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Dolphins have second-highest payroll in NFL

Dolphins salary documentation obtained by the Miami Herald on Tuesday shows the team may not be getting good return for the money it is spending on players in 2009.

According to those documents obtained from sources, the Dolphins spent $126,855,921 in total payroll in 2009, not including incentive bonuses. That is not only up from last year's $114,649,660, it is the second-highest total payroll in the NFL.

The New York Giants have the highest total payroll in the NFL in 2009 at $137,638,866. The Houston Texans, which defeated the Dolphins 27-20 on Sunday, settle in just behind the Dolphins with the third-highest total payroll at $122,573,860

The Giants are 8-7 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Dolphins are 7-8 and need a multitude of scenarios to play out over the weekend to make the playoffs. The Texans are 8-7 and similarly need help to get into the playoffs.

The figures obtained by The Herald show that paying premium money for talent is not necessarily a guarantee for success in 2009. Only four of the teams in the top ten for total payroll have already clinched a playoff spot.

How wisely the Dolphins are spending their money is a question that shows up tangibly all over the field.

The team's highest-paid player in 2009 is right tackle Vernon Carey who is making $15 million, with $12 million of that coming in the form of a signing bonus he received for signing a new contact in the offseason. Miami's return on that investment has not paid great dividends as Carey has slumped in the season's second half and has played poorly in recent weeks.

Center Jake Grove, who came to the Dolphins with a reputation for getting hurt, was rewarded with a free agent contract that is paying him $14.2 million this season. That makes him the second-highest-paid player on the team. Grove played well early in the year but has missed five consecutive starts with a high ankle sprain and tibia injury.

The Dolphins invested a lot of money in the deep secondary in 2009 -- $16.6 million to be precise. That means Miami has the most expensive set of safeties in the NFL.

Yeremiah Bell, making $8.6 million this season in the form a $6 million signing bonus, a $2.55 million base salary and $50,000 in other bonuses, is the league's second-highest-paid safety behind Kerry Rhodes of the New York Jets. Rhodes is collecting $9.95 million this season.

Bell, Miami's fourth-highest-paid player in 2009, leads the Dolphins in tackles and has made a couple of tackles that prevented touchdowns.

But free safety Gibril Wilson, the NFL's third-highest-paid safety in 2009, has been a bust for Miami.

Wilson struggled to tackle well early in the season, has struggled in coverage the entire season, and has no interceptions to show for his work. At one point this season, Wilson's struggles led coaches to use rookie Chris Clemons in his place in certain situations.

And all this at a price of $8 million, the fifth-highest salary on the team.

Jake Long, who was the No. 1 overall selection of the 2008 draft and was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl on Tuesday, is Miami's third-highest-paid player behind Carey and Grove. Long is being paid $8,006,240 this season.

In focus, Miami has gotten mixed results from its top five paid players.

Long and Bell have been worth the money. Carey and Wilson have probably not played up to their lofty salaries. Grove has earned his money when he's been healthy, but as had been his history prior to coming to Miami, he missed over one-quarter of the season with an injury.

The fact three of Miami's five top-paid players are offensive linemen should not surprise anyone. The Dolphins field the most expensive offensive line in the NFL, costing $156 million in total contracts for the starting five and $39,597,240 in total salary this season for the starting five. (The latter figure can vary by a few thousand dollars depending on who starts at right guard.)

The sixth-highest-paid player on the Dolphins in 2009 is inside linebacker Channing Crowder. He is making $6,516,000 in 2009 based on $1.5 million in base salary, $3.75 million from the signing bonus of contract he signed this year, and $1.266 million in other bonuses. The Miami Herald was the first news outlet to report that Crowder definitely would not play against the Steelers in the season-finale.

The Dolphins do have instances where they are getting great return on their investment. This typically comes from players the team drafted, rather than signed as free agents or re-signed once their contract expired.

Starting quarterback Chad Henne is making $950,340 before incentives this season. That makes him the second-lowest paid full-time starting quarterback in the NFL behind Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. Romo is making $625,980 in total salary this year. Romo signed a six-year, $67.4 million deal in October 2007. The 2009 salary is the lowest in Romo's contract and his salary rockets to $8.5 million next year.

The bargain the Dolphins are getting from Henne offsets the $5,750,000 they are paying injured quarterback Chad Pennington.

Other Miami players that have been relative bargains this year or played above their pay scale include outside linebacker Jason Taylor ($1,102,860 before incentive bonuses), defensive end Randy Starks ($2,625,000), wide receiver Davone Bess ($391,240), offensive lineman Nate Garner ($391,240), and fullback Lousaka Polite ($1,206,240).

Rookie starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis ($1,625,000) and Sean Smith ($1,255,000) have also been bargains for Miami. It is not correct, however, to say the Dolphins are getting a bargain for their cornerback money.

The rookies have offset the investment on cornerback Will Allen, who was a starter until he suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the season. Allen is making $5,506,240 this season, including $1,506,240 in bonus money.

And reserve cornerback Jason Allen is making $1,360,000 this season in salary and bonus. Allen, a former first-round pick, is almost exclusively a special teams player despite his lofty price.

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these figures are kind of misleading because of the bonuses paid up front by the management this year. it's logical that the Fins budget was very high this year because of the amount of FAs we signed in the offseason, which included some above average players we signed of our own.. if you think about it, I would have been very upset if the Fins wouldn't have signed Carey to a long-term deal,and based on some reading he was kind of cheap to the Dolphins - same goes for Bell, and Channing. They're not elite players, but they were good deals. The only mistake this mistake this management has done was the signing of Wilford, and perhaps Wilson, but he's still in the roster, and is trying to earn his money by embarassing himself every Sunday; but again, we cannot pretend that we will win in every deal we make out there. You win some, you lose some. This is not a bad team at all, we were probably a really good WR and LB away from competing with the best in the League. Nevertheless, we were able to compete with what we had and dominated in every game, except the Buffalo, and Houston game.

Mark you said Gibril played well just not in the position they put him in? Do you realize how that makes zero sense?

What position did he play well this season?

"Wilson, but he's still in the roster, and is trying to earn his money by embarassing himself every Sunday"

this is funny!

Okay, so this two years in a row that Parcells and Tuna Helper have missed in free agency. They may have been good in the draft, but the talent and money spent on free agents have been horrendous. They need to get it right this offseason. They often shy away from the big name free agents. I say we go after Vince Wilfork and Miles Austin. That will solidfy a lot on our team and will allow us to focus on the draft on other holes to fill.

Is Henne really the qb of the future? How many pics did he throw? I'm just not sold and don't say he's just young..... Greats come to play now!

... And these are not "deceptive stats" These are exact figures of the money the team is paying for a 7-8 season so far.

Gibril leads the team in tackles and plays well in making several tackles around or behind the line of scrimmage. he struggles in deep overage. Thus he would make a good strong safety, just not a free safety. Make sense now?

Gibril Wilson is absolutely terrible! I really hope he gets cut. I actually hope he gets benched this last game, then cut in the offseason. I am so sick of him hurting our team. AAARRRRGGHHHHHH!


"Is Henne really the qb of the future? How many pics did he throw? I'm just not sold and don't say he's just young..... Greats come to play now!"

You know who has the record for most interceptions thrown by a rookie QB? Peyton Manning. Not saying Henne will be as good as Manning but just saying that coming to judgement to quick is not always right with young players. I think he will be a very good starter in the league.

Good point Mark. Henne has more promise than any new QB we have seen come through Miami in the last 10 years. I do believe is our future and could take us to a SuperBowl eventually. Our team is not far off a couple big key players. The trenches are built and we will strive off of that...

"... And these are not "deceptive stats" These are exact figures of the money the team is paying for a 7-8 season so far."

Posted by: Armando

Well, several facts should have been added to this article to make it more clear what these figures mean.

1. These salary figures do not equal cap figures in determining the team's ability to spend on upcoming free agents. The way the article is written makes it seem that the team is up against the wall if there is a cap for the upcoming season.

2. Most fans don't care what the actual salaries are since we don't have to pay them. We only care about cap figures and the ability to cover the team's deficiencies in the upcoming year.

3. Free agents who sign long term deals get paid the bulk of their contracts up front due to the non guaranteed nature of NFL contracts. It's not like the Dolphins will be paying Wilson $8 mill a year or Carey $16m year.

4. The fact is players like Carey and Crowder are still pretty young. The initial outlay is higher in relation to the total value of the contract. So if you smooth the total value of the contract over it's term, the Dolphins may be getting a good return on their investment. It really is too premature to say right now.

mark in to
you got some good points there but it still sucks to be 7 &.


Indiana, you know everybody wants players to be All Pros from day one on the field. That's not the way it works for most. I think Henne has shown enough that he should get next year and the year after to show that he really is that good.

In addition to Manning's rookie year, another blog favourite Drew Brees was a lot worse than Henne was for his first THREE years. So bad in fact that the Chargers picked Eli Manning then traded for Phillip Rivers 1st overall while they had Brees. Funny thing happened the next year though, the light just came on for Brees and he started to become the All Pro we all wish we had today. These things take time.

Band Wagon, yes it does. Believe me, I feel the pain as much as anyone. But the reason the team is so bad now is not because of the current administration. It is because from Saban's two drafts we only have Ronnie Brown and Jason Allen. It is because from Cam's draft we only have Ted Ginn. It is because from all of Dave Wannstedt's drafts (6 or so drafts) we only produced Chris Chambers, Randy McMichael, Todd Wade, and Vernon Carey. That is why we are only 7-9.

You realize, this administration produced more significant contributors to the team than the previous ten drafts combined? Mind boggling.

Mark, Gibril Wilson does not lead the team in tackles, first of all. Secondly, he has one tackle behind the line of scrimmage all season long. Thirdly, he was a bust as a SS in Oakland so they cut him. Fourthly, the reason Miami signed him was because Ireland and Parcells loved what he did as a FS with the Giants, who chose not to re-sign him after 2007. So they paid him this money to play exactly where he is at.

If you are going to defend the guy be my guest. But don't simply invent stuff and state them as facts.

Kicked us in the nuts again.

yes mark
sadly i do
and so does my liver.hows the weather there?

This article is a joke... we resigned a lot of players and have turned over a lot of our roster, of course we'll have a lot of signing bonus' this year to inflate this, but you cant look at it like that, you give a signing bonus in able to have those small yearly salaries for these players.

Bell and Wilson are not the most expensive safety tandem in the league, and its very irresponsible of a journalist to lie like that... especially with the idiotic sheep who follow you here. Bell is not the 2nd highest paid safety in the year because in his contract is more than just the money he got this year, he has 3 other years with a lot less money, hes not even a top 5 paid safety, to call him #2 is idiotic.

It's like if Person A bought a $300k house cash, and Person B bought the same house for $300k with a mortgage. And after year 1 you say, "Well person A has spent $300k this year on his house, while person B only spent $20k. person A is an idiot for spending so much!"

Dumb article, bad journalism, shame on you Armando

Mark - I believe Henne has shown plenty this season for our team and fans to not have the need to worry about our QB position...

These are troubling figures because it shows that Parcells and Ireland are much better at valueing draft picks, but poor at putting a good value on free agents.

They overpaid for Wilford, Crocker, Wilson, Crowder, Carey, McCown, Torbor, Grove, Eric Green, and Sean Ryan.

They should stick to trades and drafting. Costs less. Brings more.

Gibril almost leads the team in mistakes..only person beating him is Ted but he's actully done "some" good this year..not gibril though

This articles is an effing buzz kill man!!! Kinda hits my yr 3 excitement, but I WILL overcome it!

Ok Fine, Wilson is not first in the team in tackles, he's second. And he does play a lot near the line of scrimmage, you don't amass 100 tackles in a season by not playing near the line of scrimmage. Still doesn't disprove my point that he's playing out of position. Doesn't mean he's a bad player, just not a good free safety.

And Band Wagon, it's cold. Very cold. Too cold.

And Mike, I have to agree with your perspective. The article does not tell the whole story. Guess Mando just wanted to stir up the hornet's nest.

Mark, Armando is taking you to school so as long as you are there, let me learn you something also.

You say the reason we're in trouble is because of Saban? Wrong!

Saban drafted Vickerson, who is starting in Tennessee. Saban drafted Fred Evans, who is a valuable backup in Minnesota. Saban brought back Ricky, who is Miami's best offensive player right now. Saban draft Ronnie Brown, Miami's best player when he wasn't hurt. Saban drafted Devin Aromashadu, who lit up the Vikings on Monday night. Saban drafted Matt Roth, who has more sacks and tackles than any Miami LB the past month, except he's playing for Cleveland now because this crew dumped him. Saban also drafted Derek Hagan, who caught a TD for the Giants last Sunday and is better than Pat Turner any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Please, child. Get a clue.

Stop drinking the Ireland-Parcells Kool-Aid. They are human and make mistakes.

Oh and Saban also drafted Channing Crowder, who has started every season he's been with the team.

Indiana, I agree. His first year is one of the best I've seen. Better than Brees or Manning. Not to say that he will be as good - he might be, might not. but there is plenty to be excited about. The only reason his first year isn't talked about more is because of the crazy first years Flacco and Ryan had last year. But Henne is getting results with a lot less than those 2 had.

Excellent reporting, Armando. Well done digging up the numbers.

I wonder how Stephen Ross would feel after reading this article and seeing that his money is not exactly getting a very good return this year.

Makes me wonder if he'll be willing to open up his wallet to Parcells next year. Good stuff Mando!

I'm home sick from work today, so I have some time to fool around. Let's say the following women were paid an annual salary based on the lust and romance they inspire in Nathaniel Dodsworth. I think the following women would have these contracts:

1) Angelina Jolie (3-yr. contract, $8.6 million per year) ($2 million bonus if she puts on 10 pounds and/or removes her tattoos).

2) Shannen Doherty (the way she looked in 1992) (5-yr. contract, $10.5 million per year)

3) Michelle Obama (1-yr. contract, $15,000)

4) Sally Struthers (the way she looked in 1973) (2-yr. contract, $20.9 million per year) (We'll keep Sally to a two-year contract, because she started to go downhill fast around 1975.)

5) Megan Fox (6-yr. contract, $17.3 million per year)

I like to pretend.

Hahahah @ FLPD

First off, Vickerson is a back up DT to Tony Brown on Tennessee.

Fred Evans is exactly that - a backup. He also ran amock on South Beach. he was an idiot, why would you want this guy?

And exactly who isn't better at DE (cause that is what these 2 would be on Miami). Starks, Merling, Langford, even #4 McDaniel is better who was acquired for a 7th rounder.

Hagan couldn't even beat out Camarillo for a job in Miami. You don't remember that he was handed a starting job last year only to be outplayed by an undrafted player in Camarillo?

Aramoshadu spent 2 years on the practice squad in Indy. The only reason he saw the field in Chicago is because they have the only receiving corps worse than ours.

And Matt Roth isn't on Miami because of his play, it's because of his character, make no doubt. He lied about having a groin injury and after getting checked out by a doctor who said he could play, he said he couldn't. FAWK him!!! Roth is the biggest judas in the histroy of this organization. HE DIDN'T WANT TO PLAY and some of you guys still pine for him? That's like the guy that gets dumped by a broad and still calls her in the hopes that one day she will come back. Pathetic!!!

>I speak, write and read three languages perfectly, have a bachelor in Law, two M.A.s (one from Berlin, one from Chicago) in philosphy and a P.h.D. from UNAM in Mexico City (where I am from)in Ethics, have given international conferences and published and...

> I'm earning around 800 bucks a month at a lousy university having to tolerate a bunch of morons as students.

Despite (or possibly because of) you're dumb as a bag of rocks.

Earlier I dodn't give Saban for drafting Crowder with a 3rd though. That was shrewd. Also one player that I think should have got more of a shot that Saban drafted was Rodirique Wright. Thought he had a lot of potential. But fact is, Hagan, Aromashadu, Evans, Vickerson. These are all peripheral players that don't play significant snaps in what should be the prime years of their careers. Big deal whether they are here or not.

Gibril Wilson reminds me a lot of Larry Brown... Remember that corner for the Cowboys who had a career game in the SB vs the Steelers? Cause of 1 good game, he cashed in, never heard from him again. Didn't even come close to making a Pro Bowl. Same thing with Wilson. Had a great game for the Giants in the SB vs New England, cashed in with Oakland, didn't work out, cashed in with Miami, who for some reason saw something other teams didn't, and now he's set for life. And I'll garantee you if Miami releases him, you won't hear from him ever again. Just like Larry Brown.

nathaniel your post are funny;
but no mention of Sophia Lauren or Racquel Welsh..

mark in toronto its -15 here ( montreal ) -28 WINDCHILL.got to go walk my dog and even he is tripping and hes a german shepperd.
latter fellas

Actually is TRIFUCKTA instead of Trifecta


Can you get a list of the entire NFL payrolls?

Dear Mr. Tibbs,

Thanks for giving me such a big importance that you had to answer my post. I correspond.

If I am so dumb, what can we expect from you? That's not a rethorical question. I really would like to know.

Can you prove that I am as dumb as a bag of rocks, or is that just your opinion? I mean, is your sentence an epistemologically valid truth or just something that occured to you? Is it you the one that's talking or is it just your jealousy?

If so, let me tell you. You're nothing to be jealous of. I affirm with certainty that you have an easier life than I... economically speaking at least (However, I bet whatever you want I have had more babes, experiences, trips around the world and culture than you).

Poor as I am, I assure you I am still, and always be, smarter than a bag of rocks (let alone smarter than you).

Mark you never answer when people call you out on facts. You say things like, Aromashadu was on the practice squad in Indy. Who cares? The point is he shredded the Vikings two nights ago and that is what whatshisname FLP said.

Answer the fact stated not a new one you just conjure out of thin air.

Also, it's easy to blame Saban, but he was a good coach in Miami. His second season was every bit as good as the Dolphins are having THIS season. No difference.

So we're right back to 2006.

Who cares if Aromashadu shredded the Vikings defense on Monday night? He has been in the league 4 years and this is the first good game he has had? Ginn, Bess, Camerillo, etc have all had a good game but we don't think our receiver issues are solved. Joey Harrington had a couple of good games with Saban and did anyone think our QB issues were solved. This is a perfect example of why many of the fans on these blogs are idiots. Just like calling Henne a bust after 12 games, they have no patience and can not see the big picture.

Yes, here is the big picture.

0 for every year since 1972.

Keep living off that season guys b/c by the sounds of things it isn't getting any better.

BTW, how was this past decade for you guys?

The second season Saban's was a little different, thou: the Dolphins won only 6 games, after a 9-7 season (which was not enough to make the play offs). Recall:

"The Nick Saban era kicked off with a 34–10 win against the Denver Broncos. From there, however, the Dolphins struggled, losing seven of their next nine games to fall to 3–7. (...) After a frustrating two months, however, the Dolphins would rally late in the season, as they won their final six games".

From my point of view, the Dolphins are by far a more exciting team under Tony "Batman's Penguin" Sparano than the ones under Nick Satan's command.

El Mago , seriously ENOUGH ! Nobody really gives a shyt about you or your english lessons! Have a chalupa , taco or burrito and talk about the dolphins. If Not , Please leave this blog sir.

I for one was interested in Mando's post. I always wondered what our guys were making. I knew Henne was well under payed, but had no idea how much the other guys made especially based on performances this year.. Interesting post! Oh and some of Henne's pics were on him, but there was a combination of routes that were not run correctly and wr's not catching and tipping the ball instead into defense for the interception!

Secondary's take time to gel. When we said goodbye to Goodman and Hill, they had to know there was going to be issues early on. I don't think Safety and Corner are a big issue. I do think that LB and DT are big issues.

I am also concerned about RB and TE, is Ronnie Brown a lock to stay in Miami next year? I don't think so, and I do think we will need additonal help in both spots.

Anyone who doesn't think this team is heading in the right direction should take note of the current Cowboys team. Parcells helped to build that team and brought in Miles Austin. This season could have been and should have been a playoff season. I personally beleive that even though the teams record isn't as good as last year, the talent on the team will continue to improve.

That's better

By the way, NJ,

Nathaniel talked about his girls (most of them already elders) and you didn't say a thing. Why? You see?

Now, I have to tell you (and everybody else in this forum): I love you all guys (yes, including Dyingbreed and Loco), cause you support the Dolphins. In my mind we're all a part of the same (suffering) community.

The Wilson signing was horrible and a waste of money but Im not gonna blame the Trifecta because I too was excited about the Wilson signing. I remember getting on these blogs and tons of other people were also happy about getting Wilson so dont sit here and say they screwed up because everyone liked Wilson. Now this year not thier fault they missed on him, now they need to correct the mistake (trade or cut his ass)


Sadly I posted another response to you, which for uncertain resons was not uploaded. Sad. I was defending my right to speak about whatever I wanted and my right to defend myself.

I also commented that most of my participations run around the Dolphins (my biggest passion in life, even above Philosphy and Rock music), and I invited you to read them as well.

I invited you as well to bann me from the blog, something you cannot, cause Armando Salguero is the owner. I'm not trying to be agressive, thou. I am trying to make you understand (and everybody else who had a problem with it), that you cannot simply offend people and think you can go with it. See? If I'm a crazy dude talking about himself, why does it bother you (and Mr. Tibbs, and Juan Huron)? See?

Now, let's talk Dolphins...

A hug.

Ok, just got back from a workout to read these comments. Enough with the Devin Aromashadu plug like HP said. The guy has one good day in his life and people think the brass messed up. Ginn has had 5 outstanding games in the last 2 years and people think he's a bust. Go figure.

And all of a sudden Saban was a good NFL coach? His team regressed badly from a 9 win team to a 6 win team to an utter disaster when he left. He had a good first draft then made the mother of all f-ups when he picked Duante over Brees. Then blamed the doctors for his decision. He couldn't see that Duante even when healthy struggled badly once Cris Carter and Randy Moss were gone?

and BTW, Sophia Lauren was the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Even as a 70 year old in grumpier old men, I'd throw her a bang.

Dear Mr El Magoo
Thank you for the hug. I hug you back? OK?
I do believe you can teach in Chicago. Just not in an academic facility. Thank you so much.
You forgot to answer my questions?
your great friend
Juan Huron

Mark, you are so right. Sarcasm is a way to prove intelligence.

Andre Johnson, Moss, T.O., Chad Ochocinco (mi compadre), and even Devon Bess, have had 5 lousy games in their whole NFL life (all together), and there are people who still defend Ginn. That's something.

Juan Huron, my great friend,

What about at a University?

Another hug,
Your father.

El Mago , you sound like a 5 year old. The more someone askes you to NOT do something the more you'll do it. Please go cry us a river somewhere else . :)

They Did not Trade for Boldin because of the 10 or 9 Million per season he wanted and because of the 2nd round pick Arizona was asking for, Now would you rather have Boldin and 9 millions per season Or Gibril Wilson with his 8 million per season and Pat white? Wow I think the trifecta screw up this one, I hope they trade next year for Boldin maybe the price is lower this time around , and I hope they can trade Carey for at least a 3rd rounder next year

Looks like the Tuna is picking up some expensive ingredients for his stew. He may have to cook it, but we have to eat it and right now it don't taste too good...

Saban was a bad coach because his team regressed from year one to year two?

Then what does that say about Tony Sparano?

I wasn't defending Ginn, more like the opposite. I'm saying even some that is such a mediocre player so far has done so much more than this Aramashodu plug and people are acting like he's the next coming.

It was almost as bad as someone hailing Derek Hagan earlier. Has he learned to catch it's hard to catch a ball with your facemask yet?

Strong, Saban was packing his team with veteran players and regressing. Sparano et all are packing their team with young players and had a worse record. BIG difference.

ivan2370, this is one of my problems with this article. People see the figures and think they could have got Boldin with the same outlay. Well, if they signed Boldin, they would have had to give him around $15 million or more in a signing bonus plus his $9m per year. So in this article, the cash outlay for Bolding would have read around $24 m, not $9 mill.

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