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On the live blog, the cap and free agency

We will live blog the Dolphins' regular-season finale today as we do every game day so be sure to be here for that today.

I will also be updating the inactives for today's game. Here's a hint: I do not believe Patrick Turner will be active today so if you're wondering, that is my educated guess. Simply, nothing has changed in recent weeks to cause the Miami coaching staff to put in an inexperienced receiver over any of the other four they usually activate on game days.

Regardless of whether he's active or not, I would say it's been a disappointing year for Miami's third-round pick of a year ago. Very disappointing.

[Update: Turner is indeed inactive. The others are Evan Oglesby, Andrew Hartline, Andrew Gardner, Lionel Dotson, Ryan Baker and Tyler Thigpen as the No. 3 QB. Joe Berger starts at center. Nate Garner starts at right guard for Donald Thomas. Troy Polamalu is inactive for Pittsburgh.]

Another thing I want to share with you as we prepare for a game that, in part, will determine whether Miami's season ends today or goes on, are two topics about next season:

I want to discuss salary cap structure. And I want to give you a quickie free agency tutorial.

The salary cap for 2010 is interesting, because there will be no salary cap. That means players such as Jason Allen, Ted Ginn Jr., Akin Ayodele, Reggie Torbor, Joey Porter, Gibril Wilson and others may find themselves in hot water because they under-performed this year.

And their prospects for performing up to their salaries in 2010 are not exceedingly good. That means the Dolphins can get rid of any of them without suffering a salary cap hit that typically keeps some under-performing players employed.

Check out how it works.

Secondly, is the topic of free agency.

It's going to be a baaaaad year for free agency. I was talking to former Herald colleague Jason Cole on Friday and we amassed our enormous brain power (he scored 1,500 on the SAT once and I, um, I have had ideas in my life) to figure what the free agent scenario will resemble come next spring absent a salary cap.

It will be this: All the big name players we all wish the Dolphins would sign won't be availble. There will be no Vincent Jackson or Braylon Edwards or Miles Austin because unlike typical years, free agency will not be available to players with four years or more experience. Free agency will be granted only players with six years of experience.

What does that mean? The biggest name pass-catcher to hit free agency will be New England tight end Ben Watson.

Pass rushers? Tully-Banta Cain might be available.

The point is all the top-tier 25- and 26-year-old players that typically hit free agency for the first time every year, aren't going to be free agents in 2010. They will be restricted free agents, meaning there must be draft pick compensation involved in getting them. And that compensation will typically be a first-round pick. So that dooms free agency -- at least in Miami, where draft choices are typically used for drafting, not trading.

But because the cap is not a factor, under-performing players that might otherwise stick with their clubs will be let go by teams next offseason. So what you will see is a bunch of players on the street that didn't live up to their past contracts. Those guys will be older, less accomplished, and have many more warts than a typical free agent.

That group will also be much bigger than the class of true unrestricted free agents because teams simply want to rid themselves of toxic contract.

That's the deal, folks.

Tell me what you think. And remember, the live blog starts here later on.

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Of that list, the only disagreement I'd have is Jason Allen, who has turned into a Special Teams Ace this year.

The other fellas..not so much, Ginn has to stay on Returns to have any real value at all.

Lets get rid of Gibril Wilson and Joey Porter.

Any combination of circumstances that makes it easier for the Fins to rid themselves of Gibril Wilson will be welcomed with enthusiasm, regardless of the lack of FAs otherwise.


Turner underperformed at USC after being one of the top high school recruits. I am disappointed that this lack of performance has continued here, but also continually surprised that my fellow fans have placed such belief in a mythical figure, based, I guess, on his size & his OTA performances.

acorns with warts

When I look at our record on free agency I find it wanting. Most of our players that are on the IR are older players which we would be more likely to acquire in free agency. Let's stick with the draft and continue to bring in young players. Nate Garner is starting over players making 10 times as much. Let's draft Norwood of South Carolina and cut Porter loose.

Its just as well as the trifecta haven't exactly been successful in the FA market...

When can we cut the gerbil? Can the Dolphins cut him on monday or do they have to wait till after the post season?

the gerbils is a no good rotten acorn that would kill many squirrels

I'm with carlito,the sooner the better,torbor too.

That is the best assessment of the upcoming free agency season I have read or heard. Right on the button...

Also, some RFA's might NOT be tendered hence making them free agents.

As we move into a new year/decade, I have come up with the top ten list of stupid/ridiculous statements made by South Florida media this year.
10. Omar Kelly: His solution to the issues at Safety would be moving Bell to FS and Wilson to SS.
9. Mando: guaranteeing a win versus Buffalo
8. Super Scout: he Big O- Continually talking on his show or pregame about his infatuation with Hakeem Nicks
7. Joe Rose: Anthony Fasano is an elite TE
6. Omar Kelly: Saying at the start of the year, that the WR’s were a strength of the team.
5. Mando: Wanting to deal for Vince Wilfork with Hershel Walker type deal
4. David Neal: Thinking Miami could get Andre Johnson in a trade
3. Keith Sims and the Big O: The offense will be better off without Ronnie Brown because there would be no Wildcat.
2. Jeff Darlington: Reporting that Sean Smith and Jason Allen both had the Swine Flu
1. Omar Kelly: Wanting Will.i.am. to get a tryout with the Dolphins


We just need to rid ourselves of under achieving players. So many come to mind Mando! Too many to list, probably easier to list the players that actually performed this year. Ricky, Starks and Henne come to mind. Ronnie if he's back to his old style. Polite, Carey maybe JT. I still think pennington can play, but his role maybe more of a backup qb (though I think he plays better then henne).

we got rid of our only "cover corner" goodman. too bad we didnt want to pay him the going rate yet we open the bank for guys like gibril and even vernon carey. every guy that strikes it rich quits playing (ie. joey porter). why are we starting 2 strong safety's???????? ireland and sparano better evaluate themselves!

Armando, I know it and you know it... In today's NFL, free agency is NOT the way to build a contender. Look how much money the Dolphins spent last year and chances are we'll finish the season at the .500 mark at best. Ernest Wilford, Gibril Wilson, Eric Green, Chris Crocker, the list goes on. You could add Charlie Anderson to that list. The jury is still out on Jake Grove. Can he play an entire season without getting hurt? Same goes with Justin Smiley. Parcells and Ireland have to keep on doing what they've been doing best since they took over and that is drafting well. I still, to this day, don't understand the Pat White pick but whatever. Even Patrick Turner, everybody knew he was an underachiever at USC but we spent a 3rd rounder on him. Very strange. I wouldn't break the bank on free agents. The only position I feel the Dolphins should either spend $$ or even trade a draft pick is for a true #1WR. Other than that, add depth everywhere with the draft. That's my opinion.

This looks like a year where we will hit the draft hard, and just worry about letting go of the guys that we underperform, like you said Armando. But, the Trifecta has not done particularly well in signing top-tier free agents, they specialize in signing talent that nobody else knows about. This is the year for that once again. We will have to address all of our pressing needs through the draft, so I would be shocked if the Dolphins did not go for Dez Bryant, and flat out ticked if they drafted a nose tackle. In the first 3 rounds, the Fins need to get their #1 wr, a linebacker, and a defensive tackle. Maybe the Dolphins will even make a move to swing a trade, but one thing is for sure, something needs to be done this year to get this team to the next level, and with free agency the way it is, that may not happen all in one year.

Antonio Bryant will the best pass-catcher available as he has seven years in the league and will be a FA.

Does anyone know if Brandon Marshall we be allowed to be a free agent unrestricted?

Armando,
The positive side of the uncapped year is that the Trifecta can clean up the "dead weight" and set up the Phins for future improvements. I know it's not very "sexy" but I think it makes sense. So, 2010 will be be about cleaning up the underperforming contracts and drafting well to continue the development of a young nucleus. The impatient side of me doesn't like it but based on the will be available, it's the best path toward becoming a contender.

Mando,

Do you think we should be second guessing and the front office should be regretting not making a run at Chris Chambers? He has looked pretty good, has had a few 100-yard games, and more important is averaging more yards per catch than any dolphins receiver. Not sure if Chambers would have won us any more games but it seems to me that he could have helped our less than dynamic wr corps.

The NFL is doing this on purpose. Teams want to clear the books of all the under preforming players and rid themselves of the toxic contracts. I just wish they would come to some sort of agreement that would allow players with four years to become UR free agents. Alot of these guys deserve BIG contracts and wont get them because teams wanna clear the books!!! SAD just sad, but at the same time teams like Houston and Detroit can really benifit from a uncapped year.

Knowing how the Tuna is,don't be surprised if we keep everyone we have and rely on the draft for next years team.Everyone will have to fight for a starting spot next year.

H8

Brandon Marshall wont be a free agent either way he's under contract next year. He may be traded due to the bad relationship between him and the coach Josh M.

Mando,
Let's assume we lose to Pittsburgh. This is not a bad thing as we are not built and too banged up to go anywhere this year. Should we be rooting for JAX and CHI to win? Would this give us the 10th overall pick and quite possibly a shot at Terrence Cody?

Beerdrums

I think you're right, but they will add at least one vetran free agent, nobody sexy. You know how the Tuna operates. Will be interesting to see if he takes any intrest in WR A. Bryant, they used to not get along, but he looks like the best available UR Free agent.

Jluck

is it really that close for the 10th overall pick?

Terrence Cody will be available at 10...in the 2nd round.

Over weight...does not make plays.

Dan Williams is going to a better NT.

Good articles. Answered some questions I had about 2010 but was too lazy to research myself. Certainly a year in 2010 to cut out the fat. We'll simply need to be more creative with trades and draft picks. Maybe we can cut a guy like Porter then resign him for a much lower figure. These guys who have been underperforming certainly know who they are. As much as I hate to trade 1st round picks I believe we're at the point where for the right experienced wideout the Tuna needs to get it done.

Mando,

What about Antonio Bryant? He has a past with Parcells and could very well be that missing link to our WR core.

I believe if we don't feel the WR void in FA/Trade we will see a WR very high in the draft. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Dez Bryant.

Oh, and please relay the message that we want Wilson and Porter out of Miami.

Thank you.

Chicago sits in 10 at 6-9 right now. http://www.nfl.com/standings?category=league&season=2009-REG&split=Overall
Not sure how tiebreaker work for draft slots. San Fran and Tenn could be in the way too.

Well if there are concerns with Cody then Id sooner stay away. Seem to be a few good safties and ILB's around that slot. Who would be the best bet?

Off the topic a second.. I need to see a DEFENSE today. I need Davis on a cornerback blitz and drop Clemons down on Hines. Big Play waiting to happen! Ciao

And fo rhte free agency- We need to get Marshal from Denver. Young,big and will love the Parcells scructured discilpline. Either we getem or the Pats- No worries, Marshal is a FIN.

The tie breaker for the draft position is the team with worse trength of victory drafts the higher position.

Another great article! Most of the cuts discussed are pretty obvious; however, how about a couple of guys like Carey or Smiley? I say the guys that are six foot seven with long arms need to be the tackles: Long, Garner, Gardner, and Myrtha should be next year's tackles. That means six foot four inch with girth Carey should be moved to left guard and Smiley gets cut or Carey and his huge contract goes. Two other somewhat surprising bubble players are Ricky Williams due to age and fumbles and Crowder due to lack of instincts and injury. Alot depends on the draft and the Trifecta "hidden" players we don't see on game day.

JLuck,

Forget Cody. If the Dolphins are picking 10th,i'll be crossing my fingers for Dez Bryant or Rolando McClain. Either one of those 2 and i'll be shootin my load.

Houtz, Bryant does have a history with Parcells but it is not a good one so I would not play on it.

JLuck, Rolando McClain is an ILB and would be a great pick for us. I have heard comparisons to Urlacher and Willis. Dez Bryant might be available IF the managment would pick him. No other #1 type receivers in this draft

You could also expect a rush LB, look at history with Jets & Cowboys. They spent first round picks on LB's more than any other position. Ware, Carpenter, Spencer in the last three years at Dallas

I updated the blog. Turner is indeed inactive.

Bryant actually has made up with Parcells...Google it up...I am not saying they sign him, but they are supposedly not at odds.

I see Antonio Bryant will become a popular name this offseason.

The truth is he's been a problem child his ENTIRE career. The truth is he and Parcells had an issue that caused Parcells to get rid of him in Dallas. And, the one that really hurts, Bryant has been hurt a lot the past season and there are questions about his ability to stay healthy.

JP, like Wayne said Parcells and Bryant are on good terms. He might command big money being the only upper tier WR in FA. But he'd be a great fit here in Miami.

As far as the draft what is with the Terrance Cody talk? He's not even the best NT in the draft. If we pick between 10-13 I think we have a legit shot at Rolando McClain or even Dez Bryant.

Marshall would command a 1st and a 3rd. While he may be worth it I don't see this front office breaking bank for a guy like Marshall.

Boldin might be a WR to look at. If he could be had for a second I'd jump all over it.

Damn shame Turner is inactive.

Isn't there a little known CBA exemption for teams that sign under performing FAs for guaranteed multimillion/multi year contracts?

Mando, can you check on this?

Hey Mando do we get compensatory picks this year? I assume we would since hill and goodman left in free agency and were starters.

Hey any updates on Ricky's status for the game?

Houtz,

Agreed......there's no way Marshall comes to Miami. Too many draft picks that the Dolphins really cant afford to give up. Cardinals,i feel,would want maybe a 1st,4th and possibly a 5th for Boldin so that could be the end of that. We all know Miami desperately needs an elite WR but they aint about to give up draft picks for one.

Ricky is in.

Mando- I am not necs. pushing Bryant, but he and Parcells have made up according to media reports. Also, while he was hurt this year, it could lower his price. I do not want to give up picks for receivers. Finally, his "off year" might lower his price.

I bet he would do well in Miami.

miami needs a dt a playmaking ilb and a wideout. when is the last time we saw a miami lay the wood on an opposing player consistantly? crowder popped welker good once last season but welker only missed one play. i want a ilb that terrifies opponets like an urlacher or ray lewis. at dt we need a mauler. someone with a nasty attitude. as bad as miami needs a wr i think they could get by with what they have next year if they got a TE that can run and draw safety coverage. then they could concentrate on defense and rb and ol. give henne solid protection and a game changing rb and it's on. i really want miami to win today. screw draft position i know too many steelers fans and i want miami to shut them up!

Yes, Parcells and Bryant are on good terms.

As for Bryant's price coming down, that is not necessarily true. The fact there are no legit WR on the market will drive his price up. Supply and demand. Plus, teams have no cap to worry about.

From Adam Schefter of ESPN.COM. R Crennel likely to be named DC of Chiefs

Bye Bye Gibril Wilson.....Let the Cuts Begin!

I cannot wait to see how the NFL will work the refs to alter calls to help the Steelers. They did it the last two weeks versus the Packers and Ravens.

The end of those games were like playing basketball in the backyard as a kid...you'd shoot to win the game and miss....but somehow there is a foul on the play so you could win.

The NFL is disgusting.

LETS GO DOLPHINS!!!!

I want to see a good start and finish in this game

Link for the game?

there seem to be more Pittsburgh fans here than Dolphins fans. And the depressing thing is they're sitting in the lower bowl that is supposedly sold out on a season ticket basis.

I agree about lack of competition, Mando, in terms of WR's for unrestricted free agency. However, the interesting part of this year's offseason is how teams play the RFA market.

For us football geeks, I think it will be very compelling.

There are some great players that are RFA's that are young and much more talented than teams can scoop up at the end of the round one in the draft. Why not put an offer sheet down for a Pro Bowler.

Do you think all the Fergy songs I hear in the background intimidate the Steelers?

The ultimate insult: Steeler fans are waving their terrible towels.

I really don't want them to draft WR fine if we had an effective corps now and we were preparing for an FA loss there or something but we really don't have time to wait a couple of years to develop one.

This is not good news Mando I have no idea why they are going to do this coming draft. They definatley can't do what they did last year with basically two decent picks comic out of last years draft. They are either going to really develop who they have on the roster already just to be competitive. Some serious soul searching needs to be done on this team! B

Excellent kickoff by Dan Carpenter.

I know I said wouldnt make anymore post until after the draft but I couldnt resist tossing out this little nugget.

Either Patrick Turner's a complete bust or the trifecta are purposely sitting him to groom for a full season and to also make this kid NFL hungry next season.

If we dont either sign a unrestricted or restricted free agent(depending on the CBA) or draft a wr #1(Dez Bryant)that would speak volumes for thier plans with Turner.

If they draft or sign one, especially if its a restricted free agent(uncapped year) it would signal Patrick Turner's officially a bust and would be out of Miami before the start of the 2010 regular season. If the above things dont happen, it would appear the trifecta sees Turner as our future star.

One thing for sure is that this off season will rival any others as the most anticipated in Fin fan off season history.

Also Armando, if we signed a restricted free agent do you have any idea what level of draft picks we would have to give up?

Happy New Years everyone and I promise this is my last post until after the draft.

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