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Timeline of what's likely to happen in the next week

At approximately 10 a.m. Thursday morning at an airport area hotel in Atlanta, 31 of the 32 NFL club owners (New England's Robert Kraft will not attend because his wife passed this week so his son will take his place) will gather with the intent of voting on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Unless I miss my guess, there will be complaining and wrangling and ultimately the owners will vote to approve the new CBA by the time the weekend is over. The meeting is actually supposed to last Thursday and Friday but because lawyers are involved, I'm thinking the actual documents might take a bit longer to put before the owners for them to approve.

That is the foundation. Now let's look at the start of the construction project that is the Miami Dolphins 2011 season.

Even as owners are going over the financial details of the new CBA, club executives will be getting a crash course in new salary cap issues caused by the deal. They will be told what the cap will be -- with reported projections hovering between $120-$124 million minus benefits that fans don't need to think about.

If there are new rules such as new ways of using franchise tags those will be covered. Call it a bigtime capology course. For the Dolphins, General Manager Jeff Ireland and Senior Vice President of Football Operations Dawn Aponte will be getting the lowdown on the cap. (I do not know Aponte as the Dolphins keep her shielded but for her sake she better be the star some have suggested to me she is on the cap front. Frankly, I still remember the Joey Porter cap fiasco of last year, where he had to be cut twice because the club made a salary cap mistake in trying to cut him the first time. So she gets that one pass. No more.)

I'm told once that course is over, Ireland and Aponte will return to South Florida and plug in whatever new rules apply to Miami's coming assault on free agency, the re-signing of vets, the signing of both draft picks and undrafted free agents, and the possible whacking adjusting of scheduled salaries to current players.

The latter of those is important because it seems the Dolphins will need to create some cap space to operate comfortably. Currently the team's 2011 cap commitment is approximately $109.5 million, give or take a million. That puts the Dolphins around $11-13 million under the expected cap before signing any draft picks or undrafted free agents. That figure suggests two things: The Dolphins will have plenty of room to make one very bold move in free agency. The team can even make two or three bold moves if it restructures the contracts of players such as Jake Long, Vernon Carey, or Karlos Dansby.

The club would be wise to negotiate with nose tackle Paul Soliai who is tagged as their franchise player and therefore is costing $12.476 million against the cap -- about 10 percent of that cap, which seems like a waste of cap space to me.

The team might also consider salary cuts to some players. 

[10:05 update: I spoke to Eric Winston, who along with DeMeco Ryans, serves as player rep to the NFLPA for the Houston Texans. He was on Armando and the Amigo this morning. He told me the salary cap might be higher than is being reported and there are provisions in the agreement that would protect veterans from having to be cut by teams for cap reasons. Sure, teams can cut vets for non-performance or other reasons such as arrests and so forth. But Winston seemed positive there would be no veteran cap casualties as a result of the new agreement. He also suggested I was safe in assuming teams will have plenty of money to pay vets in free agency. Interesting.]

The strategy for that will be finalized in Davie over the weekend, I suppose. That will carry us to Monday or Tuesday. And then, by all accounts, the fun should begin. That is when the lockout is likey going to end. That is when teams will open the doors to their facilities and players can return to work out, talk to coaches, lift, pick up playbooks, maybe even get some walk-thru onfield work.

It is still unclear if or when clubs will get a window to negotiate exclusively with their own free agents. For the Dolphins, this period might not be as big a deal as it will be, say, for the Jets who have high-caliber free agents such as Santonio Holmes dangling on the verge of hitting the market.

Yes, I suppose the Dolphins could deal with Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown and Tyler Thigpen if an exclusive negotiating period is granted. But I would not be surprised if all three fail to sign during that exclusive period. Simply, the Dolphins want to upgrade from Williams and Brown in free agency so why re-sign them before trying to go after someone more dynamic? Also, I seriously believe both Williams and Brown are simply fall-back positions in case better options fall through.

Thigpen, meanwhile, apparently wants a chance to at least compete for a starting job, you know, be in the mix. Sure, no problem. He can compete for a starting job in Miami if Tony Sparano is eager to lose his job, which he is not.

Why sign Ricky or Ronnie if DeAngelo Williams or Ahmad Bradshaw might be available a day or two later? Obviously if both DeAngelo Williams and Bradshaw re-sign with the Panthers and Giants respectively, perhaps the Dolphins try to offer either Ricky or Ronnie a take-it-or-leave-it contract hoping one will bite.

(Before you mention Reggie Bush, let me say this: He is not an option as a running back, unless the Dolphins have something up their sleeve. The Dolphins need someone to split the workload with rookie Daniel Thomas. They need a 200-carry guy. The most he's ever carried the ball in a season was 2007 when he lugged it 157 times. He averaged a pedestrian 3.7 yards per rush that year. Bush is more suited as a third-down back threat. He is electric when he's healthy on special teams as a punt return man. But he has not been capable of being a workhorse in New Orleans. The only way Bush works for Miami is if the Dolphins have designs of using Lex Hilliard as their No. 2 RB. That plan would sound like something of a gamble to me. I'd rather have DeAngelo Williams, Daniel Thomas and Lex Hilliard than Thomas, Hilliard and Bush. I believe the Dolphins agree. Given the football reasons and the fact Bush likely wants a Brinks truckload of cash, I would not bet on Miami getting Bush. I have not been told that by any source but it seems logical.)

At some point -- either concurrently with the lifting of the lockout or between 24-72 hours later -- the NFL 2011 league year will begin.

Teams must be under the salary cap by that date. And then teams can begin signing their draft picks, their undrafted players which they all will have lined up, and likely new unrestricted free agents.

Most folks believe all out free agency would start July 28. There is conjecture training camps will also open on the 28th but I would not be surprised if practices don't actually begin until the 29th, a Friday, or the 30th, a Saturday. I'm sure coaches around the league will be wary about exposing their players to needless groin, hamstring, calf, and other nagging strains and pains so quickly after a long lockout.

And as camps are open, free agents will be streaming in as they sign. The big names will go first. The bargains will come thereafter.

Again, I think the Dolphins will get a chance at a big name or two. As someone texted me today, the Dolphins have their hammer and nails and duck tape ready to go as the building of the 2011 team gets ready to begin. "[We] just hope we get to use the hammer and nails more than the duct tape," the text read.

Hilarious! And also insightful because Miami obviously wants to push toward playoff caliber by building with top-grade materials rather than patching with whatever is left or discarded by someone else.

So what will that take?

The obvious priorities are quarterback and running back. But there might be others. What others? Who? This post is long enough already, don't you think? I'll post the answer to those questions later this morning. Check back. 

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Armando, I guess that first lame thread was to shake off the vacation rust. This thread is much better. Welcome back!!!

Dear Mr. Salguero,

THAT"S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

PS: Pay no attention to what I said about you in the last blog!

Your biggest fan

Odinseye :)

Buh Bye?

Buh Bye, where are you?

Buh Bye, are we to believe the Big Mac eating Chester Pitts(ROTFLMAO)?

Or should we believe the well rested Armando Salguero?
---------------------------------------------

Chester Pitts say: Can I have S'more P-Nuts Pwease!!!!

Ah Ha Ha!!!!

Bradshaw and VY

Buh Bye?

Where you at?

Awwwwwww! Buh Bye went Buh Bye-ROTFLMAO!!!!

I think it's time for a double Bourban on the Rocks!

Mark my words: Edmund Gates will be a Pro Bowler.

Of course Miami will cut him and New England will pick em up first, but a Pro Bowler nonetheless!!!!

ValHalla!!!!

Last post was good...I'm not sure why all the flack. It just reminded us how lame the franchise is. When the visiting team always kicks our butt it seems logical to also sell them jerseys! Only the product on the field can fix that. I still want Vince Young...Henne will not win the AFC East...ever!!!

7th rd draftee NT Frank Kearse may not be our best nor even close to most exciting draft pick. However he could prove to be 2011's most important draftee for the Dolphins.

Paul Soliai, franchised at $12.476 million, for that huge sum it's a pro bowl or bust season for him. IMO, if Soliai doesnt at least make the pro bowl he wont be resigned in 2012. Therefore expect to see lots of Frank Kearse in the 2011 NT rotation this season.

I expect lots of sink or swim minutes for Kearse. Even if Kearse shows he's even close to what Soliai is. Soliai wont be resigned unless he has a pro powl performance or even better, an all pro performance.

Buh Bye made a fool of himself so he changed his sign in to TC.

TC/Buh Bye, what difference does it make? A douchebag is a douchebag!

Chester Pitts-Awwwww Haw Haw!!!!

Welcome Back Mando. You da man.

TC,

The last post was lame. It was about the concessionaires dumping Jet memorablia during Marlins games. It had zero to do with the Dolphins organization.

Besides, I have no problem with vendors selling the visiting teams memorabilia on the visitors side of the stadium. This is still America and capitalism rules. I would sell opposing team gear to its fans in Joe Robbie right now. Hate me all you want but my pockets would still be fat.

I live in central Florida and its tuff to find Dolphins gear here. Being on the east coast it predominantly Jaguars. The NFL market rule sucks.

Like in the case of Florida and its 3 pro football teams. Every vendor should be able to sell whichever team merchandise he desires. If I dont like the Jaguars or Bucs I shouldnt be penalized for that. Heck I'll either go online or go down to the Dolphins market and buy thier fan gear anyway.

If a team sucks badly enough thier fans wont buy thier fan gear anyway. This exclusives rights marketing stuff is just a bunch of childish bs!

Sign Vince Young!!

DB...The story said the fans objected to visiting jerseys being sold on "game day", according to Mike Dees. This to me suggests football season...am I wrong? Read the post again.
Also, Odinseye...you really believe in Henne?

OK...the discussion stopped dead. I didn't think DB or Odinseye would take my crap. Just trying to get a rise fellas.

QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ
BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

QB
QB

Do it already. !!!!!!!!

Oh by the way, you better keep Amaya he is a freakin STEAL!!!

I HERE THAT THE GRAET JACCORY HARRIS IS A FREE AGENT THIS YEAR, HE"S THEE NEXT BIG THING.

If I'm a player on defense, I'm licking my chops. You can bet the ball is gonna be on the ground a lot for some great turnover opportunities with many chances to score to boot! Also interceptions galore for at least the first 1/2 of the season. Most games will probably resemble a bunch of monkeys trying to f*ck a football more than having any semblance of an NFL game, nevertheless...let's go!

Veteran pass rush specialist to pair with wake on passing downs.

I think Reggie Bush is exactly what they need. He has the Speed to cause so many problems. I do not see Lex as the guy to back up Thomas I see a veteran RB who can help him and mentor him. I for one would love for it to be either Ronnie or Ricky......NOT D Williams or Bradshaw.

So to me Ronnie or Ricky with the addition of Reggie Bush (He can not demand a lot of money, he now will need to earn big money through incentives) No team will offer Reggie Bush big Dollars if they do they are stupid!

i watched an interview with some of the clev browns players. they were excited to get a new offensive coordinator! guess who got their old one?

thanx greg.lol

Mondo what about Marc Bulger?

greg z (I asked this last night, but a guy "greg" responded, don't think it was you. Are you going to training camp this year? If so, looking forward to your observations. Especially interested in the new offense, and the rookies.

Mando, you son of a gun, great job!!! Answered many of my outstanding questions. I'm glad Reggie Bush isn't high on the radar (I agree he's not a good investment for a few touches a game). D'angelo Williams would be my first choice for a compliment to DT.

I, however, (big surprise) am MUCH more interested in our QB situation. We have Henne (and I believe he'll ultimately be the starter this season), but I want an insurance policy if he cracks up (or looks as bad Week 1 and he did Week 16 2010). I see slim pickins in the FA market at QB, probably Orton is my #1 choice, depends what they want for him.

CAN'T WAIT FOR FA TO BEGIN!!!

today THE LOCKOUT .........ENDS AND FOOTBALL IS BACK........

we have a speedster back already with kory sheets - the dark horse sleeper who will explode for us this year!! spend the money on offensive line free agents and kick return!

DC........ ORTON DUE 11 MILLION THIS YEAR W/DENER AND WE CAN SPLIT THAT W/DENVER TO GET HIM OFF THEIR HANDS ...........

ORTON IS YOUNG,PROVEN AND REAL QB .

aloco,make it so.lol

Good work Armando! Well written, lots of context, good analysis.

I give that column a solid A-. It's a mark that won't get you into Harvard, but it will get you into the SEC.

I'll be back when you make your next post in late November.

Much better article Mando, who wrote it for you?

Forget Deangelo 'crap I'm injured again' Williams. Bradshaw will be signed by the GMen.

Tiki Barber, good for two years. Pick up his replacement in the next draft.

The team responds better to Thiggy. Forget the Chigago game on 3 days practice with 3rd string center and makeshift oline against a great D. Forget his years at KC, that whole team sucked and so did his coach.

Give Thiggy a chance. The boy has game in him, Chad will never wake up.

Mando, good stuff. The mad scramble for FAs should be interesting to say the least.

9:26 ditto

9:11.lol. bruce,is that you?

Still “work to be done” as owners ready for meeting

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on July 21, 2011, 9:44 AM EDT

NFL owners and a huge media contingent have arrived in Atlanta for meetings set to start at 10 a.m. ET.

While optimism remains in the air, there still remain some outstanding issues to solve.

From Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal: “Hear NFL players, owners worked last night, but were not able to resolve issues standing in way of a deal.”
---------------------------------------

Still work to be done.... Isn't it July 21st? No deal? Hmmmm. Still? According to earlier reports, a deal needs be be done, DONE, by July 22 before games get whacked. For those of you not proficient in math, that would be tomorrow.

They are not drinking champagne yet, but some fans continue to guzzle cba flavored kool aid.

ALoco, you and I are of one mind on Orton, let's DO IT!!!

Bruce, forgive me bro', you're absolutely right. I forgot all about Bradshaw. Even though he's coming off ankle surgery, he's MUCH younger and has been injured less in the past, so I totally agree he should be over Williams as far as FA RBs. Thanks for the correction.

All off-season, I've heard pundits, players, and agents talk about Miami. It seems there's a major buzz going on in the NFL linking the Dolphins with just about every FA available. Some of it is based on our needs, QB, Runningback, etc. And some of it is smoke and mirrors for players trying to increase their value to their current teams or the market in general. But, overall the consensus is that the Miami Dolphins are just a player or two away from being in contention for the Big Show! This bodes well for our team.

Armando,

Nice to have you back! Been a long Summer without talking about football.

DC, good to hear your thoughts. I can tell you're as excited about football as the rest of us. Free agency is going to be one Hell of a Whirlwind this year!!

DC,

I'm advocating Bradshaw too. I think he'd be a great compliment to Thomas. I don't know what his thoughts are about coming to Miami. Some I've read said he wants to come here, others I've read have suggested it's just a negotiating ploy to up the ante in NY. My guess is he resigns with NY. I'd be happy if D. Williams ends up as the second option here. Not a fan of Bush. As Armando said, probably looking for too much money and not enough touches.

QB will be interesting....Orton would be a nice add but no more than a 4th (I might go to a 3rd). I still think that if the 'Hawks are looking at other options that Hasselbeck could be a good add to push Henne for a year or two.

I don't see a lot of fat on this team that could be cut. The only exceptions would be if guys like Mick Barnett, Chris Hope and Madieu Williams get chopped, would the Dolphins consider chopping guys like Yeremiah Bell and Channing Crowder? Just a thought....

I think the majority of what they do in FA will be at RB, QB and OL.

The team needs an offensive PLAYMAKER! A THREAT! We have none until one is proven. Gates is not proven until he takes some NFL hits and makes some plays. Unlikely we will get that until the next draft.

Come to think of it, unlikely anyone can be a threat on this team with Henne running the show.

Last post was good...I'm not sure why all the flack. It just reminded us how lame the franchise is. When the visiting team always kicks our butt it seems logical to also sell them jerseys! Only the product on the field can fix that. I still want Vince Young...Henne will not win the AFC East...ever!!!

Posted by: TC | July 21, 2011 at 01:14 AM
_________________________________________________________________

TC.....for the record.....the Dolphins have beaten the jets 4 out of the last 6......

KRIS COPYING THE WAY I WRITE......... I AM GLAD I CAN HELP KRIS.


NICE TO TALK FOOTBALL ...........

CraigM, good to hear from you (been awhile). I am VERY excited for the season to start. We can all get back to the same chatter as last year (Henne, Sparano, Ireland, etc.).

I doubt Bell gets axed this year. He's too essential to the defense (for tackling). Though I would love to see an improvement over him in the next year or so. I think we need more of a ballhawk back there (though we may have one already). Can't wait to see if the d stays potent or if they fall off like '09.

FYI, me and kris got y'all beat down in Miami today. 100 DEGREES in the Nation's Capital. My car temperature reads a cool 130!!! Who says the Heat are in Miami?

Ah...we're back in business!

But, overall the consensus is that the Miami Dolphins are just a player or two away from being in contention for the Big Show! This bodes well for our team.

Posted by: Tracy474 | July 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Tracy.....where are you getting your info from man.....I LOVE my DOLPHINS.....but I highly doubt the CONSENSUS around the league (pundit, Owner, or player)......is that the Dolphins are 1 or 2 players from the big show......

474, the 2 players are t.brady and a. peterson.lol

DC....Its burning up man......no doubt about it.......

yeah kris,look at the us debt.lol

kris/Tracy, last time there was "league consensus" about Miami making it far in the Playoffs, we went 1-15.

Let's just shoot for winning the division, that's a tough enough challenge in itself.

I agree DC.....lets go 5-1 in the division.,,,,then let the chips fall where they may.....

DC,

I'm in Canada...it's 33C here right now but with the Humidex it feels like 39C. If I do my math correctly that's 110F.....crazy stuff!!

I would love to see another ILB playing next to Dansby.....and i'm looking forward to Misi's development opposite Wake....and Mr. GLASS (Ordick)......staying on the feild for more than 1 half.

I'm not sure our offence will be much better than last year.....but if we can strengthen the D.....I think we can make a push.....

Good post, gives me something to do until AN AGREEMENT IS SIGNED! AAAAAGGGGGUUUUHHHHH!

kris,

Long time man...

If Nick Barnett becomes available would you like to see the Dolphins replace Channing Crowder with him? I'd like to see a new ILBer too.

Craig M....whats up???

Yes.....but not because its Nick Barnett.....but rather because I am of the opinion of....ANYBODY BUT CROWDER.......

kris,

totally agree.

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