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Dolphins break the free agent bank record

The Dolphins reported no free agent visits Tuesday. Fact is, they haven't had an unrestricted or restricted free agent visit since Demarcus Faggins did so on March 18.

So is it fair to believe the Dolphins are pretty much done with free agency for 2009?

"I wouldn't say we're done," general manager Jeff Ireland said. "You never know what's going to fall off the tree. In that case, you're not done."

The Dolphins piggy bank, tired and not nearly as fat as it once was, hopes Ireland gives it a break. That's because the team has already spent more money during this free agency period than in any previous year since free agency began in 1992, according to figures from the NFL Players Association.

Despite having a reputation for being cheap fiscally conservative, Bill Parcells has given the green light on approximately $136* million in free agent contracts so far. While that doesn't come close to the $142* million the Jets spent last season, it is a Miami club record. The Dolphins added 11 free agents a year ago to contracts worth a reported $103.6* million, which broke the previous record set in 2006.

Safety Gibril Wilson and center Jake Grove cost a combined $57 million. There was the re-signing of safety Yeremiah Bell, offensive tackle Vernon Carey and linebacker Channing Crowder, which coach Tony Sparano has said was an investment of  "$70 million on three players to make sure those players were here."

Then there was the combined $9 million more on cornerback Eric Green and offensive lineman Joe Berger.

Do the math. Carry the one, that's $136 million spent by Miami on unrestricted or soon-to-be unrestricted free agents this offseason. And that is so far because although Ireland doesn't expect it, a player can unexpectedly become available much the way Chad Pennington suddenly became available last season.

"Never say never," Ireland said. "You never know when someone falls off a tree and you might go down that road."

Jason Taylor, perhaps?

[*No team pays every cent it is committed to paying, as sometimes players are cut, traded or retire before the end of their contracts. But this figure relates the total amount of money the team has agreed to pay through the end of every contract signed.]

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