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Ireland, Dolphins deserve praise for cap situation

Some of you guys are going to hate this post.

As the new league year and free agency nears -- it begins on March 12 at 4 p.m. -- teams must be prepared to be under the salary cap that is estimated to be around $121-$123 million, depending on what source you believe. The NFL will divulge the actual cap ceiling number in the coming days.

[Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports the number will be $123.9 million.]

[Update: The actual figure is $123 million. Mort's math isn't great, apparently, but what's $900k among friends?]

And with that number and March 12 looming, multiple teams have been scrambling either cutting players or restructuring contracts to get under the cap.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and New Orleans Saints all either cut players or restructured contracts to help create cap room for themselves in the coming weeks.

Other teams, such as the New York Giants, might be ble to do little by way of re-signing their own players because they expect to be knocking their helmets on the cap's ceiling.

Meanwhile, all is well with the Miami Dolphins. All is quiet. Nothing to see here.


Well, because Jeff Ireland has done an excellent job saving his (or owner Stephen Ross's) pennies the past couple of years and the savings have added up to a boon in cap space this year.

Obviously, the idea that Miami will have major cap space this offseason is not new. I've been telling you about it for months.

But the idea that it truly is not happenstance -- that is took work, foresight and planning by Ireland and executive VP for football administration Dawn Aponte and their staff -- seems to have gone unappreciated. That isn't fair.

Look, when the Dolphins spent wildly after the 2008 and 2009 seasons and at one point had the most expensive offensive line in football and got minimal return on that investment, I pointed it out. Often.

Well, fairness dictates that Miami amassing approximately $48 million in cap space for this offseason -- the third highest total behind Cincinnati and Cleveland -- get equal attention.

It creates a grand opportunity to remake a mediocre team into a winner. And that opportunity didn't just mosey into the picture. It was every bit as planned as a group Harlem Shake.

(Peanut gallery: But Mando, the reason the Dolphins have so much cap space is because they're just a mediocre team that didn't make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. If you're not in the playoffs, you should have cap space the next offseason.)


Let us refer back to the list of teams above that had to do invasive surgery on their contract structure to get out from under their salary cap ailments. The Bills didn't make the playoffs. Neither did the Jets. Neither did Dallas, Oakland, Philadelphia, Detroit or New Orleans.

Indeed, several had records comparable to Miami. So their rosters last year led them to basically the same results as what the Dolphins got on the field, but then took them to a much rockier path this offseason.

That's not getting optimal bang for the buck. Or quid. Or peso. Or yen. Or euro, which I predict will collapse within five years.

(Peanut gallery: But Mando, having no cap space is not a big deal. All those teams did restructures and they are fine now.)

Wrong again, gallery of nuts.

Restructuring a contract typically treats the symptom but doesn't cure the disease. It alleviates the pain short-term but because the cap burden is piled upon future years that are already burdened, it often creates a dire situation in the future. Some teams that continually delay the inevitable reach a point of saturation that leads to a cap dump.

The Dolphins of the mid 1990s had to do this when Don Shula added lots of players in 1994 and 1995 for what was billed as a final run at a Super Bowl. The franchise found itself in cap heck in 1996 and '97.

The San Francisco 49'ers did the same thing later in the decade and when the bill came due it led the franchise down the losing road from which it only recently detoured.

The point is there is no way to cheat the salary cap. It must be managed wisely to keep a team in position to enjoy its benefits.

Jeff Ireland and his team have done that for 2013. I recognize many of you don't like the idea of giving Ireland credit for much of anything. Those folks understand why I started saying you might not like reading this post.  


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here my vernacular looks spectacular.

Even you know not to imitate dashi!!


U HATE ME WHEN I DO!! You hate when I Don't.

Which One? Is it F'ggot.

It Is Hardwork!! To look this good.


You Don't have to write it down.

Dashi backs his word 100%

Which is right more than half the time.

Like I said before, the picking and paying of Fa's is a relative subject. The draft is deep with the positions we require. Filling areas of need in FA greatly allows us freedom in the draft. The only way we are benefited by free agent acquisitions is if they are affordable in respect to their talent.

Dawn Aponte has been the woman that let us slide over the cap space the year we cut Joey Porter. It was her job to say that is going to happen before the cut was done. So the NFL said afterwards the cut was illegal and had to be neglected, leaving Porter without any trade value with the team. Good job. She is just part of the laughing stock that builds the teams FO. Ah, and she worked for the Jets prior to the Dolphins.

Interesting...James Walker of ESPN wrote that the 2013 Phins are his sleeper pick to make the playoffs. It's a bit of a shock without seeing how the offseason goes. I'm not ready to say that just yet.

10 more long days until FA opens. Finally, the market is shaping up and this week we'll start seeing some FA signings and who will get the Franchise Tag.

To Craig and Mark from yesterday,

We do NOT want Dunta Robinson here. He's probably worse that Sean Smith. The guy is 31 first and foremost, and has already diminished. I talked to my Falcons friend, and he said Robinson never lived up to his big contract in Atlanta. He's a big hitter, that's it. But not a solid tackler, and HORRIBLE in coverage. That's exactly what we DON'T need. If we're going with a vet, we have Marshall/Patterson. We need younger talent, with more potential upside than Robinson. We need at least ONE good cover corner.

I don't want anything to do with this guy.

The NFLs Bennett brothers are not feeling the love. And Jeff Ireland should go courting.

The Giants Martellus, 25 y/o, UFA TE, tweeted yesterday that he wasn't expecting to remain in NY. Also it was reported recently that brother Michael, 27 y/o, UFA DE in Tampa Bay, was being allowed to test the FA waters. Both had fine seasons in 2012.

The Brothers have played together on teams while growing up, including college, and would like to play for the same team in the NFL. OC Mike Sherman is familiar with both from his days at Texas A&M. Sherman coached Michael in his senior year and helped Martellus make the decision to go to the NFL in his junior year.

These guys would fill gaping holes in Miami and Martellus has "kidded" about a package discount of sorts to the team that takes them both.

Great post mike Sherman can be huge with his expiriance building teams the man is our wildcard

Oh ya Ireland was involved in scouting Bennett for Dallas

Oh yeah, Mark, I forgot about the Dallas connection for Martellus.

The Bennett bros are an interesting possibility. Can someone put this in the Ireland suggestion box? I like it a lot.

Who thinks Tavon would be a good pick at 12? I'm on the fence about the WR group for the first rd and especially that guy.

Whoops, that's Marc- mea culpa...

dad, FA will weigh heavily on what the team does with #12, don't you think? If they get at least 2 quality starters in FA- say a TE & CB- and a good prospect falls to them in the 1st round- someone unique like Patterson- I could easily see them trading down. There are just too many good WRs in the draft's late first and second rounds not to try and stockpile talent.

Yep, FA will define the draft to a large degree. Even if we get one of the big 3 FA WR's...I think we need to add one in the draft.

If you lock up say a Wallace for his vertical threat then would you not want an short / intermediate slot threat like Tavon who can even run the ball and split some carries with Miller?

Jeff Ireland has done an outstanding job cleaning up Bill Parcells mess. He is quietly making a huge difference when he re-signs very good players like Paul Soliai for reasonable contracts. I'm betting that he either gets the same thing done with Jake Long and Sean Smith or he replaces both of them in the draft. The funds remaining from not over-paying for the likes of Long, Sean Smith, or Clemons will then be wisely used to pick up a difference making free agent like Mike Wallace. Trust me, we will make the playoffs in 2013.

Too early to say that, Rick L. More than the cap, FAs and draftees, success next Season will depend on Joe Philbin, who We don't fully know well yet.

Its only the Jests fans that support Irescum. No real Dolphin fan would support that trash anymore.

I agree Zonk. The proof is in the pudding. 4 consecutive losing seasons since Irelands puppet strings were cut = FLOP

How does Irescum still have a job? Performance doesnt matter?? WTF?

I want to simply score TD's and lots of them. I'd rather win a 35-31 shootout than 17-14 with defense. We have the opportunity to stockpile lots of talented offensive firepower with this draft.

We can worry about the defense next year. I'm not saying don't look for another CB or DE. It's just not "the" priority. The focus has to be weapons for the offense to help T-Hill take the next step. Offense Offense Offense.

Parcells had us in the playoffs 1 year after 1-15. And its been downhill ever since he left. He is a HOFer for a reason.

Good point, Oscar, at 8:36. Some of Philbin's 1st year decisions on and off the field have been strongly questioned and quite a bit of criticism has been generated over Sherman's play calling.

We need to remind ourselves this was Philbins first year being a HC. He's going to make mistakes and get questions but deserves a chance to learn. Not ready to pile on that guy at all and anything over Sparano is a huge improvement. Thanks for him Parcells. Maybe a HOF coach but he sucked bad in the FO.

On to Sherman this is not his first rodeo...I don't question Philbin nearly as much as Shermans play calling and use of the players.

Tuna left us holding our wieners don't forget that. Tuna is not a hero here !!!!!!!!

We are going to be a way moe explosive team , please don't hate on us because all of you doubter we be jumping back on the bandwagon .Jeffy has a very calculated plan along with Sherman and coach joe

Sorry about my spelling I need coffee


Got your message to me about Robinson. I don't agree. I'm not syaing he's a superstar but I think he helps this team. I don't see him as Sean Smith. I think he's got something like 17 INTs in his career. How long do you think it's going to take Sean Smith to get 17 INTS? I'm OK with Sean Smith but no way is he worth $8-10 mil a year. That's why I'm moving on from him. We have a need back there and at the right price Robinson helps this team. We'll disagree on that.

I may be in the minority here but I'm intrigued by Abrham. I've always liked this guy and I think he has quite a bit left in the tank. Don't buy this CRAP that some have spewed on here that he's injury prone...that's complete nonsense. The guy has missed TWO games in the last SIX years. What other nonsense can you guys make up? I see a guy with a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. I think we'll be interested.

And billcale, pretty sure TB is franchising their Bennett. At least that's what I'm reading.

I've concluded after thinking about it for a while that I disagree with Armando's stance on taking Austin at 12. At first I agreed, feeling that his size made him a specialty/luxury player with considerable injury risk. However, with the way the game has and continues to evolve its more and more being tailored to fit receivers with his skills. Now I feel in-spite of his size you can justify grabbing him early. Simply put we need to get some guys who can hurt a defense and move the dang football. No one I'm this draft does it better than Austin.

I'm OK with Sean Smith but no way is he worth $8-10 mil a year. That's why I'm moving on from him.

Posted by: Craig M | March 02, 2013 at 09:43 AM

When you become a GM and are in the midst of negotiating the market first hand, only then can you know who is worth what and for how long. Much depends on what your strategy for player acquisition too, what the need is, what your options are, and how many cards you hold.

Pricing a player is more complex than pricing a static item like a car.


You guys have to get up to speed on todays NFL. 8-10 mill is the norm for a good player.

Boycott is on: NO

I'm coming around to thinking as well that Tavon could be a dynamic player we can't pass up at 12. Especially if we land Wallace as the deep speed threat. This guy is a weapon that every defense in the league will respect and be concerned about every week. He can do it all.

Maybe the next time Craig M speaks he will finally say something intelligent. We can all hope.

Irelands "body of work" includes:

Philip Merling
Vontae Davis
Chad Henne
Michael Egnew
Pat White
Clyde Gates
D Thomas (cost 3 picks)
Charles Clay
Frank Kearse
A.J Edds
John Nalbone
Shawn Murphy
J D Folsom
Josh Kaddu
BJ Cunningham
Chris McCoy
Patrick Turner

and more......

Fire Ireland, you forgot Nolan Carrol & Austin Spitler.

But, he drafted Mike Pouncey so he's a good GM.

Yes, Nolan Carrol and Austin Spitler too. Lets not forget them

Irelands "body of work" includes:

Philip Merling
Vontae Davis
Chad Henne
Michael Egnew
Pat White
Clyde Gates
D Thomas (cost 3 picks)
Charles Clay
Frank Kearse
A.J Edds
John Nalbone
Shawn Murphy
J D Folsom
Josh Kaddu
BJ Cunningham
Chris McCoy
Patrick Turner
Nolan Carrol
Austin Spitler

Craig Moron,

Those guys wouldnt even make a canadien team! LOL!

Craig, what I was reading last week was 1) the team was prepared to go with DE Da'Quan Bowers and 2) the GM said he was not going to use the franchise tag this year- especially on Michael Bennett. But Bowers' legal trouble over a gun charge may change that.

...Craig I think the deal with Abraham is he is predominantly a right edge rusher. Same as Wake. The knock on Abraham is he isnt a player that can be moved around anymore. Kroy Beirman is the DE for the Falcons that gets lined up everywhere(UM guy too).

Anyway, much like Freeney, We already have a guy that likes to come off the right side. At this point in their careers. Asking them to rush off the left? They are going to pick a team where they can do that..

You just fire Ireland guys are the biggest Morons on this planet. Do you know on average 2 guys become starters the year they are drafted. That's AVERAGE. You fuknuts are clueless about football except from what you think you know, which is very little

Mando, put comments requiring FaceBook log in like the rest of the Heald. These pussasses who make up names need to go


I like Bennett too. My only concern is this guy on really has one year where he's shown it. He was a bit of an umknown coming into last year. would he help this team? I think he would. Will he ask for a lot of money? Probably. I was looking for a cheaper option and there's where I thought a guy like Abraham or Freeney might work. I get what DD is saying but I'm not looking for a full time guy, but rather a guy that can be used in tandem with Vernon. Dion Jordan is about the only guy I'd be interested in in the draft, unless we trade down and pickup a guy like Okafor.

Mando, put comments requiring FaceBook log in like the rest of the Heald. These pussasses who make up names need to go

Posted by: bobbyd12 | March 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM

why don't you go loiter facebook instead of this blog? take your band of fairy misfits with ya.

But isn't a significant potion of us being so far under the cap due to the fact that we have so many high-quality unrestricted free agents, like Starks, Hartline, Bush, Smith, etc? I mean, how far under the cap would we be if just those four were re-signed at "market value"? Would we still be in great shape?

Oh.. and Jake Long, of course.

Yeah, cut everyone Ireland brought in amd we'll have MORE cap space!

YG4 you must be an idiot if you think you're fooling people by switching names when you make fun of Canadiens. You and Craig are in here 24/7. Difference is he admits it while you're embarrassed that you have no life so you pretend you're not here.

Mando, put comments requiring FaceBook log in like the rest of the Heald. These pussasses who make up names need to go

Posted by: bobbyd12 | March 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM

I am surprised Facebook let you in. I wouldn't join any club that had you as a member.

Jeff also brought in some very good players as well , you can't hit on all of them , you so called fans are very unrealistic and dumb

Wasnt bobbyd12 the imbecile that was making fun of people that read books???

Marc from nj is obviously a Jet fan saying he supports Ireland. Dont be fooled guys!!

If you are from NJ....AND you say you support Ireland....you are CLEARLY A JET FAN!!!!

Wasnt bobbyd12 the imbecile that was making fun of people that read books???

Posted by: bobbyd12 is lame | March 02, 2013 at 01:23 PM

Proof of what an ignoramus that guy is - just like half the bloggers here.

Yes, bobbyd12 was making fun of "educated bookworms". Obviously, he's not the brightest bulb in the room.

Don't think so dude I just know football and hit or miss ratios involving draft picks and I've been a dolphins fan since 1970 ,,,,,,sorry loser

I support my team win or lose and hopefully we can start winning again very soon

Having the money is great but also irrelevant until it leads to W's. Then I'll give him his just due.

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