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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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WOOOOW , Mr Huron. Your english has come along way in just a few weeks/months . The improvements are truly amazing . LMFAO !!!

Too cold for me too Rodge.

Most of my best friends are Greek. I'm very familiar with the customs and stuff. Never been to Greece, But I partied in the Astoria neighbourhood in Queens. Neptunes serves good eats at a late hour.

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like girls who like "greek"

LMFAO !! The Neptune Diner is Packed at about 4-5 am when the clubs let out. I Know the owners well. Good food.

Mark , greece is one of the most beautiful places on earth. You should go there on your Honeymoon.

Dear NJ PHIN FAN:
Thank you for noticing. I have always believed in the benefits of education.
Sincerely,
your friend,
Juan Huron

NJ, Greece is a strong consideration for our destination. Still undecided.

That night in Astoria, I saw the best FU ever given to New York's anti smoking laws. Learned quite quickly that you can't ever ban Greeks from smoking anywhere when they are in number, ahha.

Marc, we know about your sodomizing acts. Weird.

MARK,

MY BROTHER MARRIED A 23 YEARS OLD VIRGIN GIRL FROM ATHENA ,GREECE .I HOPE YOU KNOW THAT THEY ONLY MARRY VIRGINS .

Mark . you're 100% Correct. NEVER interfere when greeks are partying. LOL !

MarK, if you think sodomy is weird you haven't lived yet! It's tighter, more degrading, and more empowering...What else can you ask for?

If you all missed Mandy's tweet Polite is listed as an alternate...

We actually have a few Dolphins players who make more than four times as much in one- week's pay than an average Army Soldier makes in an entire 20 year career. That anaysis is based on the player working 40 weeks out of the year. Course the players do have the tax burden. Disgusting isn't it?

why armando allows this filth by mr......MARC ?

AL...The news about Polite is great, not filth!

SGT Major...You don't see millions of people tuned in to watch soldiers in a firefight, where advertisers could pay millions of dollars to buy their crappy products...But, now that you mention it, that's a fantastic idea. We might even be able to recoup all of our tax money that's squandered on the fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption given to the DOD...

OK guys the Cuban has arrived, what are we talking about tonite besides going greek(Not that there's anything wrong with that)....

Isn't this blog about the dolphins? Your social commentary might be better in another blog. That said....we are really overpaying for some players. Where do Ronnie and Ricky fallin those numbers

Marc, Did you attend UMs beat down last nite???

Cuban, apparently you missed it when I said that I don't watch college ball, never have...Never will

Cool.... You didnt miss much...

Steve , who the Fuch asked you ? I'm out til later boys and girls.

I'd like to more rookies play so they can properly develop. Who cares if the team finishes at the bottom for a year or two. We'd be in the boat we are now exept with higher draft picks and team chemistry that's needed. I don't care if they think Wake, Clemons, or whoever aren't ready. I see plenty of vets on the team that don't look ready for anything but their next twitter update.

THE WORST SALAD YOU CAN EAT IS THE GREEK SALAD .IT'S LIKE THE LEFT OVER OF THE WORLD .

Marc, am not sure why you believe anyone cares where you stick your penis. I mean, unless you somehow used it to shut TorturedDolphan up, we have no interest.

I;m surprised to see so little talk about Crowder...he has shown that he is all bark (only with the NJ Jets joke of a coach), and absolutely NO bite...he probably has missed more tackles than he has made...
And Ginn Jr, should be cut and/or released as the team is leaving the field (or sooner) after this Sunday's game against the Steelers - No questions asked...

Agree Bruce, on all accounts especially Ted(No NUTS) Ginn and his family....

Lips, I wasn't the one who brought up "Greek"...

Lips, cmon bro, Marc WEARS dresses, we all know the Greek is being performed ON him, not BY him

Marc were you ever in the US Military or ever been in a warzone?

I think we messed up With G. Wilson gotta just except it hes a SS not a FS and hes an avg. SS at best...we just gotta eat the contract..I would rele like to see us in a perfect world get a WR in F/A and draft all LBs in the draft and maybe 2 will pan out hahaha!

Fins brain trust closed shop early in order to get the draft picks! They did it surrepitiously and very under the radar! Parcells playing out FBI tone. They better win it next year! My favorite dolphin continues to be CAMARILLO-- he is the heart of the team! David -- out

Armando, that means adjusted for cost of living (to the NY levels), Miami pays the highest salary period.

i CAN'T BELIVE THE FETA CHEESE PEOPLE HAD AN EMPIRE .
CROWDER ONE LUCKY HUMAN BEING TO MAKE ALL THIS FOR TALKING CRAP .

can ANY ONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY WE CAN'T FIND A DECENT GOOD CONE ICE CREAM ANY MORE ?

DYING BREED WILL BE MISSED BIG TIME ,WEW WILL BE LEFT TO BE ABUSED BY LIKE OF THE BLUMBER .

PLEASE COME BACK BREED .

WHERE'S ACE THE DEVIL AND ODINSEYE THE THEIF ?

Coldstone?

Ice cream and feta cheese? That's very romantic but shouldn't you guys be chatting about that on eharmony or something?

Same people... same bunch of cry babies. One of the reasons that Miami's salary numbers are so high this season is a bit less black and white as depicted here. Many of the players that Armando has mentioned here have very high "Up Front Costs" I.E. Signing Bonuses, and "performance clauses" I.E. Good work incentives, etc.
Many of the incentives and other salary deferment techniques are similar with other teams, just by chance Miami had the big hits occur this very sorted season instead of perhaps next. That being said... look how many different new positions had to be filled in relationship to other teams. Miami is a "Bran New Team" Top to bottom, coaches and all. I hate to sound like a cliche' wrangler, But all of these salary numbers when looked at across the years they are paid are very relative to when the player finds himself in his contract. These numbers will NOT be the same next year. Indeed, they may be higher!... They also may be quite a bit lower. Before condemning the Management in Miami, you know? Before you ask the ownership to start the whole process over again because for whatever reason you cannot understand how a second year rebuild is not playing for a title this year...make certain you understand who made what last year, this year and all the remaining years on their perspective contracts. Then see how other teams compare along the same lines.
Point is... I love Armando to death and am a daily reader of his work. He also has the same tendency as most Dolphins fans when the chips are down... that is to find blame, point fingers at players, staff and circumstances that appear to be contributing factors to their angst... and, in the process of Armando doing his job (which he does well) bring a little bit of spicy & Speculative thinking to the table... then season it with a touch of controversy... Job well done Armando... A great job of spinning a story that when looked at from a certain point of view, and out of proper context... will have ever second year Dolphins fans begging for the return of Wanny and the 2 first round pick trade for pot head running backs and Jamar Fletcher over a QB Drafts. The Herald should be very pleased in THEIR Investment, you are indeed earning your keep.

Wow. Who is the crybaby again?

HAHAHAHA!!! WTF is wrong with our team

Armando, I did not enjoy your stories prior to the start of the season. But I must say that throughout the season your articles have been great. This one is very interesting and scary because it has confirmed some of my fears. I'll keep these fears to myself for now and wait until after the draft to pass judgement on the trifecta. Keep up the good work and Happy New Year

H8er...Yes, and yes....I was in the army 6.5 years. Was in Albania in '99, Iraq for a year in OIFI, and again, as a contractor in OIF III

So, 3.5 years in combat...

With that said, I still shiver every time I look at my paycheck knowing that the biggest chunk of the 30% of my income that the feds ROB from me is going towards, the DOD...Followed by old folks, cripples, and lazy people

Dear Huron,

You mentioned Ockham's (Yes, Ockham) razor. However, you never used it. You just mentioned it. Quite typical.

Just as you, I strongly believe in the benefits of education. Evidently, I have a wider one than you. As asked, can you write and speak English and German as good as I can? If so, let's start arguing in any of those other two languages. Otherwhise, let me tell you: you're nothing but a moron; yeah, nothing more. A moron whose ego was hurt just by the thought of somebody being better than you. I just posted something and you started immediately to try messing with me, well, f**k you, man. You simply cannot stand someone to be better, much better.

And yes, I am your father, do you catch the implications had by such a statement? If not, go ask your mom.

That was my last response. No more waisting my time in a worthless POS, like you. Period.

Dear Mr El Magoo:
Uh oh!!! oops...Are you getting upset with me?
Jeepers Mr El Magoo, I'm not too sure if I'm able to write and speak as good as you can. However, I'm willing to bet that I can very, very easily speak as well as you can. Do you understand the difference? Do you understand why there is a difference?
You're cracking me up.
I'm thinking the reason I referenced Occam's Razor pretty much went flying over your head?
Now answer me this; have I been waisting your time or..wasting your time?
Oh and will you otherwhise tell me or ..otherwise tell me?
One more question Einstein are you SURE you're going to be able to resist? Or are you going to come back for just one more?
Again, bless your pointed little head, El Magoo; you are trying.
Sincerely,
your friend,
Juan Huron

Ridiculous article in the premise of counting the signing bonus as if it were salary... focus on the salaries and split the signing bonus over the years of the contract and how long you think the player will be on the team.

Miami is rebuilding, which is why it had to pay so many signing bonuses in the off-season, but they did a great job at keeping available cap space for strengthening the team... trust the trifecta.

Payroll numbers that include signing bonuses are absolutely meaningless. The Dolphins have the second-highest payroll mainly because they resigned several of their key free agents last year, and you have counted each of those signing bonuses as 2009 payroll. Next year we may have one of the lowest payrolls, since Carey won't get another $12mill, likewise Crowder, W. Allen, Wilson. And we won't draft first, praise be to God, so our top pick won't get a $20mill bonus either.

Here's a suggestion. To decide if the trifecta is getting value for money, compare the cap number to our draft position. And forget about meaningless bonus-distorted payroll numbers.

The team has visibily gone south since Jake Grove was injured. From then, the offense just looked deflated and the run game stalled, then Ronnie Brown got injured. After both Grove and Brown went down it was all over but the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Without competitive players there is simply no way to succeed - despite the contrary balderdash.

The three highest salaried teams are three teams that are in the rebuilding stages to some degree. NY lost a star RB, WR, and D lineman as well as a couple of other starters. Houston has been rebuilding since the team began. The Fins are in year 2. The thing that can be said for all 3 is that they have some promising young players locked up for a long time. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Miami may be overpaying a couple of players (Wilson comes to mind) but it is too soon to say they are not getting their return on the investment. It takes time for a team to jell and for players to get comfortable with their new assignments. If the team is not a contender next season I will say you have a legitimate point but I think you will be eating your words.

Happy New Year.

The Dolphins needs to continue with Parcells, but need a huge change at the players and the coaching staff (Sparano is not going to win anything). With 126,000,000+ you can do a winner team in any league in the world. If you don´t win, is beacause you have a bad team and a bad coaching staff.
My best wishes for 2010!

Trade away: Wilson, Ginn, Crowder, W. Allen, J.Allen, Torbor, Anderson.

Restructure deals: JP, Carey, CP, Grove (injury clause)

Resign: Brown, Starks, Bess, McDaniel

Draft: WR, OLB, ILB, S, NT, RB, OL

(Hopefully we can trade away some players for draft picks, or at least move up the boards)

The marlins are better than the dolphins and they have the lowest payrole

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