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The looming issues with contracts, salary cap

Talking to a Dolphins club source recently the subject of salary cap space came up.

"We're not in great shape but we're not in terrible shape," he said. "We're middle of the pack."

I am waiting on the current NFL cap numbers, but I estimate the Dolphins have approximately $10 million in cap space at this writing. So what to do with that cap space?

Free agency is over. But the Dolphins want to give themselves wiggle room in case any other "acorns" fall off a tree. If a player comes become available, as Chad Pennington unexpectedly did last season, the Dolphins want the cap room so they can be active in that market.

The club also has to sign its draft picks, needs to budget for a practice squad, and then there's the other thing:

The Dolphins have about a dozen free agents next year. The club cannot and will not re-sign all of them. But the team would like to re-sign some of them. And general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Sparano already know which of those players they want to re-sign. They have a plan.

Of course they do, you're muttering.

Well, don't take that for granted. The fact is the Dolphins consider themselves to have an advantage over this time last year relative to their looming unrestricted free agents. Last year at this time, the new regime didn't really know its players.

Yes, Yeremiah Bell was healthy again but he had been able to play only 21 percent of the downs the previous four seasons. And the team didn't know about the player. They didn't know his work ethic and desire. So they could not and did not commit to signing him early.

Bell eventually proved himself to the club but, by the time he did, it cost more to give him a new contract in March than it would have prior to the season. The price had gone up and the Dolphins, through no fault of their own because they were playing it safe, had to pay the premium.

This offseason, Bill Parcells and his crew know their players. So they know which to prioritize.

This is an important subject because we're talking about some very valuable players that are unsigned. RB Ronnie Brown can become a free agent after 2009, so can QB Chad Pennington, CB Will Allen, OLB Matt Roth, tight ends Anthony Fasano and David Martin.

In the coming months, prior to the start of the season, the Dolphins hope to lock up some of these guys. It's not an easy situation made more uncertain by the current NFL labor situation.

Understand that unless a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, the 2010 season will included an uncapped salary situation. But that also changes the rules of the game for free agency. Suddenly players with less than six years of experience become restricted instead of unrestricted. And teams get multiple vehicles for tying up players -- such as transition and franchise tags.

That will be interesting to see play out. But the Dolphins are operating under the assumption their will be an agreement and rules will remain the same. For their purposes they're playing this as if all of their scheduled unrestricted free agents will, indeed, be free.

So here is the scenario for you. I have just appointed you Miami's GM (I have that power, you know) and now it is your job to handle finite cap space prior to the start of the season. How do you handle it?

How much space do budget for an "acorn?" Do you try to re-sign some of the pending free agents? Which ones are your priority, realizing you can't re-sign them all? And what do you do with Chad Pennington?

He's the starting QB now. He might not be in 2010. Do you let him go into 2009 without a new contract? Do you tell him he's the backup and offer backup money for 2010 -- knowing he's probably not likely to take that?

The Dolphins need advice. What the heck should they do? 

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Isn't 2010 supposed to be an "uncapped" year? Then why worry about the "looming salary cap issues"??

sign penne for 4 years
let henne walk and get 2 draft pick for him
let brown walk and get third pick for him
get vick as back up for penne
sign boldon for 6-8 million per year for no more than 3 years

super bowl ring in 2010

Dolphins4life. Fasano is nice but expendable ? are you kidding me ? Then in the same comment you say he has upside: young ,tough and can block. How about proven and experienced ? and to say fasano was a product of pennington's arm is wrong. . fasano took what the defense gave miami. fasano was real good in college catching deeper balls from a strong armed brady quinn. You want to go into a year with 2 unproven/project te's in nalbone and haynos. then if they don't work out , waste another draft pick on a te . The majority of opinion is to keep fasano. but i guess that's your opinion. Maybe it's because he's from jersey. LOL. I know so is nalbone.

dolphin4life. also how far do you think haynos( who's slow/ good re zone target ) and nalbone can strech the field/seam ? Not much or anymore than fasano. Fasano will be re-signed. you can bet on it. Miami like to use 2 te sets. You need 3 te's on the roster.

NJphinfan

This is all hypothetical you know fake GM?
I like Fasano but I dont beleive he is a must resign...The PRICE must be right and if he wants top dollar (most players do)then I have no problem that we can plug in another TE and let him walk. It's not like the offense is built around him. The recievers we just drafted and the added element of Pat White running the offense, again it will be iteresing to see how they use Fasano. The ball will be spread out more this year than last. He won't get seven tds this year I will bet on that.
Yes he maybe signed before the season even begins, cool. But I'm interested in seeing the new draft picks at WR and TE and how they do.

BTW do you have any opinion of your own that you are willing to share on who should be resigned...because I all see is you piggy backing off of someone elses comments.

Play fake GM lets see who you would resign and not. Fasano is a given, but who else? Actually I don't care but give it a try if you want.

Sammy

Are you crazy?
sign penne for 4 years
let henne walk and get 2 draft pick for him
let brown walk and get third pick for him
get vick as back up for penne
sign boldon for 6-8 million per year for no more than 3 years
Superbowl in 2010?
Are you mad? LOL

The Dolphins just resigned first down machine Lousaka Polite to a 2 year deal

Dolphin4life. I'm piggy backing off other opinions ? are you serious ? are you kidding me . I posted yesterday about this story , the first time i had a chance. I mentioned that miami should sign fasano , roth and brown ( only at the right price ). Do your research. then i had people agreeing with me. see soulja post.

If the Cuban Menace is out there, could you humor us with a funny story about tazering someone?

Here's some more on fasano. fasano averaged 13.4 yards per catch. Compare it to other top 10 te's : A.gates-11.7 , j.witten-11.8 , O.Daniels-12.3 , C.Chooley-10.2 , T .gonzalez-11.0 , D.Clark-11-0 and only Z.Miller at 13.9 yds per catch was a litte better. Not to shabby for a guy who was a product of penny's arm. LOL. By the way , i did this research on my own and didn't piggy back off anyone. LMAO !

Doplhin4life,
you should know that i won last year football tournament among 550 people and i came up with many ideas fo the draft and it came true, just try to fair even if you don't agree,try to learn to be out of the box guy. the other thing is, vick's best years ahead of him

How about how Fasano bossed his way in the end zone to win that K.C. game? That type of effort doesn't show up on the stat sheet!

soulj,who named you " goat " ?

soulja. exactly. The man had 34 catches for 450 ys sharing catches with another te catching over 400 yds. Fasano was miami offense for awhile . The man must be re-signed. He's a freaking warrior !

DOlphin4life, has a point about nj phin never gives his own thing, he always comes in with other people ideas with a twist of his own

If it isn't our good friend sammy , OH ! I mean the cuban menace.

what cuban ? where's that came from NJ ?

NJphinfan

Thanks for the stats my point exactly. Those numbers are what Fasano's agent is gonna take to the bargaining table...the agents job is to get his clients top dollar and then some.
Do I sign him if hes trying to get Witten or Gates money...hell no. Now if he wants mid level then I say yes, but his agent is gonna see the same thing you said and use that as leverage, isnt that his job? So what would you do as GM? He is not in Witten or Gates class, then what do you pay him?

Sammy

I thought it was you...Mike Vick huhh? Trade Henne huh? sounds like that is thinking way outside the box but who knows? Your the GM on this blog or at least the thread you posted.
Stranger things have happened.

Dolphins4life. your point was that fasano is expendable. Good young players on the rise aren't expendable. Miami showed it wants to keep it's good young players this year ( I.e crowder and carey ) and they showed the want to stay . Fasano and the tuna know each other real well. as far as comparing fasano to gates and witten where money is concerned isn't fair. witten and gates have done alot longer than fasano. His agent and the tuna now better.

NJ ,your point of gates did more than fasano, i do like but what did witten do more than fasano ? what's your thoughts of getting vick and let henne walks ?

NJ PHIN FAN!!!

Dolphins4life is right!!! You haven't said sh*t about your own opinion!!!

All YOU did was USE EVERY DOLPHIN in Mando's article and re-signed them!!! what a f*ckin retard! He just said you COULDN'T resign all of them!!

Go read some hockey blogs or something cuz football is not your thing big guy!

P.S. Go ahead and come back at me cuz I WON'T respond you cheese d*ck

Falconbella2. Who Gayer ? You or your Husband ?

P.S. Menace/falconballa2 . what the hell are talking about ? who said anything about signing all of them Moron. we were talking about fasano. now go back to mommy's basement and suck on your milk bottle.

Falcoonbella, he's not only gay, he's bi

falconballa2. You are the same F'n retarted idiot that wants miami to sign pac-man jones. LMAO ! That says it all. LOL ! what a D*ckhead !

yessssss, Falconbella2 is a D* ck head and bi too

soulj could be very well..falconbell2

Menace . i know it's you . can you use P.S. in anymore of your comments ?

my faucet just broke, NJ ,would you help me please ?

It is too early to be able to decide who to keep and who to let go of. We haven't even seen the new rookies in action except in the recent rookie mini camp and that was somewhat meaningless because there was no contact and no pads. Who stays and who goes will be detremined by how the rookies perform. That being said, Ronnie Brown to get a big payday, will have to show that he deserves a big payday. If he has an average season in 09, then he should not be resigned. This applies to all the free agents.....how they perform in 09 will determine whether they return in 2010.

menace, nj wants to know if he borrow your security guard flashlight.

NJ PHIN FAN,

You think you are better cause you own a business. f'n retard.

mr bunglito , go to the polite post,there's a lot of fun there

NJPHINFAN,

I am so angry I wish I could strangle you. AHHHH AHHHHH

I am a little surprised at everyone thinking we are secure enough at QB with Henne and White to dump CP.The Jets thought the same thing and look what it got them. Lets face it if the Jets had CP last year they were in and we were out. I love sporano and Parcells but without CP last year they win 3 or 4 games. The league is full of QBs that the ball jumps out of there hand but they seldom reach the promised land. CP made Eric Mangini when he came back in Manginis first year and then they blew up the O-Line and laid the blame on CP.All he does is when games and exhibit great leadership. Just remember be careful what you wish for. With White Brown is expendable in the Wildcat and we can get a stronger RB but Pennington must stay because all you have is Henne and CP at QB. I watched Pat White for 4 yrs. and he is not a pro QB he will be a specialist in the NFL. Mark my words they drafted him for the wildcat offense not as a full time QB.

NJPHINFAN

Cool.

Nice but expendable was the quote FalconBalla2 stated earlier and I just thought it summised my point. Nice: Fasano is a "warrior" (njphin), young etc...Expendable in that if he wants anything other than mid level money not sure I would do it as fake gm. That said Parcells will probably resign him, but for how much?
Do you let Fasano play out his contract year because contract seasons are usally a players best? Or sign him early possible for less if he does not sign till after the season and he has a good year because its his contract season? Any way good points all around NJersey see what happens.

Dolphins4life. no matter how much we argue (LMAO!) it's always good to hear( READ) from you. I do value your FOOTBALL ONLY ! ( lol) opinions and comments. Thank you for the kind words. That being said i would much rather sign fasano sooner that later. No doubt about it. Like you said i fear him having a big year, this being his contract year. Miami loves to utilize the te in their offense , especially with an improved OL this year.

My prediction is that Chad Pennington will have a pro bowl type year, along with Ronnie Brown.

So the obvious is to resign Ronnie to a long term deal (probably now rather then after the season) and Pennington to atleast a 3yr deal.

Chad is too motivated and too consistant for these writers to be writing him off, the coaches know what the real situation is and he has 3 to 4 real good years left.

Pat White will be used in the wild cat, so we'll get to see him go to work and Henne is a valuable backup. Thats whats it is, there's no "Henne will be the starter next year talk", thats not how it works. All he really has over Pennington is arm strength, the reality is that Chad is the better QB and he's too motivated to give up the spot that easily.

I trust his knowledge of the game and accuracy (most accurate QB in NFL history), calmness and control of the game to go along with his great attitude and leadership.
The same goes with Ronnie Brown.

Fasano is one of the best young TE in the league and will be re-signed as well.

Roth will be gone and Will Allen's situation will depend on how fast our two young corners develop. He's a solid CB but the two young Corners we picked up have more game changing play ability, its just a matter of how fast will they develop.

The following is the Pre-Draft and Post-Draft comments that I made to Edgar Thompson of the PB Post earlier this year. I think that Dolphins should offer Chad Pennington a 2-yr. contract extension as long as he understands that the QB situation will be a competition both this year and the next two years.

I believe Tony Fasano should also be offered an extension this summer and if he doesn't take the offer (and I think he will) then you put the franchise tag on him at the end of 2009. Joey Haynos, John Nalbone, and Jared Bronson should compete in 2009 to see which two TEs will replace David Martin, when ever he is replaced (either 2009 or 2010.)

I think, Ronnie Brown should be offered an extension this year and depending what happens with the Fasano offer you could place the franchise tag on Ronnie Brown if Fasano is signed.
At least try to get something for them in next year's draft. The PB Post comments follow:

1.Samdolphin Says:
April 5th, 2009 at 4:36 pm
Edgar: If I had $1.1B invested in a team, I would want to know that a through process was in place to select the future players.
If we take notes on what Ireland and Sparano have said lately you can get an idea what they will draft according to the best player available at one of their key positions of need. Sparano earmarked an OLB,ILB,CB,OL,WR and DT as primary positions of concern. That doesn’t leave much else? Some of the else positions that they did not mention was:
QB- Pennington’s contract is complete 2009 and who knows what he will want to do? John Beck’s contract is complete at the end of 2009 and I don’t think the Dolphins will give him another.They will trade him before the 2009 draft if they can get a trade partner. A new young QB may be drafted in 2009.
TE- Tony Fasano’s and Martin’s contracts are complete in 2009 leaving only Joey Haynos as TE. I am sure that Fasano’s contract will try to be extended this next off-season or before this year is complete depending what kind of year Fasano has. They will probably release David Martin since he will be over 30 in 2010. The Dolphins will probably draft a new TE in 2009. Maybe at first round such as Brian Pettigrew from Okla.State?
RB- Ronnie Brown will probably get a contract extension before the end of 2009 depending what kind of season he has this year. He may want too much money for the Dolphins to re-sign him? Ricky Williams’ contract is complete at the end of 2009 and he will probably want to retire and go to medical school. That only leaves Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hillard (Practice Squad last season,and we also lost PS RB Jalen Parmele in 2008). The Dolphins will probably draft a hard running RB in the 2009.

Sparano indicated he wanted a reserve offensive line G/T this year. I would expect him to draft both since the Dolphins will be committed to the running game this 2009 season.
What else? I have already identified 5 draftees needed in else positions. How many draft positions will the Dolphins have for the offense 2009 draft day? Sparano said there were still a lot of holes left to be filled. What an understatement. Your guess is probably better than mine on all these questions. Thanks for reviewing my comments.

2.Samdolphin Says:
May 4th, 2009 at 12:34 am
Edgar: I didn’t hear much about Jared Bronson from this weekend Rookie Camp. I thought he would unseat one of our TEs this year? He is a good blocker and has good hands and will go across the middle. Keep your eye on him if you get to attend the OTAs/TC this spring/summer.

3. May 5, 2009
Edgar: I did a pre-draft study on what the Dolphins should draft based on their contract/age at each position in 2010. I believe I sent you a copy. Post draft I am excited about most of their selections. They addressed most of their 2009/2010 needs except for the following positions.
NT- The Pats stepped in front of both the Bills and the Dolphins in the second round and picked NT Ron Brace and CB Darius Butler.
I think the Dolphins intended to get Ron Brace there at 44 and select Pat White at 56. The young NT Louis Ellis they selected from Shaw University is one of the most exciting selections to watch in this draft class. The other position that I am excited about is the TE Jared Bronson from Central Washington. Jared is big,has good hands and can block. Both Tony Fansano and David Martin are scheduled to be free agents at end of 2009. Hopefully Tony will be given a contract extension before the end of 2009, if he plays well this year? David Martin is 30 this year and he may not be with the Dolphins in 2010. I am excited to see if Jared Bronson will at least make the practice squad this year to learn the position and the speed of the NFL. Jared may be playing as a FB this year. All the other FAs and drafted people are of course exciting especially Pat White, Donald Thomas (hopefully for a whole year in 2009), and all the new off-season acquisitions.

I would re-sign Ronnie before the reg season begins! He has one season under his belt from his torn ACL repair. Typically, it takes one full season in the books before you get to your physical peak from that injury. If Miami waits on Brown and he blows up in the regular season, we may not be able to afford him.

I think we should lock in Fasano too but he shouldn't be too costly even if he has a great season.

I totally agree with Marcus comments posted on May 15,2009. There aren't issues with the Dolphins, while most of the up coming free agents have market values the only sure signings would have to be Roth and Fasano. These two individuals will continue to contribute for a long time to come but more so as backups, but as valueable backups. The dolphins should look into possibly trading before contract expires, while I am not really sure how contract signings and trading really work the Dolphins should try to recoop some losses before free agency via trade.

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