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The cost and savings of cutting some players

On Dec. 29 I shared with you a rundown of the Dolphins 2013 cap situation.. That post explained how the Dolphins have tons of cap room this year by showing you the cap number for every Dolphins player under contract plus some dead money and other machinations.

When all was said and done, we came to the conclusion the Dolphins could have as much as $46 million in cap space in 2013 if they carry over $5 million that went unused this year, which most teams do anyway. The updated number now is $46,066,759, again assuming the Dolphins carry over their space from this season. The number will vary but you can give or take $2 million to be safe.

It was a highly popular post but it also opened the flood gates to more questions on other cap issues, and the most frequently asked of those was, "What players are likely to get cut to save cap room?"

My answer is I do not know. Look, when I know, I tell you. When I know, I write it hard.

When I don't know, I tell you that also. I have no hard information which player, if any, the Dolphins might cut for cap purposes this year. But I can show you the candidates and the ramifications.

That means I can tell you the potential cap savings and dead money whacking certain players would create.

I'm not picking these names out of a hat. I'm telling you the guys that are even remote candidates for this exercise. Doesn't mean they will get cut. But obviously, the team studies this situation. Now, you can also:

Player                   Cap cost    Cap savings     Dead money

Karlos Dansby       $8.575M      $3.925M         $4.65M

Paul Soliai             $7.875M     $6.3M             $1.575M

Richard Marshall    $5.766M     $5.35M           $2.33M

Kevin Burnett       $5.7M         $3.2M              $2.5M

Richie Incognito    $5.38M       $4.3M              $1.08M

Dimitri Patterson  $4.6M          $4.6M             $0

Davone Bess          $3.43M        $2.68M           $750K

Dan Carpenter       $3.012M      $2.7M             $312,500

Michael Egnew      $652,239      $210,522        $441,717

Nolan Carroll        $622,939      $575,000         $47,939

Remember that dead money is a cost that remains on the team's books after a player to which the team was invested is cut or traded. The Dolphins, for exampled, don't have Vontae Davis on the roster anymore. But he's still costing them $1.1 million in dead money on their salary cap.

If cutting or trading a player leaves a lot of dead money on the books, the move is less likely.

Obviously the list above does not include every player under contact. But let's face it, every player should not be here because some simply do not make any sense whatever to consider for cutting or salary cuts.

Cameron Wake is not here, for example.

Even some of the players on the list above are a stretch to even look at. Let's face it, the Dolphins will not cut Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett and neither is going to take a paycut because they could find work elsewhere pretty quickly.

But some players on here should be wary of what's going to happen this offseason and even into training camp.

Patterson, for example, will never see $4.6 million in cap cost from the Dolphins next year. He played well in exactly one game before getting injured. That doesn't earn you that kind of money the following year. And the fact cutting his pay or simply whacking him would cost the team zero in dead money means this is glowing in neon to happen.

Richard Marshall should be worried, too. He's coming off back surgery. The club will probably take him to training camp as long as he heals as scheduled and shows that he can return to being a contributor in 2013. But if he doesn't show bigtime in training camp and the Dolphins have other options, Marshall should be looking around corners. In fact, he should be monitoring what Miami does in the draft in free agency at the cornerback spot because he's not guaranteed anything at this point. Yes, that would be a lot of dead money spent on him. But the savings might be worth it to the team.

Same with Dan Carpenter. He's in the final year of his contract. He is coming off a season in which he missed pressure kicks that might have won two games. And then he couldn't finish out the season.

The Dolphins have not brought a kicker to camp to compete with Carpenter in years. I believe they will do that next training camp. Just in case. 

And if Carpenter loses the battle, the club saves $2.7 million.




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Uh, First?

Im with you Mando...I dunno who will go, but I imagine some players will get shown the door.

The game is afoot!


Carpenter, Marshall, and egnew are gone. Patterson might be released and re-signed to lesser amount. Patterson and Marshall should be concerned if Miami signs a FA cornerback. I would expect Miami to draft a corner in the first 2 rounds, and one later, and bring in some Undrafted Free Agents CBs.

Are the Marshall numbers correct?

Put a stroke threw Patterson carpenter egnew maybe Carroll Marshall. When is dansbys contract up.mosley would make a nice replacement in 14

How much cap money do we save if we cut Jeff Ireland?

If we sign the same players we have the same record...time to change the roster...get some playmakers

i dont see egnew gone because his dead money is more than his salary cap hit and depending on if they resign smith or not i see patterson or marshall gone or even carroll,2 of the corners will be gone

Marshall, Dansby, Patterson and Carpenter look like possibilities for cap cuts. I don't see how losing any one of those guys would hurt and make the team worse.

Carpenter should be on notice for sure, especially with several excellent college options......could use a late round pick on any number of decent college prospects, or sign them if undrafted--Dansby would be in the mix but just not enough cap savings....can understand the logic on Patterson and Marshall but that creates 2 more holes at a very thin and important position--4-5 million for a solid/decent CB sounds reasonable, unless they dont think they're very good.

Egnew shouldnt even be considered, for the minimal 200K in cap savings....why bother?-let their 3rd rd pick stick for another year and see if he improves enough to contribute......didnt they see SOME potential in the kid to take him in the 3rd?

They're all bums except Carpenter, get some real football players finally in Miami. As for carpenter remember who was this sorry a** franchise offense was during that joke of a fat a** clown coach fist pumping a damn field goal !! You can't make this stuff up what a sorry a** organization the Miami Dolphins really are damn this franchise is so laughable it's pathetic !!

Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider of the Seahawks have made over 500 roster moves in the 3 years of Carroll's tenure as HC. They utilized FA, trades, the draft and some unconventional thinking to accomplish their objectives. The result is a young, dominant team that we will probably see in the playoffs for years to come.

Seattle's FA moves for big names during this 3 years were minimal as they were hampered by the same salary cap as all NFL teams. However, many of their "acorn" moves -targeting other teams undervalued players -turned out to be very good.

Chief among the tenets of building an NFL roster, stated by both Jeff Ireland AND Joe Philbin, is their belief in spotting "acorns" among NFL rosters and gathering them when they drop from the trees. We have seen Ireland/Philbin make a number of roster moves this past season, especially regarding WRs and DBs, so it seems true. This even when extra draft picks could have been used to acquire better -and sorely needed -talent.

We will eventually see if Ireland/Philbin melt under the extreme pressure from the Armando Salguero Blog and sign the big names demanded of them in FA this year; or if they will continue their methodical search for acorns. Either way, expect a churning of the Dolphins roster in 2013.

No one thinks we should give up on Egnew except the same few dullards that want to bench Tannehill and fire Ireland. I don't believe we'll need Patterson and Marshall if they draft a CB high in the draft.

If I'm understanding this right, it seems pretty simple to me.

The 10 mill were paying Marshall and Patterson could bring in a solid corner in free agency and allow us to resign Sean Smith. If we add a cb in the draft , we won't be that thin at the position.

The free agent cb market is pretty thin though. We may have to slightly overpay for a good but not great corner like Grimes or Rodgers-Cromartie.

I'm curious about Patterson though. I thought he was just a bum we picked up off waivers from Cleveland...but we paid him 4 million dollars???

cut them all

That list is the a list of mediocrity and I wouldn't flinch if any were cut.

Top 3:

Richie Incognito - Savings are 4.3 and dead money is just 1/4 of that.

Davone Bess - He's a nice chains mover and would make arguably the worst position WR on the roster even worse but again his cap savings 2.68 M and dead money is just 1/4 of that again.

Dimitri Patterson - most obvious!

Top 3 I would want to see cut:

Dansby - he stinks! He was brought into be this massive upgrade over Crowder but what plays does he make besides tackles 5-7 yards past the LOS. His dead money makes him stick though.

Nolan Carroll - he is terrible and a complete mark on defense. He gets penalty after penalty and just has zero ball instincts. One of my least favorite players on the roster.

Dimitri Patterson is an obvious that he would need to rework that contract but this is my least favorite which brings us to what an annonymous Dolphins player called a "P", and we all know it's Egnew - He just solidified more then any other player that the TE position in Mizzou is as fraudulent as RBs coming from Penn State. Egnew has to be cut just to get that stain off Ireland's already shaky resume.

billcale, please look at things in CONTEXT!

Seattle was able to leverage that strategy to becoming a Playoff-WINNING team in three years. They have one of the best defenses in the league, and also have (right now) a better young prospect at QB. They are on the rise.

Now consider Miami's approach. In FIVE years, we've gone backwards. One Playoff (fluke) appearance (loss) and then 4 losing Seasons. The only consistent thing about Miami has been its mediocrity.

All teams are different. You can't mimic another team because teams have different philosophies and talent evaluators. If you can evaluate acorn talent and hit on playmakers in ADDITION to role players, then great strategy. If not, then you go 7-9 for 4 years.

This doesn't need to be an either-or thing. You picked out 1 team that was successful with your preferred approach. I can do that too, ATLANTA. Gonzalez, Turner, Assante Samuel. Seems they were able to blend FA with drafted players. And oh yeah, your team is gone, my team's still in it. Who had the better approach?

Seattle aslo drafted a 3rd round GEM in Russel Wilson....

I don't think we can even begin this conversation without mentioning him...

and PAID for a FA QB....the INVESTED in what-many believe to be the most important postion in ALL of sports....

I did not see the poser, Sean Smith in that list -- Does that mean you believe he's a genuine keeper?
Please, tell me I'm wrong!


Great point! Without Russell Wilson more than likely the people in the city of Seattle are saying how college coaches never work in the pros.


I agree with a lot of what you said. My least favorite is Marshall. I think he's horrible. And with back injury history, that will likely never improve, they should cut him without looking back right now. I disagree with Bess. He was arguably our most consistent WR. Tannehill needs VETERAN receivers to throw to, who he trusts can run proper routes. Bess is not only the best route-runner on the team, he has the best hands. He's not a #1 OR a #2, but he's a damned good slot WR.

I also don't agree with Incognito. He and Pouncey have the attitude I like to see on the oline. Tough as nails, angry and out to punish. Also, if they cut Long (which I believe they will) then changing around the entire line AGAIN is not a strategy for success. I think they need SOME consistency up there, so do as little damage in changing the group around as possible.

I'd also cut Carpenter, don't think he has better days ahead. He can't kickoff out of the endzone consistently enough, and is a liability outside of 45 yards. That's an upgradeable position if you ask me.

The one guy not on the list I think is a detriment to the team is Clemons. Out of position, can't compete in the air, just not the right fit in the defense.

I would NOT cut Dansby. This has more to do with strategy than him being a necessity. Our defense was pretty good last year. And on defense, the weak spots were pass rush opposite Wake, and secondary. Messing with the LBs means you're not fixing a MORE IMPORTANT hole somewhere else, and if that somewhere is on offense, then you've really done a disservice to the team. It should be obvious to all the most important upgrade (and quickest way back to prominence) for this team is scoring more points. That means we need better WRs, TEs, and better play from the QB and oline. Upgrade there FIRST before messing with LBs (which is more of a want than a need). You can do that in the future without much loss this Season. But if you don't upgrade the offense this Season, then say goodbye to Ireland (probably), and depending how poorly the team does possibly another total rebuild, including HC and QB. I don't want that, no one should want that.

Let's worry about offense, and the only areas of concern on defense should be pass rush and secondary.


The first 3 Incognito, Bess and Patterson were only listed because of the way GMs especially one like Ireland is always trying to save money. I wouldn't cut Incognito who is actually 1 of my favorite Dolphins for his attitude alone. Bess I agree also he makes more sense to keep then not and don't see him particularly being a cap casualty but we've seen stranger things.

As far as you wanting Marshall gone, yes agreed he's terrible but he's better then my most hated Carroll lol.

Our cheap owner will do anything to save a buck. He wont pay for good players. Part of the reason the team stinks.

I have to agree with Rick - excellent point, cutting Marshall and Patterson allows the team to sign Smith and still be ahead of the game financially. Will have to draft one high though if that's the case.

Player YR Games Rec YDS AVG TD

Bowe 12 13 59 801 13.6 3 11 16 81 1159 14.3 5
10 16 72 1162 16.1 15

Hartline12 16 74 1083 14.6 1
11 16 35 549 15.7 1
10 12 43 615 14.3 1

Jennings12 5 36 366 10.2 4
11 13 67 949 14.2 9
10 16 76 1265 16.6 12

Wallace 12 15 64 836 13.1 8
11 16 72 1193 16.6 8
10 16 60 1257 21.0 10

Bowe = 28 yrs old, 6-2, 221
Hartline = 26 yrs old, 6-2, 199
Jennings = 29 yrs old, 5-11, 198
Wallace = 26 yrs old, 6-0, 199

Based on the past three years, age and size...I prioritize these 4 free agents:

Wallace, Bowe, Hartline, Jennings

I know it is "the in thing" to bash Dansby and his salary. I personally don't get it. When we signed him that was the going rate for a middle linebacker in the typ of system he is in. Dnsby had an above average year, and actually played out the year wiuth a togh injury. Is he the guy we thought we wer going to get? No.. However we did put him in a 3-4, changed how he plays, then went back to a 4-3.

Dansby's biggest issue is his mouth, he needs to shut up and play. He can be a leader, I don't ean that. But he needs to stay out of the public eye questioning coaching until he is putting up Zach, Ray Lewis or old school Urlacher numbers.

Not sure how much Sean Smith, Matt Moore and Clemons make but I assume they are costly as well. Would love to see all three gone to free up $'s spend on players who will play almost every game at a starter's caliber.

I think Moore is a solid back-up but he wants more play time and I think he is costly. Bye-
Bye Matty. Time for Devlin and a free agent like Seneca Wallace or a rookie to develop as a backup.

Man, I can't type today!

Why lose anyone when we have so much cap space?

harmel...ross is anything but cheap. guy wants to win and has used his own money to buy seats to lift the blackout.

Team stinks because we've been stinking at the QB position for so long.

Give Tannehill & Philbin one good offseason to find some chemistry and good things will happen in 2013.

2012 season stats for TE Free Agents worth looking at


Fasano 41/332/5/1
M. Bennett 55/626/5/6
D. Keller 28/317/2/6

J. Finley (possible trade) 61/667/2/10

Fasano scores TD's in the red zone pretty well. I would keep him on the team. Id go after Bennett in FA or Finley in a trade?


No, Dansby's biggest issue is that he isn't that good, period. He's a 1 dimensional player and that doesn't fly when you are paid like he is. The league is a pass first league and you have to consider what he's getting paid and assume he can do it all. What does he do great? Nothing. He's good against the run, bad against the pass and bad in game changing plays.

And your facts are wrong. His salary wasn't the going rate for a MLB at that time. He became the highest paid non 3-4 OLB in the league. The Giants passed on him and were offering him around $15 M total less. So no it wasn't the going rate.

2012 season stats for OLB's or DE's worth considering for added QB pressure:

Player/Tackles/Sacks/Int's/Forced Fumbles

O. Umenyiora/28/6/0/2
P. Kruger/30/9/1/1
A. Spencer 55/11/0/2

For comparison


Based on this I would move Odrick to full-time DT, let Starks go in FA and sign Spencer, Kruger or Umenyiora to DE to complement Wake. All three could work fine.

All these people saying get rid of all of patterson, marshall, and smith ... who's going to play CB???

Fact of the matter at least one of these players sticks ... probably two. There aren't enough CBs to go around and some guys are jsut going to get paid based on sheer supply and demand.

People, train your kids to be CBs ...

DC, remember that Ireland/Philbin have been together all of 1 year and that year had Philbin seeking coaches and installing new offensive and defensive schemes -leaving not a lot of quality time available for J. Ireland. Consequently, I don't share your view that the current Dolphin plan is 5 years old. Also, you may have missed the part about Ireland AND Philbin believing in the acorn strategy.

Accordingly then, this will be the 1st full year that Ireland and Philbin and their staffs will have gotten together in order to acquire talent. It makes better sense to judge them after next season but we should be able to see signs after FA, the draft and preseason as to how well they have done. My guess is that they continue to turn over the roster with a large number of FAs at value prices.

2012 season stats for Safeties

Player/Tackes/Sacks/Int's/Forced Fumbles

C. Clemons 72/0/2/1
J. Byrd/53/0/5/2
C. Crocker 29/0/3/1
P. Chung 20/0/2/0

Clemons is making too many tackles. Says something about our LB's. Solid tackler but his angles are really bad. Every deap ball thrown scares me because I am never confident in him.

I really like Byrd in Free Agency. Just not sure if the Bills will let him go.

Andy NJ....

I would say its pretty difficult to write a post about Seattle's current success...and PROJECTED success...and OMIT Wilson....

JPAO, no love for Keller? Remember, he had the worst QB in the league throwing to him last year (which depressed his numbers). But before that, he was a killer (at least vs. Miami). Plus teams love to improve while taking away from other teams. I think he should be considered too.



Art, he's a free agent, hence no cap space, cap hit, dead money. When a player is a free agent they just go away, or resigned.


I like Keller/Fasano combo. Fasano isn't as terrible as we all think at times. Remember when he was paried with Martin they made a good 1-2 punch at the position. Naturally I like Finley much better but I don't think it happens. Bennett's had 1 good season in his career. Constant under achiever and we see what happens more then not when under achievers get paid then revert back to old form.

As far as your pass rushers go Kruger, Kruger, Kruger. He's young, relentless and out of position in a 3-4. I think he becomes even better in a 4-3 with his hand on the ground.

Once again a story written by someone with no understanding of economics and scarcity.


We cannot start upgrading a roster spot until we have a full roster. We have 17 FAs and 10 draft picks to replace them with.

Not sure why all of you are bashing Dansby so much, while hes no Ray Lewis the guy was fairly productive. Patterson can get cut, Marshall can get cut, he was always getting beat.

With Patterson being zero in dead money but under contract I could see us having leverage in reworking his deal. He did look good in very limited play so if we can get him to lower his number for a bit of security maybe he'd go for it.

Egnew is cheap so why bother cutting him.

I could see cutting one of the linebackers, though doubtful.

Thanks Mark. I would hope that cb would be pretty high on our draft list.

I guess 2nd rd is more likely as Milliner will be gone by the time we pick at 12.

I also agree with Poizen on Dansby. He's a solid linebacker and he's not going aywhere anyway this season. No use in wasting energy talking about it.

Billcale, Craig M, and others....

Just because you may not "Buy in" to the Ireland 5 year REBUILD...doesn't make it any less true....

Ireland has worn the hat of GM for 5 years ...Ireland has been the GM of the Miami Dolphins for 5 years....

believe what you want about Parcells this...and Parcells that....

but to DENY that Ireland IS/WAS the GM of the teams since Parcells hired him is to be woefully....and (I guess) blissfully ignorant of the facts....

now...if you guys are gonna produce something that says Ireland was not in FACT PAID to be the GM of the Miami Dolphins....then I am all eyes....until then....can we ALL OWN the that...and then continue the conversation from there....

debates contrived from willful falsehoods have no basis with which to be opposed....you can't convinced you that SANTA doesn't exist if you are determined to believe otherwise....evidence be damd

JPAO, Kruger is a beast. I'd give him a Cam Wake sized contract offer - but problem is Baltimore with Suggs near the end won't let him go. he will at least be franchised.

Osi is finished. Wouldn't even sign him for the minimum. Anyone who says otherwise hasn't watched him play. Next year Vernon will be a better player and would've been this year if he got the same snaps. I mean this guy has JPP and Tuck on the same team and comes up with 28 tackles and 6 sacks???

Agreed on Fasano. he does a lot of little things well - just not a dynamic long receiver. Why does Finley need to be traded for? I thought he was on his one year franchise tender??? Keller is a guy I'd also be happy about getting ...

Mark, I don't advocate getting rid of Smith for the reason you express. Also, we're probably stuck with 1 of the 2 (Patterson or Carroll). But 2 of those guys should definitely go.

billcale, yes, I know it's Year 1 of Ireland/Philbin. But do you understand it's not Year 1 for Ross or the fans. There IS no stomach from either for a 3-5 year plan. If Miami doesn't have a winning record next year, I believe Ireland is gone. You don't just get to start over again and again and then think you have forever to put a team together. It doesn't work that way. These guys have a limited amount of time to make more than minor improvements, but turn the whole thing around.

If you haven't noticed, the Owner is hemorrhaging money every Week of the Season, buying tix left and right. Think that can last much longer? He needs to upgrade the stadium, but wants some investment from the city, think they're willing to pony up for a consistently mediocre team? Again, context dude. Seattle's been in a SB in recent history. Seattle's been consistently good recently. Miami has been consistently bad for over a decade. This isn't the time to methodically improve little by little each year. This is an emergency situation. All hands on deck. Back against the wall. Now or never!

Mark, I think Marshall, a former 2nd round pick, probably stays as the coaches liked his play during preseason -at least enough to jettison Vonte. I think they rehire Patterson at cheaper money and also keep McCann who played well. All this because Smith wants too much money and will probably get it while exploring FA. I think they find more in FA to enable them to get rid of Carroll and the remaining ineffective CBs.

2012 Season stats for CB's in Free Agency.

Player/Tackles/Sacks/Int's/Forced Fumbles

S. Smith/53/0/2/3
L. McKelvin/20/0/1/0
N. Clements/31/0/1/1
T. Newman/53/0/2/1
T. Porter 16/0/1/0
A. Talib/13/0/1/0

For reference:

V. Davis/46/0/3/0 - I don't think we should have traded him. Strong tackler, decent ball skills and hands. Solid in press cover. I know he was a head case and at times a drunk but he played pretty well in 2012 for the Colts.

Everyone knows I despise Smith. I see him as weak in zone cover, bad hands and inconsistent tackler. I see his stats look good on paper but I SEE enough of him ever week to know he is not a #1 CB in the NFL.

Based on these stats and the salary costs Mando provided for Marshall, Carrol and Patterson....

I would try to rework Patterson's contract to a more reasonable figure. Cut Smith, Carroll and Marshall. Possibly look to sign T. Newman in FA and just make it top priority in the draft. I'd be happy with 2-3 CB's in rounds 1-4.

I like how we are discussing the Seattle rebuild however I don't know when was the last time we saw any team draft as effectively as the Pete Carroll Seahawks - maybe JJ's Cowboys?? The drafting and free agent acquisitions have been off the charts. This is the current sign of excellence in the NFL. However to say that someone as GM isn't doing a good job because they haven't done as well as Seattle is a bit harsh.

Yeah, lets cut players and rely on Irescum to replace them! HAHA

Tne Colts drafted better then then the Seahawks. But EVERYONE drafts better then Irescum.

Me and Kris...

Sitting in a tree...


Bill, DC, I've always endorsed Sean Smith .. not because I think he's one of the best but because you can put him out there and know he isn't going to hurt you. I like steady play - sure I'd like some more picks since I'm the one always talking about turnover ratio but I think there's always room for a Sean Smith type. He's taken away some other team's big weapons this year. I mean, when i see Sean Smith - I don't know if I see por bowls but I know there's one position I don't need to worry about for the next 5-7 years and there's value in that.

I do like Keller...should have said it. I didn't see Finley in the free agency listings on-line. Not sure of his status. I am happy with Fasano plus either Finley, Bennett or Keller.

I would keep Clay and move him back to FB where I think he gives us more options than Lane. I liked Lane early but he faded fast.

JPAO, isn't Newman like 58 years old???

The only way I would be OK paying Sean Smith big money is if the DC was going to commit to playing much more man/press cover. This year we played a ton of zone and Smith struggled in it. There were many reports that he was the most picked on CB in the league. I agree he played well in man situations early in the season when told to shadow the other team's top WR. We need to find a solid CB who can play press as well. If the DC is committed to mostly Zone than Smith has to go.

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