. Terry Gleen was not his call. T.O. was not his call. Keyshawn Johnson was not his draft pick.

Meanwhile, he signed Wilford. Hmmmm.

Maybe he should call me because I would offer this advice: Trade for Anquan Boldin or draft Hakeem Nicks. Done. Problem solved.

HOW BIG IS HAKEEM NICKS WILLI CHIRINO?

FINE I CAN ANSWER THAT. 6'1 210 LBS WITH SURE HANDS AND GOOD BREAKAWAY SPEED.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2ikDsi-DJA. THIS IS THE RECEIVER WE ARE LOOKING FOR.

OR WE CAN TAKE HIS TEAMMATE BRANDON TATE. I KNOW HE AN INJURY BUT REGGIE WAYNE HAD THE SAME INJURY AND CAME BACK EVEN BETTER. THEY DON'T MAKE RECEIVERS LIKE WAYNE BUT TATE IS PROBABLY A ONE OF A KIND RECEIVER WHO PLAYS IN A SCHOOL THAT EVERYONE DOESN'T REALLY HEAR TOO MUCH FROM WHEN IT COMES TO FOOTBALL(UNC). I APOLOGIZE ARMANDO I KNOW THIS BLOG IS ABOUT NOT HAVING WILFORD.

Hey willi. how do you have all this time to be a waana be gm with the 3 fortune 500 companies that you own lol.

JP, you mistake me for someone interested in dialogue with you.

Mando, I wish my blog was informative as yours just once. On the other hand, I cannot overcome my cluttered mindlessness while this post clearly proves you are able to do math.

"Ernest will not go to camp" I miss Jim Varney RIP

Its pretty sad when a guy who has a chance to play pro football,(something some guys would give anything just for a chance), gets paid huge money and then just waste everything by giving poor effort and lame attitude. The first thing that comes to my mind is who gave this guy the contract, he should pay wilfords salary out of his own money for such a bad decision. With not much choice( I dont see any team trading for him) I would say cut my losses and move on and learn from this bad mistake.

Can someone closer to the situation please explain what happened with Wilford this year? As a Dolphin fan living in Jacksonville I was excited when Wilford went to Miami. Wilford isn't fast but he always seemed to be the guy who made the clutch catch on 3rd down.

JAX FIN FAN. I TRIED TO EXPLAIN THAT MAYBE JUST MAYBE IT'S THE COACHING BUT I GOT YELLED AT SO MAYBE YOU CAN TELL THEM HOW HE PLAYED IN JACKSONVILLE.

I promise I'll do better this year... I'll catch more catches from the bench..

you guys kill me

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