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Salary cap, circumstances may force Garrard exit

You already know what the Dolphins are planning to do with Ryan Tannehill so that's yesterday's news. But the question now becomes what the team will do with its remaining quarterbacks.

Will the team keep all four -- Tannehill, David Garrard, Matt Moore and Pat Devlin -- or will someone have to go?

It must be said that Miami could very well keep all four, assuming all the pieces fall into place. Those pieces include Garrard accepting a backup role, Garrard getting healthy, Pat Devlin going to practice squad and no other team offering a trade for either Garrard or Moore.

But logic, financial ramifications and circumstances may lead the Dolphins to jettison one of the two veterans.

Let us examine the scenario.

First, accept the fact Joe Philbin and his staff are comfortable with three quarterbacks. He has said as much so I take him at his word. Also accept the fact the Dolphins are in a relatively awful salary cap situation.

How awful?

The Dolphins are in the bottom five NFL teams on cap space. The club's cap space hovers between $2 million and $2.31 million, depending on the week. Last week, that was third-worst in the NFL with only the Steelers and Lions having less cap space than the Dolphins.

Now, how a team without a proven franchise quarterback and a lack of bigtime playmakers can find itself in such a compromising cap situation, I haven't the answer. But that doesn't change the facts.

Understanding Miami's tough cap situation, you now understand one reason why Jake Long's much-anticipated contract extension hasn't been signed. And you hopefully understand that some of the roster decisions the team is about to make may be driven, at least in part, based on salaries.

Said another way, if the team can decide between two relatively equal players and one is making considerably less than the other, the more expensive guy is more likely to go.

That brings us to Moore and Garrard. Keeping both is a salary cap luxury. Moore is scheduled to make $2.25 million in base salary this year. Garrard is scheduled to make $2.75 million in base salary. Cutting or trading one would make sense. The Dolphins would lower the price they're paying for backup quarterbacks, which now promises to be at a relatively expensive $6.5 million in salary cap space for both players.

Most teams allocate anywhere between $3-$5 million in cap space for the backup quarterback. So you see the Dolphins are way above that.

And how does the team get down to a more acceptable number if it is looking to clear some cap space? It either cuts, trades or in Garrard's case perhaps negotiates an injury settlement, with one of the players.

Where would that leave the Dolphins?

With one veteran backup and a developmental player (Devlin) either on the roster or more likely on the practice squad. (Devlin is eligible for the practice squad.)

So which backup would the Dolphins prefer?


He is healthy. He is good in the locker room and in the quarterback room. He is accepting of the fact he has lost the quarterback competition to Ryan Tannehill even while he feels "frustrated" that he didn't play better this training camp and preseason.

Moore also has a history of having helped the Dolphins to a 6-3 finish last season as the step-in starter once Chad Henne was injured.

Why not Garrard?

He's injured. He's not going to be ready for the start of the season. He's the more expensive player. And there is a question of how accepting he would be of being the backup, given that he was the starter when he got hurt and his stated goal is to once again start in the NFL.

With Garrard, the Dolphins also have to consider that he is developing something of an injury history and reputation. He was out all of last year because of a back injury. While he says that is completely well, he hasn't taken a hit since then so questions remain. And even without taking a hit, Garrard injured his knee. He's also not exactly ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation.

All of this raises questions as to how long Garrard could hold down the proverbial fort if, say, Tannehill is injured or benched and the backup must play for extended weeks.

So while a healthy Garrard may be a better quarterback than Moore, he's not necessarily the better option to be kept now.

One more thing: This all would all have to play out before the first week of the season. That's the timetable because as vested veterans, both Garrard and Moore will have their full base salaries guaranteed for the year if they're on the roster for the start of the first regular-season week.

Speaking of salary cap space, check out the numbers below that show the bottom 10 NFL teams. They are from last week, which were the latest numbers available to me.

32) Steelers: $2.16 M 

31) Lions: $2.19 M 

30) Dolphins: $2.31 M 

29) Chargers: $2.87 M 

28) Falcons: $2.93 M 

27) Rams: $2.94 M 

26) Ravens $3.123 M

25) Giants: $3.125 M 

24) 49ers: $3.24 M 

23) Texans: $3.30 M 


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I love how the Fins have Garrard as the #1 QB and then he gets hurt...they cut him weeks later. Dumb.

Ireland and this front office SUCKS!!!!

Thanks Bill Parcells

Would it be possible to post the entire list? I'm just curious as to how bad off the Dolphins really are. If the top team has 6 million, then it's not so bad. If the top team has 15 million, then something is seriously wrong.

Okay, so Ireland is a bad talent evaluator. So what! He is a master with managing the salary ca... What, we have the third worst cap space?! With this roster!!! Oh Ireland needs to be shoved out the door already. Geez.

Hayden, what would you have the team do? Garrard is coming off an injury, was only intended to be a 1-year stopgap ANYWAY, and got injured before even taking a hit this year. What is the possible reason they would want to keep Garrard? They have no ties to him. He's not the lynchpin that's holding this team together (or keeping them relevant). They don't know if he can withstand lengthy playing time if something happens to Tannehill. So, again, what's the reason to keep him?

This is a very simple decision (financially and strategically). Garrard isn't an option, and is more expensive, Moore is a great candidate as a backup. I don't feel nervous for Tannehill getting hurt and a backup destroying everything the team worked towards. Moore should be retained. Devlin should go to the practice squad, and Garrard should be traded if possible, if not cut outright. This one is very easy.

Jeff, it's pretty bad either way. Shows the Dolphins paid way too much money that wasn't deserved. All they got out of the last decade was one Division berth and a Playoff appearance. Big deal. If it was a "more with less" approach, they wouldn't be in this position. Instead, it was more with less talent but same salary. They gave huge salaries to injury-prone players (Smiley, Grove) or players they couldn't control or live with (Marshall) or players that were not playmakers at all (Vernon Carey). I'm not angry with them on Marshall, he actually scores TDs (of course, not as much in a Sparano offense, but theoretically). But to make this atrocious oline the richest unit on the team, did they really get the bang for that buck? Wouldn't it have been wiser to get a bunch of lesser paid talent (that would have probably done the same thing on the field) and had something left over for maybe a much needed upgrade at QB? WR? TE? S? Was paying Yeremiah Bell so much for so many years when he wasn't adding much to the defense worth it? Answer, probably not. And now we're in this position.

How the Fock do we have such limited cap room and no decent players. Reason 102 to fire Ireland.

Just viewed replay of Dolphins vs Panthers and you might as well go ahead and start Tannehill. The Dolphins first teamers were totally outclassed on both sides of the ball. Dolphins were totally unprepared and lacked any execution. In particular, the pass defense was deplorable. The fact that there are no NFL caliber starting receivers on the roster will not help Tannehill's development and is totally unforgivable by the organization.

Underperformance yet again.

Wow....all those teams at the bottom of the cap list are all playoff contenders, except for the Fins & Rams.

Dansby & Burnett are over-hyped and over paid and the return on that investment is not paying off.

I hope Ireland gets it right soon!

Keep up the good work Jeff Ireland. (sarcasm)

...oh yea, I'm voting to cut Garrard and keep Moore as backup.
Reason: Garrard is injury prone, sorry Garrard fans but that's a fact.

The Dolphins ought to cut any overpaid player this season who doesnt play well enough. We are not going to go to the playoffs anyway. Ireland has paid too much for players that isnt good enough. That is going to hurt us next time when a high prized FA comes around.

Clue, because we followed the Parcells' '80's approach of making a team from the lines out. After blowing our wad, all we had was a bunch of fat guys that are getting beat by the faster linemen now in the league (it's almost identical to the Maginot Line the French constructed before WW2. It was a miserable, strategic failure, and the French were defeated by the Germans in 6 weeks).

If we spent our money on skill position players, we'd at least be able to score TDs. Then all we'd be looking for now were linemen (which are a dime a dozen). It's much easier to find an adequate lineman than a franchise QB, or a #1 receiver, or a playmaking TE.

This is directly related to the Trifecta's horrible miscalculation that the game is basically the same as when Parcells was Coaching. It's not. It's MUCH different. We came around to that fact about a decade too late. And now we're paying for those mistakes.

Good morning guys,

Wow. I usually try to refrain from dumping on Ireland because it's too easy and I have been trying for the longest to convince myself that although I am a big Parcells fan he did a bad job with the Dolphins and Ireland was sort of a trainee while all the bad draft picks and signing were on Parcells.

I'm starting to get slightly fed up with pretending this is the case. Ireland is doing a terrible job. Miami's coaching staff is being dealt a real handicap dealing with Ireland's incompetance. I know Ireland knows the game and is a smart guy but that doesn't excuse the terrible team with a lack of playmakers and difference makers across the board on O and D.

Players killing Miami's cap and future:

1. Karlos Dansby and his $8.8 M salary is a joke. I don't care how good a locker room prescense he is not worth his salary. Hes a good player but not elite or even consistently very good. He isn't the playmaking fumbles forced/int guy we all thought he could be either. Face it the guy is just good and I can think of 10-15 MLB better then him right now.

2. Tony McDaniel is a nice rotation guy but he makes $3 M. Name a time you thought he was worth more then anything other then the vert minimum?

3. David Garrard - there's really no need for a vet making $2.75 M when you drafted a rookie in round 1 and have a good backup in Matt Moore. (I said good back up guys not starter).

4. Kevin Burnett - He makes about $4 M this year and he is now an OLB in a 4-3. Is he going to be some sideline to sideline guy? No. and his salary goes up to $4.5 M next year.

5. Lydon Murtha - has never cracked the lineup after years of offseason promise and he makes $2 M and is out of place as a big body in a zone blocking, hurry up scheme. Add John Jerry with his 360 lbs to a non fit and he makes a half M this year as well.

Yeremiah Bell is on the books this year for $1.5 against the cap as well. Always nice to pay a vet when they play for your most hated division rival.

DC - The Dallas Cowboys have tried to build a team with "skill" players and they were 8-8 last year...and that's with a franchise QB in Tony Romo.

I hear ya, but it's not that simple.

More moronic moves by Irescum siging 35 yr olds Garrard and Chad Johnson.

mallett looked pretty good last night. i remember passing on him to give up 3 picks for d.thomas??? doesnt make much sense nor does any of irelands decisions. clown chad johnson or washed up david garrard? long year ahead my friends.

NH, if you're trying to make a point between Dallas and Miami, then you've already lost. How many winning Seasons have the Cowboys had under Romo? I'll tell you, a lot more than the Dolphins 2 or so last decade. I understand it's not that easy, but if you were a fan, would you rather be a fan of a team like the Cowboys, who have had Playoff appearances, have had winning Seasons, but just haven't been able to put it all together, or the Dolphins, who last Playoff win was over a decade ago?

That's a silly comparison. Dallas is far and away further along than the Dolphins.

EGV @ 8:38

I understand your frustration. It seems like this year is a loss already and a single game hasn't been played. I will tell you this that Miami is a bottom 10 team for sure. I don't blame the staff however for a lack of preparation. I blame Ireland and whoever made the majority of this roster up. The bottom line is Miami lacks talent in so many areas. No talent at WR, a continuous struggle on the O-line and not just the right side but as a unit, no dynamic playmaker period on that that side of the ball. On D they have no pass rush and a group of average LBs not too mention a secondary where the best player seems to be Reshad Jones which for a player who doesn't make many plays is a bad thing.

Face it bro it's not the coaching it's the talent.

You gotta wonder how short a leash Ireland is really on now?
To be in the bottom 5 of the cap list and have NO star players on the team is a horrendous miscalculation by the GM.

I am doing my FF draft next week and have ZERO Fins players on my draft board. Although I may take Miller in a late round as my flex player??

DC - I love ya man, but was just saying even when you build a team with "skill" players vs. "inside out" there are no guarantees.
Sure the Cowboys have a higher win % than the Fins, but overall they only have ONE playoff win with Romo under center...ONE.
So in reality were not that far behind and last years records show that.

In the last decade, the Cowboys have had 3 losing Seasons. The Dolphins have had 6. Which philosophy is more geared to winning in the current NFL? It's not the only thing that matters, but it illustrates how important playmakers at skill positions are to a franchise.

I love how the Fins have Garrard as the #1 QB and then he gets hurt...they cut him weeks later. Dumb.
Posted by: Hayden Fox | August 21, 2012 at 08:21 AM

That's what happens when you injure your knee turning around in a pool....though I don't think shedding any salary cap space helps us this season unless we get a surprise player that was cut by another team due to the same situation (not enough space) in that case cut whoever needs to be cut immediately and grab that player. Otherwise those contracts are only for this season, when the offseason comes then you may cut/waive/trade anyone you see fit.

NH, agreed there's more to it than just the personnel you choose.

The most educational thing I've ever read was when Bellichick said most Seasons are determined before a single game is played. He was saying most successful teams are successful first in the offseason (coaching, OTAs, and then team transactions). The business of football teams gets lost sometimes to fans, but the HC's understand you need to make the right decisions in the front office first for a team to be successful on the field.

And that's where I knock the Cowboys. I like Jerry Jones, but he has too much control over the ballclub and makes too many bad decisions. And that's why they aren't up there with the Green Bays and Steelers and Patriots. I hate New England, but that's a very well run franchise. And of course, if your best player is your QB, you can cover a lot of personnel mistakes you might make.

Dallas has a better QB than Miami up until this point, that's why they have a better winning percentage. Give us Tony Romo and give Dallas the likes of AJ Feely, Cleo Lemon, Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, John Beck, etc etc etc and our teams swap records completely. Who does Dallas have? "my momma is a hooker" dez Bryant? Remember: the one season we had a legit QB we won the division and went 11-5 after going 1-15 the year before. The only thing that changed was Pennington. Give us a legit QB and we'll be fine

Let's not forget that the Cowboys' two best skill position players were undrafted FAs. Romo was an undrafted FA who didn't play a down in the NFL until his third year out of college; and Miles Austin was an undrafted FA who had a grand total of 352 receiving yards after 3 years in the NFL. Point? Most skill players take time to develop and the fact that two studs like Romo and Austin both were undrafted indicates how difficult it can be to draft in the NFL.

I suppose I'm just old-fashioned. It seems wrong to me that a QB comes in with no background with the Dolphins, cut from his last team, missing all year with a back injury and he's offered more money than the QB who did a good job in a tough situation the year before.
If you want to make more than the incumbent QB do it by earning it not by how much your agent can get you.

What about the money we paid Parcells? Does that count against cap space?

Correction from my post at 845.

Although Dansby makes 8.8 M this year he counts 12.8 against the cap number.

oooomph. !.

you have to try and trade garrard but to do that you have to keep him on the roster openning day and take the cap hit and pay him. If you don't then the team that wants him will just wait it out.

Looking at the bigger picture the Fins are in great shape going into next year. Last number I saw were 67MM committed for 2013. Of course this requires Jake Long to be resigned but he is already taking up 11MM annually. So with Long that 78MM on a cap of 125MM. MAybe Ireland isn't managing the cap so badly after all and he is cleaning up the Bill Parcells mess.

No talent and no cap space???? WTF???


Teams like the Steelers and Patriots have great systems. They can put pretty much anyone in them and be successful. Then you don't need to get the best talent available. Just the smart guys that can learn the system (so, opposite of Chad Johnson's). It makes personnel decisions easier.

If you have a great system, with coaches that can teach players that system, then you can cut a player (or let him test the FA market) like Benjarvis Green-Ellis or Joey Porter and not miss a beat.

Obviously we have nothing like that here. We're STILL looking for Marino's replacement. We STILL don't have a secondary like we did when we had Madison/Sertain. We STILL don't have receivers like the Marks Bros. Then again, we've had multiple HCs since then. Gone from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back to a 4-3. And have had no system on offense until this year. Not too hard to figure out why we are mediocre.

Mando, how much of this eaten up cap room is "dead money" and who has all that money gone to???

Ireland has buried this team so deep they'll NEVER get out.

But wasn't Garrard given a $1M bonus to sign with Miami, so if he is cut we eat that money and have even less cap room.

Trade Garrard?? LMFAO!! For what? a hemmoroid?

if any of ya'll tink dat f'n ire was the 1 who pix rt then i gots some weed 4 ya 2 buy and u can also make ragu sauce wit it. it was all f'n ross on rt.
lol. martin and egnew all busts r on f'n peanut head ire.

y r all of the media hoes and some knucklehead football fans surprised that the jets scored zero td's.
it's f'n spazanos o dummies and he only kix fg's not td's.



The money we paid Parcells doesn't but the wonderful BIG/STRONG (slow in most cases) prototype motto he brought is hurting the cap.

Dansby $8.8 M salary with $12.8 M against the cap. Fasano has the nerve to count $4.5 M vs the cap. Artis Hicks $2.45 M

only matt millan has pixxed away an owners $$$ worse than #-2 ire.

Good point mando on why we have to decide on 1 of the 2.

Also, I believe we should take Philbin at his word for now.

This fan base has battered Woman syndrome. They are used to being someones bottom b!tch. Oscar can I get a Diagnosis?

So if players that are = in talent, but 1 of them has a higher cap value. The veteran will get cut.

Naanee? Flatline? Misi? Jerry & Gates?

I think the Max salary cap a team can have is 10% of of the total allowed. So if the salary cap is 110 the total should be about $11 mil.

With the 3 mil from Garrard and the 1 mil each from the 4 or 5 veterans being cut.
U have the fins with Max cap room to start the season and have enough space to give Jake Long his $100 mil contract. Believe that's how much he's worth if Buffalo is throwing that money around to Mario Williams.

Which #1 overall pick has been to more Probowls? Jake or Mario?

Yes Ireland is partially responsible for the current cap situation, but he is also a part of the solution. The problem was the beginning. The multi year contract to Fa's. Over the last 2 years he's been doing a better job of handing out big money contract to Fa's. A Parcells Forte'

This team is going to continue to get built from within from now on. That and Acorns. But from Now on Fa's might only be signed to 1 or 2 year deals.

Way to go JI. On the salary cap space you left this franchise with!! And nothing to show for. What a dumb a s s. Retard. Over paying for backup talent. What a joker for a GM And the owner too Dumba s s that think they know how to run a NFL team. I know I don't know crap. But I don't proclaim to know anything about running a NFL team either!


The Dolphins are a 3 ring circus

Dysfunctional garbage

Ross needs to sell the team

Or at least fire Ireland AND Philbin

You are correct, Only thing is JI is worst than Matt M. But. Ross gets turn on when JI spends his money. Or is it his money? It might be the other 30 part owners. Lol

that's 1 f'n long list of bust$ that f'n ire has amassed.

mando. dig ^ all the info on all of the busts that have floated thru camp davie and have flushed ross
' $$$ down the bowl that ire has pix.

Tannehill will be ANOTHER IRELAND BUST

Trade Garrard or Moore to Arizona. Kolb is on the way out. Oh, and no we don't want him on the Dolphins. I'd take Devlin first.

I forget the exact number but I believe it's estimated that the Dolphins will be somewhere in the area of $40 million under the cap for next season. There is a bunch of dead money currently eating up space for the 2012 season plus expiring contracts. I would set aside $10 million of that for Jake Long but there will be money to spend next season. Tannehill can have this season to get some experience and if he's still alive by the end of the season there will most likely be a top 10 draft choice and money to spend on free agents. Philbin will have an entire year spent with the current roster and can identify which players need to stay and which can be let go. Haven't really looked at the prospective free agents for next year but surely there will be some good skill players available (WR being the priority).

People forget about Marshall costing us almost 6 million this year and Bell costing us almost 1.5. We are in a prime position to have a huge cap space for next offseason.

Dear Mr. Salguero

So what you are saying is we can't even finish first at being last in Salary cap space ?

What if Jeff Ireland cuts Karlos Dansbury and resigns Channing Crowder at a higher salary, would that put us first at being last ?

Dawn Aponte, make the Dolphins # 1.....I'm tired of being a # 2

Soiled :)

"Now, how a team without a proven franchise quarterback and a lack of bigtime playmakers can find itself in such a compromising cap situation, I haven't the answer."

Oh, I think you do Mando but aren't saying. Jeff Ireland is not only bad at talent aquisition, he's a terrible bean counter. Time and time again Ireland signs mediocre players for more money than they're worth. And then when they invariably fail, we end up owing them money.

Garrard is most likely cut or injury settlement. I can deal with that, if it means they keep Devlin as T-Hill's Caddy for the future.

I'll let the bachelorette play out his contract. He does deserve that much over Garrard.

Again the fix was in.

Might as well start from scratch on Offense. Get rid of the dead weight. Flatline, Gates. Also get rid of Naanee. And last but not least the elephant in the room. Jerry sets a bad example just by rolling in the locker room.

Ross, stop ripping off Dolphin fans money!!

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