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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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Because our offence was SOOOOO BAD last year.....

Because practice will be so short.......

and because we have brought in a NEW OC......

and Because Henne's touch passes are still unproven.....

I think we should concentrate on the "D" in FA......

Its our best shot to stay competitive for the 1st half of the season....

Craig, 110 in Canada, and people still say there's no Global Warming.

Nick Barrett would work for me too (but I don't hate Crowder as much as you guys do).

good idea kris, "experts" are already predicting an ugly start of the season.

DC.....

Post something to make us change our mind on Crowder.....

Tell me what i'm over looking.....

kris,

There's nothing good about Crowder. He's an inconistent performer, with an attitude, who is hurt to often and doesn't make enough impact plays. It's remarkable he's lastly this long with the Dolphins. He probably sticks because the team would have enough time to make everything happen.

For now Crowder is the 2nd best ilb on our squad. Until something changes over this the next couple weeks, more likely than not, he'll be the 2011 starter.

Crowder isnt a horrible ilb, he's just not a dynamic ilb. The primary problem is just that his mouth is much more DYNAMIC than his play. Other than that I can live with Crowder if a better option isnt available.

So Kris is saying that the offense is so bad that there is no point trying to improve it right now.

Hard to follow that logic.

DB,

And the fact he's always hurt when you need him, he misses too many tackles and he doesn't make enough impact plays. Other than that he's fine...

Y-Bell's play is just as undynamic as Crowder's. Both are fine against the run but pretty much suck in the passing game. Still no one's yelping to get rid of Y-Bell. Mostly because Y-Bell isnt writing checks his play cant cash, unlike the folls mouth Crowder.

In addition to the comment at @ 12:20...

Count on Crowder starting while he is healthy. Simple fact is the D stats have been better with him in the lineup. Also it appears that Sparano really likes him and all the 'little things' he does that maybe not everyone else sees.

I'm not saying he's special in any way. He's just a solid player. Believe it or not, he's smart (about football at least). His mentor was Zack Thomas, so that has to count for something. He's a solid tackler (when he's in position).

Does he overshoot plays and get out of position, yes (he needs more discipline). Does he create turnovers, virtually never. Is he a gamechanger, no.

But it seems the defense is always better when he's in there. It seems the run game defense is better with him than without. I'm not of the mindset that everyone on either side of the ball needs to be a playmaker. Sometimes that's just too many cooks in the kitchen.

Is this a strong defense of Crowder, no. But we need to learn from the mistakes done to the oline last year. Don't tinker too much (if things are going in the right direction), because what you end with might be worse than what you started with.

However, one thing I will say about Crowder, we don't need to worry if the next guy is less durable than he is, I doubt that player exists in the NFL.

Craig, Crowder's proneness to injuries over the past few seasons has definitely added fuel to fire in lambasting the dynamics of his mouth vs the dynamics of his play.

Also, the fact he lost 2 onfield fights in 2 seasons even less endears him to our fans. At least win a fight Crowder, dammit!

Guys, I'd bet money if Crowder does stick around this will be his last season. I'd also have no problem saying goodbye to Bell if a n upgrade exists. He's been a good pro with the Dolphins but he's certainly not irreplaceable. Like DC, I'd prefer more of a ballhawk and I believe Bell is also starting to lose a step or two.

Y'all forget something.

Channing Crowder's Idiotic Comments-to-Plays Made ratio is off the charts.

Look at the top 5 dolphins all time on the list

IDIOTIC COMMENTS:PLAYS MADE

Channing Crowder 6:1
Brandon Marshall 2:1
Bryan Cox 1:1
Scott Mitchell 1:3
Mercury Morris 1:9

I feel bad including Mercury as he is one of the all time greats who made a lot of plays - -but boy did he say some weird things.

Scott Mitchell was just a moron. Bryan Cox was Channing Crowder 1.0 and Brandon Marshall speaks for himself.

I say dump Ronnie Brown and resign Ricky. With improved 2011 oline play Ricky can still get us 750-1000yds rushing. Williams still has the burst to cleanly get through open holes.

While everyone's talking about picking up this or that rb in fa. The best fit may already be on the team. With improved 2011 oline play that best fit is Ricky Williams. Give him a 2yr deal.

Simple fact is the D stats have been better with him in the lineup.

Posted by: Heather's panties | July 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM
--------------------------------------------------------

Ms. Panties.......I love when someone starts off a post with "simple facts".....and then post ZERO FACTS to back up what they say.....lol....

However... your argument that "tony likes him".....REALLY strengthens your arguments.

I would assume you were captain of yur Highschool debate team....

Ok, here's the logic behind my previous post.

You're a Free-Agent QB or Running Back.

You want to go somewhere that has a decent defense so you're not on the field all the time.
Miami.

You want a good Offensive Line to work behind with Pro-Bowl left tackle.
Miami.

You want a decent Receiving Corps with a big name receiver.
Miami.

Your agent wants to get you more money so he mentions that you would like to go to a team that seems to be on the cusp of making the play-offs so your current team is afraid of losing you. A team that other agents and players keep talking about that they'd like to play for.
Miami keeps coming up in the conversation.

My sources are all over the Internet if you're willing to take the time to look.

Miami has been in the conversation for Burress, D. Williams, A. Bradshaw, R. Bush, etc.

Ms. Panties....i miss quoted you....please forgive me.....

You said he "REALLY LIKES HIM"......

How can I argue against that.....

Gary, so would you recommend dumping Brandon Marshall? I guess then you're fine with Bess, Hartline and Marlon Moore/Roberto Wallace as your starting WRs?

That's about as smart as Rick Spielman's GM career here.

Sometimes I think some of you would rather field a team of Mormon missionaries (a la John Beck) rather than, you know, FOOTBALL PLAYERS.

If Ricky Williams is even 75% of what he was in his prime. Outside of DeAngelo Williams, he's as good or better than anything else available. Still DeAngelo is a huge roll of the dice to give a hefty contract when considering his chronic injury problems the past few years.

What's all this claptrap about panties? Nobody wears naughtier panties than me, got that? Nobody!

When big name FA players keep mentioning that they'd like to play for your team. That's a good thing! It means that there's a buzz in the NFL that your team is on the rise. Veteran players don't want to play for a team that's going downhill. They want to win chamionships!

Tracy.....nice post @ 1:28 PM.......

I would take exception to Miami having a good offensive line......at this point in time.....but hopefully they will fix before the season starts......if there is a season......

I do think we have a dynamic wr corps......and if used properly we should have at least 1 if not 2 pro-bowl caliber WR's......


As for qb in fa, I really think the guy who would best excell behind what we have in the makings here is Mark Bulger. Bulger has already proven he can be a pro bowl nfl qb when given adequate offwnsive weapons and protection.

Should Henne not perform up to 2011 expectations or is injured. I would feel very comfortable with Bulger at the helm, given we should have better 2011 oline play and more offensive weapons.

Tracy,

I think if you would have just said "playoffs" as opposed the "Big Show", you'd be on the mark!

I tend to agree with the GIST of your post.

I dont care what Mando says, we need to get Bush to get someone who can take it to the house in one play. We dont have one guy who can do that! Bradshaw and Williams will be more expensive anyways.

Odin....I concur....

Tracy474,

Players mentioning they would like to play for your team isnt always a great thing. Most times its only a negotiating ploy to drive up the asking price to the team they really want to play for.

Dont read too much into this. More often than not it means absolutely nothing. Big name fa's use this ploy all of the time top drive up thier asking price and almost always sign elsewhere.

We should sign Palmer, Young, Orton, McNabb, or Matt Flynn; a solid RB -Bradshaw, Sproles, or Williams; and Eric Weddle. Weddle would be a perfect fit

Armando used the term "duck tape" in his post lmao. Are all Cubans dumb ?

Quack Quack

Gary @1:16,

I was reading your post and before I could see who posted it, I thought, this sounds right on the money, but who thinks of things like this?

Then YOUR name scrolls up.

I should have known!

DB,

You make a big assumption that Ricky WANTS to play here any more. From everything I've heard him say, I don't think he does. I think the boat has sailed. Can he still get it done? I think he can, as you've indicated. I don't think his heart is here any more. I think it's time to move onto guys like Bradshaw and D. Williams, assuming of course that THEY want to be here.

Everyone knows that we're looking for a veteran QB and a running back.
And, they know we've got a little money to spend in FA. But, I don
't hear s lot of noise from players wanting to go to Tampa.
Miami is the name that keeps coming up. Our team's on the rise!

With the lockout almost over, I have come back. Glad to see you all. Priorities should be, in this order:

QB - Young/Orton/Palmer/Bulger
RB - D. Williams/A. Bradshaw (NO REGGIE BUSH)
WR/KR/PR - B. Smith/Breaston(if available)
An OLB who can rush

Also, cut or do not resign, all the scrub backup olineman(Mcquistan, Procter, Murtha) & sign new ones!

DM,

Given a clean hole to run through Ricky Williams still has the quick burst to take it to the house from 50yds and in. Beyond that he may get caught from behind because being an older player he'll run out of gas.

From the 50yd line on in Ricky is still as big a threat to take it all the way to the house as any player in the league. Plus, Ricky may be our least expensive option available to sign. I believ he still has 2 seasons left in him in a complementary rb role.


Armando used the term "duck tape" in his post lmao. Are all Cubans dumb ?

Quack Quack

Posted by: odinseye | July 21, 2011 at 01:46 PM

Come on Fake Odin. I was just thinking how nice it was to actually see football talk here. A racial slur to boot? C'mon Man! PLEASE, give it a rest already.

Gary @ 1:16

I was reading your post and before I could see who posted it, I thought, this sounds right on the money, but who thinks of sweaty jock straps ?

Then MY name scrolls up.

I should have known!

Craig,

Ricky is under the assumption he wont be resigned. That's it! He has never said anything else to the contrary. When you find a article stating he wants to leave please post it for me.

Since when did Cuban become a race ? You must be Cuban i.e dumb. Do you live in South Florida ? Um no. Come visit sometime and bring your "duck tape".

Life is so much better in a drunken stupor! Going to stock up on the Jack Daniels and get my mood right!

Valhalla!

Mike Alberti,

According to the new cba we are about $12 million under the salary cap. Palmer would count $13.2 million against the cap. You do the math.

rumor has it that the falcons have been together more often + with the most players than any other team this o/s.bet on them to win the sb. right parcells after not! taking ryan. idiot!

In the AFC East:

The Jets made their run. Now, due to salary cap issues, they're going to have to let some folks go just to sign their rookies. That means a weaker team . And, sanchize hasn't shown to be any better than Henne! Jets are on their way down.

The Pats are one injury away from mediocrity (Tom Brady.). Without him, they're just not good! And, they're weak on defense. Not the Pats!

The Bills are...well, the Bills!

The Dolphins can make a big splash this year if they can only get their act together!

Nice to be back talking football, instead of all the legal crap we've been subjected to over the last number of months.

Joe, did you miss me? Surprised to say but I have to agree with everything in your last post. The break has done us good...LOL.

DB, I would have no problem with Ricky being bak, I just don't think it's going to happen. If it was meant to happen I think they would have snapped him up before the break.

I'm also warming to the idea of Matt Hasselbeck being a Dolphin. I think he'd be the perfect guy to push/compliment/fill in for Henne. Yes, I know he's older and has some wear but he's still a smart QB with some skill. If QB is a problem again this year, I'd have no problem with blwoing it up and drafting a first rounder next year and maybe Hasselbeck would keep the reins for one more season.

I guess we could trade our entire 2011 draft for Palmer seeing how after trading for him we wont have anything left to sign them. LOL........

Db, I read an article earlier of how Ricky said he enjoyed his time in Miami but thinks he needs to move on and finish his career in some other city. "The ship has sailed" I believe was the exact quote. If I find the article, I'll post it.

Being that he was very unkind in his words of Sparano at seasons end(who wasn't?), this isn't surprising. If I were him, I wouldn't come back to play for a lame duck coach & gm. Almost everyone in this organization is on the hot seat.

Schmoe

Do you cut them and sign new ones even if the new ones available are not as good? Can't just pull rabbits out of hats.

Schmoe,

I think it was in a Yoga video on Youtube in which Ricky made the comment.

New Blog Up-Wow!

gs,where does kim bokamper rate, for his comment about they were going to kill sf in the sb and that made the locker room wall and we all know what happened after that and also making that game winning int in the wash. sb on #-7,oh wait.lol

Ireland,

Procter, Mcquistan & Murtha SUCK. I'd rather try NEW bodies than the same lousy ones. At worst, they can find the same kind of talent.

At least by doing so, it would acknowledge that the FO knows how bad they are. Acknowledge those guys stink & move on quickly.

If they can do it with proven players & some starts like Grove, Smiley, Wilford, Taylor etc..after only 1-2 years, why can't they do it with back ups?

CraigM,

The new cba suggest we are a little over 12 million under the cap. We still have to sign the rookie class. Im anticipating no lower than 5-6 million to get this done even with a rookie wage cap.

Palmer is totally out of the question. Hasselbeck may be just doable, but I believe we can get Bulger a little cheaper while he would be just as good as Hasselbeck or even slightly better, in my opinion.

Its going to be really exciting to see how this shortened fa period pans out and the impact it has for our team. This much is for certain! We can all praise or b!tch the decisions later. LOL......

It's amazing how the media has total control over the mind of 99% of the population. Ricky said in a nutshell that Sparano repeats himself too much and it gets tiresome, we all saw the exact words. Then just because Armando and the rest of the media portrayed it as bridge-burning slander, that is what sticks in everyone's mind.

I saw it as nothing more than mild constructive criticism, and worthwhile for TS to hear. Think for yourselves once in awhile instead of letting the advertisers do it for you.

Palmer is out of the question for a totally different reason, he's playing chicken with the most hard-headed owner in the league. Paul Brown would bite his nose to spite his face. We can take Palmer out of his cold, dead hands.

I think Palmer will realize this and just stay where he is (or retire).

cunning armando very cunning the old wind-up post followed by the juicy one, the 2011 lockout blogendurance ends

whilst its great to have everyone back in action, lots of solid stuff, nothings actually changed since the start of the lockout and end of the draft debates

just wait till u get your teeth into signings/trades and training

so

game 1, henne starts having beaten out any qb brought in, 2 pass td's, 1 int, 1 run td, 2 fgs' to fins

3 pass td's, 1 int, 1 d t/o, 1 fg to pats

fins win 27-24

ok ok, i'm hungry and the fins r never that predictable in fa

expect surprises

DyingBreed,

I cant remember the last time Ricky gave the Dolphins a 50 yard run! With Bush you can put him on punt/kick return/slot receiver/3rd down back. I'm not saying he's the answer to our offensive woes but that's 4 position you dont have to worry about with him unless he's injured. Ricky ok but his best days are behind him.

Hey, DB, gotta say that I don't agree with your Ricky reasoning. Did you miss how much he wore down at the end of the past two seasons? He started out kicking butt, but then really tailed off, as he wore down. I can't believe that will get any better this year. We might not even get a solid eight games, because of the lockout.

Mondo, who is the Dolphins player rep? I thought in the past it was Ricky but with him a pending FA is that still true?

thank you for sharing the wonderful point.

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