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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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been rebuilding since 1999.

The salary cap number is awful for a team this bad enough said. Too many bad free agent signings and poor draft picks. (JOHN JERRY)

Other gatherings. Joe Philbin looks like the True Deal. Jonathan Martin will be a great Player for us once he gets stronger. Ireland is Ireland. Lamar Miller is one hell of a weapon. Philbin seems impressed by Olivier Vernon.

I say Pat Riley would do a better job of finding talent and he has no experience in football

Oscar, Miller sucks he cant even break a 5 yard in preseason

Yeah, Clue, but like all these Miami kids you have to get after them, or trade them to GB.

So, at what time is HK tonight? I'm inclined to watch this episode.

Jonathan Martin is slow amd weak. A turnstile worse then Columbo. Another Ireland bust.

Armando, Can you clarify this. I thought that by the new collective barganing agreement ALL teams had to spend no less than 90% of the salary cap by years end. If so would not ALL teams have the same cap space at the end of the year? Please clarify.

I'm still waiting for someone, anyone at ESPN to ask the Genius Parcells how he screwed up the Dolphins beyond belief and beyond repair.

F@%* You Tuna!

You guys are really the worst fans in the division by far. The Jets fans bring the noise and know the game. The Bills have die hards that know the game. All you guys do is Btch and complain and say a rookie sucks after 2 preseason games.

Give them a chance to make plays and develop into players.


Good question...


I wouldn't compare T-Hill to Peyton just yet.

To Dashi he had the 2nd highest Iq coming out the Draft in the 1st rd range. Luck is A Genius he went to Stanford. RG3 and Grandpa Weeden come from a Spread offense. It takes a couple years for a player to get the WCO down.

The only 2 other Qb's in the draft that had Real High Football Iq were lil Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins. 2 guys that if they were 6'2 220 and above they would've been 1st rd picks. Cousins arm isn't Elite but he has all the other tools. Wilson probably the most talented Qb in the Draft. Only problem is he wasn't 6 ft.

If Wilson is a 3rd Rder cause of his height, No way in hell Barkley even gets drafted till the 4th at the Earliest. What did Wilson run? who has a better arm?

Barkley= Rex Grossman 2.0


news flash the Dolphins were screwed up before Parcells got there!

parke, bradshaw used 2 always f wit yimmy about his tenure as the phins coach.

Tannehill = Henne 2.0

Long $11,200,000 cap hit
Incognito $3,300,000 cap hit
Pouncey $2,045,000 cap hit
Murtha $1,927,000 cap hit
Hicks $2,450,000 cap hit
Garner $1,400,000 cap hit
Cook $1,000,000 cap hit
For a total of $23,322,000 cap expense

BTW Yeremiah Bell $1,500,000 cap hit and Merling $1,260,000 cap hit

Ladies and gentlemen that's how you have a cap problem with no proven franchise QB or proven offensive play makers.

cutting moore you take a 1mil cap hit.
cut garrard you take a 750thousand cap hit

so cap wise the money is pretty much the same no matter who the teams gets rid of. i would say try to trade moore. if we can get a return of him, a WR or a 4th or 5th round pick, do it. if we can't the most likely cut garrard. i do think garrard would be a better guy to keep. barring an injury tannehill is the starter and should stay the starter even with some poor play. i think garrard is the better guy to work with tannehill and devlin. he has years of starting experience. he can mentor the twoyongster on and off the field.

tannehill > bob g 3.

I think Armando is/was on PFT.

Sad that this talent-less team is in such a terrible cap situation. It shows the ineptitude and overall bad management of a once proud franchise. This team has become a disgrace to it's fans.

I'm 30 yrs old and I have come to the conclusion that I will never see this team win a Super Bowl.

WHo the fock is Cook?

Good for you, Heater. I saw 2.

Charlie Peprah was released

Armando, your comment about how the Fins could find themselves in the cap situation they are in "without any playmakers" on the team is pretty laughable.

First, anyone that follows the NFL would consider Bush and Wake as "playmakers".

Second, you should know, being a Fin media expert, that the Fins have alot of players making 5m+ per year - not great players but a whole bunch of very good players, making that kind of money.

Richard Marshall, Starks, Soliai, Burnett, Dansby, Long, Bush.

Throw in a whole bunch other really good players making 3m - 5m - Bess, Fasano, Incognito, Pouncey, Odrick, Vonte, Sean Smith, - the numbers add up.

Cut Garrard and his salary and problem solved, the Fins are now in the middle of the pack re Cap Space.

We Fans will suffer this year watching the Offense compete but for darned sure we are going to see some great plays.

What's Eddie Moore doing these days. I believe he's a street free agent and Ireland could sign him for the veteran minimum.

T-Hill = RoboQb 3.0

Fixed Update 10x Bigger, Stronger, Faster then last prototype.

Fixed Short-Circuit in Rocket arm, Added Laser Guided Missles.

Fixed the Testicular Fortitude Problem. We will allow the Tannehill2000(Sounds like a sex-yy toy for Oscar) to procreate.

It's the best RoboQb the Fins have put out on the launching Pad since the Great Ol' Rocket Marino13. U know the first Qb on the Moon One. It's the most the Fins have invested in a Prototype Since circa 1983.

It will work out. Ross made the Decision.

On the O-line. I only see the Fins Keeping 4 of those players. Long(With New Contract will cost less), Pouncey, and Hicks. Stieinbach and Martin give us 6 decent Linemen. Martin Will get better, The Guy has been getting the most snaps this preseason. He needs to get adjusted to the New Side and New Offense.

U also, have to cut Jerry, so thats like 5-6 mil on the Dead weight. That brings the Line total to something closer to 18-19 mil after The Wall Signs his extension, and we can start calling him the Great Wall Of Dade.

The same with the D-line. A couple Contracts are Gone when we Cut down to 53. Soliai only signed a 2-yr deal. Good move by Ireland, Yes or No?

Next Year in the 4-3 Odrick and Starks will be the DT. Mcdaniels was good for the 4-3 but really is out of place in the 4-3 with the rotation being Starks, Soliai, and Odrick.

If there is No Great Wr, with our Top 10 pick next Year(I say we go 6-10 in Year 1 of the T-Hill Experience), We can Always Go Franchise DE. They cost alot less in the Draft Now, with the Rookie Scale. And U know a Ireland Mainstay in the 1st rd is the Line on Either Side of the Ball. He learned that from his Daddy.

Again, I doubt Soliai and McDaniels are on the Team Next Year. Has McDaniel played this Preseason?

* Mcdaniels was good for the 3-4 not 4-4

Just FYI, I didn't read Cote's columm approving of starting Tanne. To read anything written by Cote would be a terrible waste of my valuable time.

No, for Fins coverage, I go straight to Mando's page.

"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."


The only fact that matters is that this is (& has really has been since Huzienga bought the team from the Robbies) one of the most mismanaged franchises in professional sports. As for Ross--he has done absolutely nothing to stop the wrecking ball that Huzienga had set it place years ago. Damn the pock-faced alien & his spell over this franchise!!!

Can Philbin & Tannheill reverse the curse???

Dolphins management needs a serious lesson in Sabre-metrics and need to learn that they work in a cap restricted environment. Not everything Ireland has done has been a disaster but this cap allocation is a mess. Going to have to purge hard and re-organize in the next year or two.

Who cares who the backup is at this point....just pick one, tell the other journeyman good luck in his career and get ready for one long @ss season....

I say just keep moore becuase he is healthy and he is not a question mark with a injury concern hanging over him....


I agree, actually. Our defense does two things: (1) gives up 11 minute agonizing drives, OR (2) gives up 3 40 yard chunk plays and a TD, embarrassingly, in 30 seconds.

Neither thing helps the offense.

The offense niether helps the defense in going 3 and out in 30 seconds either...just sayin!!!!

Can someone please tell me how the hell Ross & Ireland actually thought they could fit Peyton Manning & his $20 Million a year salary under the cap??? I really don't understand this at all.

BTW--Does Hartline know that he's going into a contract year??? If this guy doesn't get on the field ASAP, learn Sherman's offense, & produce this year he's going to have a problem finding a job next season. Another wasted Ireland pick.....


I agree, actually. Our defense does two things: (1) gives up 11 minute agonizing drives, OR (2) gives up 3 40 yard chunk plays and a TD, embarrassingly, in 30 seconds."


And I expect this to be the 3rd consecutive season where we start the season looking lifeless on defense & then by the time we get it together we'll be 0-7 again.

Im sure they had a cut list of 30 players available in order to sign manning, unfortunately that would have left him basically no offensive line and the punter and kicker as our two WRs...!!!shockingly!!!..Manning had to decline politely!!!

If the mainstream media paid any attention to the Dolphins/Patriots games post 2008, they'd understand the true meaning of "legitimate rape."

Ross is a secret pats fan, how else would you explain it DC Dolfoon?

this is exactly what I was saying a few days ago, ie. that salary cap reasons had alot to do with why they traded Marshall and let go of Bell--everyone was railing that they got rid of Marshall and didnt find a suitable replacement or spend his contract money well, but guess what.....they aint spending it well because they aint got it, or not much--that BM trade had as much to do, or more, with his contract, as opposed to wanting to avoid his drama and other issues.

Trade Moore. Devlin is good enough to be a backup.

and a bunch of posters were saying that Miami was in good cap situation......they werent a few months ago, and still aren't--thats one of the major reasons for getting rid of BM and YB......fact

Agree RBs. I hope we're wrong. But I've been saying that the D is going to be *humiliating* again, as in how it was in game 1 vs Pats last year.

Like we should be in the "minor leagues" -- not even NFL caliber.

What's really frustrating is to watch how open opposing WRs are and then watch the difference when we have the ball. It's been this way for years, going back to when Chris Chambers was our #1 (LOL).

And yeah, I was a Henne supporter and I think he came ready to play at the start of last year and was, in fact, the only player ready to play at the start of last year. I think he suffered the same thing.

What I'm talking about is you see opposing receivers catching the ball wide open 20 to 40 yards down the field with no defender within 15 yards (!!!) of them in any direction. WTF?????? Our QB never has a guy that wide open and always has to make a great throw just to get a completion (and then our receiver drops it).

Well I will say that Marshall was very good *some* of the time and he'd be open sometimes.

But I think our pass coverage is much worse, relatively speaking re: the rest of the league, than our offense.

I think I put it best when I said "minor leagues." The first 7 games last year and so far in "preseason" it's like our (first team) defense is not even NFL caliber. Run D too. Other team runs for 9 years on a freaking *sweep* whenever it feels like it. We're nowhere near the ball.

It is a proven fact that it has been impossible to turn the corner and gain any yards except once every 10 plays on a sweep against modern defenses since 1991 or so.

In other words, the Fins are the only team since 1991 that teams can run a *sweep* on and actually get big 10 yard gains or more.

Smith did get a nice INT last game. That call was horse flea.

If we go 0-7, then that will mean we're on our way to 1-15 again:

Week 2 - Raiders (Home)
Week 4 - Cardinals (Away)
Week 6 - Rams (Home)
Weeks 3 & 8 (Week 7 is our Bye week) - Jets

If we can't win 1 (or 2) of THOSE games, we can't beat anybody.

DC, the only part that sucks about that is there isnt any sure fire cant miss prospect in the 2013 draft, it will be 2005 all over agin when we took a part time starter in Ronnie Brown. Wheres the Megatron of the 2013 draft?

Right Clue. Of course, we would have drafted a 1st-rd QB the year BEFORE we got the #1 pick. And even if there was a Megatron, would the Dolphins draft him? Philbin has said (or alluded) that he likes to draft WRs in the 2nd/3rd rounds. So would they go after another olineman? Let's hope not.

I did see this guy Hogan run a nice pattern for a catch last week. Then he disappeared.

Garrard was hands down the starter, then he got hurt. Shows us who was the better QB in camp at that time. I do think it is a good choice to start Tannehill for the season opener.

In my opinion, you trade Moore and keep Garrard. If you recall when Garrard went down, reports coming out of camp is that the Offense was not as Crisp with Garrard not running the Offense. So you let Tannehill start the season, Garrard should be back healthy (the latest week 2) and be the No. 2 QB, with Moore at 3, and Delvin to the practice squad. No offense to Moore, he was great for us. But all I keep reading is he finished the year 6-3, but he actually finished 6-6 as a Dolphin Starter. Is that what we want?? A .500 QB starting for us? I say "No" If he was behind Garrard and Tannehill in knowing the offense and running it smoothly, then you have to let Moore go in a trade. Trade Moore for a 4th or 5th rounder and move on. We can't just let them go for nothing. Yes it affects our cap, but once they are traded, they come off the books (pro-rated to the date he gets traded).


CA, Garrard is retired. He's 35 and broke his knee playing patty cakes with his kid in the swimming pool. He's done.

CA, what the Dolphins will do a lot of this year is "lose." One can also "lose" one's keys or one's mind.

"Loose" can describe shoelaces, a screw, a tooth or a woman.

It is easy to see that it will be Tannehill, Moore and Devlin (as inactive?).

In the NFL, injuries to the starting QB usually happen. The backup QB must be good. Many super bowl teams played the backup for much of the season to get there.

Those calling for Devlin or Garrard to be the backup because "it's just the backup" are flat crazy because:

1. Devlin is a practice squad player for a reason. Most teams have a #2 is could legitimately be in the hunt to be a starter.

2. Garrard is old and injured.

At least Moore stays healthy (despite his small size) and has shown he can win ball games.

Tannehill is the starter.
Moore is the backup.
Devlin is 3.
Garrard is retired.

Tannehill reminds me of John Beck

Another failed experiment

He was friggin awful against the Panthers

If I'm right we'll be drafting Matt Barkley next April

Who would want to trade for Garrard? He had zero teams interested whe he was a FA, and now after a freak Knee injury someone is going to trade for him?? Get real..

Doubt that Devlin goes to the PS before being nabbed by another Team.

Can't afford to lose Devlin because eventually he'll replace Matt Moore, as early as next year.

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