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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.

Why?

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.)

Wrong.

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.  

Comments

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..Odin. Very good points about Mike Wallace. All of the free agent wide receivers are flawed. None of them make our corps of recivers complete. They are just pieces to the whole. We can kfind holes in why we shouldn't pay any of them. As we need help. Lets look at why we should, and what other parts we may need to add to make the position one that is an efficent group.

The Ravens for instance had a complete set of receivers. Burners on the outside. A possesion freak, and 2 tight ends that were good options. At this point we have none. So for debate sake. Lets say the Phins do sign Wallace. It will be too much money, but if the team puts the right pieces around him who cares.

We would still be short the go to receiver that can make the big catches in traffic, that does the little things well, but can still make big plays. If we signed Wallace. I would be all for drafting Keenan Allen. He looks the part of the best all around receiver in the draft. Solid. I would also look to other free agents lower on the food chain just to bring in for a what for. Say a big bodied guy Ramses Barden. Both could be potential red zone threats. And we haven't addresed tight end yet.

Say the team went the way of a Greg Jennings. I would change my draft strategy and look to the second round for a Deandre Hopkins, and would hope that the team could come to an agreement with Hartline. Again, this is not even taking into consideration the tight end spot, or the guys we have on the roster currently.

Either way, we have to solidify the group with guys that can compliment each other. Have a variety. All of our guys have been to similar. Not great at one thing or another. Kind of average all around. My point. 1 free agent big name reciever will not solve our problems. It is going to have to be a group effort. By the FO, and the players on the field.

I warn you, Carl, you are no match for Me in estimating probabilities.

Trading Brandon Marshall was MORONIC! He was doubled teamed every game. And now all this talk of receivers a lot worse then Marshall for more money. And getting Egnew in return? YIKES!

I'm not a chicken wing guy, only once in awhile. I do eat only fresh quality food though.

See, DD is trying to reason out which FA WR will be better for Us , Carl. You do the same thing and I'll help you out in your Reasoning.

Patterson has an open field running ability far above anyone in this draft. His play making potential exceeds comparison in this draft and this FA. The fact he is raw and not very articulate only plays in our favor.

oscar, you are warning me? You seem rather behind for that. I copied both your posts about WR's and you tried to weasel out of it implying you weren't talking about WR's. That is a childs game.

Pay attention and get with the program.

Forget Wallace. Draft Patterson and one of the speedsters. No need to complicate things, keep it simple.

Carl | March 02, 2013 at 11:34 PM

In an O were trying to run were precise route runners are essential Patterson needs a ton of work a will take time although I wouldn't be upset given his size/speed combo and hand timed 4.34/40 are appealing.

Posted by: fin4life | March 02, 2013 at 11:55 PM

That's why I don't think we grab him.

I have DeAndre Hopkins, Robert Woods, Quinton Patton, justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers on my list. I think we grab 2 of these guys in rds 2-3.

oscar, it is a very common trait of stupid people to assume they are intelligent and above others, just like you do.

HoHo! I know whih FA WR we are going to pick, but now I won't tell you, Carl. There.

Ok oscar, I will try to hold back my tears. I'm having lunch with Ireland and Philbin tomorrow so maybe they will tell me.

Oscar, me things your source of information is the same source your toilet has.

Broder!

According to Walter Football, Patterson will go to the Jets at #9.

..The thing with Patterson. He may be physicaly gifted. But is it too much of a risk for Ireland? Can he risk his future on another first round project? I understand all of the draft picks are projects. None are sure bets. But under the circumstances. Would it not be in the team, and Irelands best interest to find a guy more ready to play now?

I'm not saying Patterson isn't. In fact I know nothing about him except the stuff I have read on draft sites. All of them have a common denominator. Big bust potential, huge home run should he pan out. I would say if we had a more stable group. It may be worth the risk. I don't think knowing the pressure is on to put out a winning product that Ireland can take this chance on this player..

You really don't need inside info nowadays. It's all there for the taking. You just have to make sense of It, Carl.

HoHo! I know whih FA WR we are going to pick, but now I won't tell you, Carl. There.

oscar canosa | March 03, 2013 at 12:14 AM

Ok oscar, I will try to hold back my tears. I'm having lunch with Ireland and Philbin tomorrow so maybe they will tell me.

Carl | March 03, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Huhh??????? LMAO and what followed had me ROTFF!

Oscar, please step away from the Rum bottle.

Everybody here knows I don't drink Rum. You must be relatively new here, Gang.

fin4, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.

oscar, I will try to forgive you, but no promises.

Nobody here knows what their plan is. That is a childs game to infer that you know.

oscar, tell us again how important points are....

My apologies Oscar. What is your drink of choice?

Of course, nobody knows what the Plan is, but you can come close to it based on Probabilities. That's what I'm trying to teach you, Carl.

J&B

oscar I think Carl hit the nail on the head about you eating way too many canned goods.....

Many times, when I Teach, even in the simplest of terms, many People say, That's too complicated, and turn away.

J&B is lower middle class. I prefer the single malts, Glenfiddich or Mccallum.

Oscar, you could make an ant puke.

Good for you, Carl. You appear to be Upper Class.

Maybe Oscar will teach us the meaning of life and the history of the universe, if it is not too complicated. Try to keep it down to three sentences.

Three sentences? Plueeese. BooOOOMMMM,oooo...

Alright Darryl, Carl and Co.

So far I've been arguing for the speed dimension threat on O based on proven production that's why Wallace is my pick in FA. I disagree on K.Allen especially at 12. In this scenario were I sign the speed WR via FA I would seriously look for a trade partner in a draft lacking FRANCHISE TYPE playmakers but deep in good to above average players at certain positions.

Look at Chicago in desperate need of an OT at pick 20 or for that matter G.B. at 27 also with a need at OT should be desperate to get Fluker at least and maybe willing to part with not just a 2 but a 4 as well given their relief has to come in the form of the draft not signing a J.Long with their CAP situation.

Under this scenario FA - Mike Wallace, Martellus Bennett, Fasasno (I believe he returns for his 3.5 Mil. and as the 2 has been productive earlier in career) Hartline if reasonable as well. Tag Starks and let the rest walk.

The draft:

1) Matt Elam S.S. UF (Pick-27 from G.B.)

2) Xavier Rhodes CB FSU our pick 44 (Boards have slid him to top of RD-2 I believe will be a solid Pro, if gone BA CB left on our board but if whats unfolding holds up should be here)

2B) Justin Hunter WR Tenn. pick 56 (Colts) (Great size and potential I take the flyer on the knee)

2C) Kyle Long RT Org. pick 59 (G.B.) (love the bloodlines and big kid at 6'6"/305)

3) Marquis Goodwin WR Tex. pick 77 (Blazing fast)

3B) Devin Taylor DE S.Car. pick 82 (fast 40 at 4.72 at 6'7"/266 needs to work on strength but like upside

4 BA on down

J&B is lower middle class. I prefer the single malts, Glenfiddich or Mccallum.

Posted by: Carl | March 03, 2013 at 01:02 AM

Yes sir. Single Malts are how I drink too!I prefer Islay malts for their smoky characteristics. I enjoy a nice Laphroiag or Lagavulin. I like a nice MacAllan on occasion though.

I don't know what J&B is, Brandy?

With my full 90 minutes of research, my call is to take Patterson and one of the speedsters later. We'll see what happens, I just don't think Wallace is the right way to go. If they get him and he proves me wrong, well let's just say I hope he proves me wrong.

I remember, when being 4 or 5, a very disagreeable situation happened all around me. I realized that all those People needed help and Then, I decided to become a Teacher.

I love the middle rounds in this draft. DE, CB, WR, are well represented. I think we can supplement in FA without breaking the bank. going for exorbitant FAs is a crippler, unless you need a single piece for a SB run.

fin4life

I'll be back around to take the credit or the heat on my Wallace call. It is all in fun. Should be interesting...


Good night all.

Randy Starks tweeting that he doesn't want to be tagged. I don't blame him.

Yea we're under the salary cap now which is great but at what cost over the last couple of years? We've saved money and we got mediocore teams as a result so he better do something this time with all of that money because I'm tired of getting a 8-8 team. We better put a team together with all that money and win some damn games including playoff games.

Macallan is nice but nothing beats Glenlivet or Highland Park also partial to Jameson's and Micheal Collins

I know you attempt to refute this objection, but it simply is not impressive to manage cap space while putting a mediocre football team on the field. It is akin to asking for credit for paying your taxes. It is the simplest act that ought to be mandatory for your job, or your citizenship. Let us recognize that the fins have cap space, because they haven't attracted free agents. Notably, receivers.

I think what you highlight is the one reason though, that Ireland is keeping his job. Saving the owner pennies. I hate that. The job is to win games. Losing gets old.

I know he won the super bowl and all but 120.6 million for Joe Flacco....well, he certianly got his money and you cant blame him for that but no way is he worth that much dough the ravens just sacrificed his way....good thing he got his championship ring cuz baltimore's going to be in salery cap HELL for years to come...just sayin!!!!

If you wanna go "Safe" in a wr choice Patterson's the absolute no brainer. Will he be Calvin Johnson day 1? Highly doubtful.

But if you wanna go big, strong athletic, plus yacs, Patterson is probly the best "LONGTERM" wr of this crop. As a GM, you would be hugely thanking yourself for the Patterson pick 5-6 years from now.

Good morning dudes looks like I'm first to wake up!!!!!!

I think Robert woods might be the most nfl ready receiver in the draft.

There's a good argument to be made for a lot of the WR's in this draft. Fortunately for us. I keep looking over this group just in case we don't get either Wallace or Jennings. Even if we do I'd like to see a another taken in the draft.

5-6 years from now?? he will be a free agent and gone

fin4life those guys wont be there when u have us picking them

yousaywhat:
what?
miami is "letting" their best olineman walk? is that jake long? i like long but when ishe heathy? best CB sean smith? maybe which says alot about needing to upgrade sean smith. maybe getting rid of v. davis was your point? he was so bad and hurt that miami didnt even get the extra pick for his performance this year. maybe you are upset that all of you knowledgeable fans slammed ireland for "missing out" on alex smith? or matt flynn? alex smith is now worth a 2nd round pick and flynn even less, great call.

I would wait until the 2nd round to take a receiver or if we must trade back into the 20s.but you cannot foresee who will be there at 12 someone always slides in thie first round.someone who no one expects to still be on the board

I'm thinking this star letetiui or whatever his name is the huge dt oout of Utah , can you imagine the kid lined up next to big Paul ,WOW just saying

marc hes done, heart cond, might not get drafted and might not be able to even play football

Double wow, I thought they were testing him back at Utah and that it's not as bad as reported

not what ive heard anyways

We are 8 weeks from draft day and 9 days from fee agency

I guess we will get a better feel after pro days , but knowing Jeff Ireland his draft board is already set .

We have been scouting these players for 2 years now I'm sure they know all of there strengths and weaknesses . And more importantly what we need wich is everything

march 9 free agents can begin talking to teams. so we will hear quickly where most are going before march 12 even

Is there any advantage of waiting to the last minute to tag somebody? If there isn't, then they are not going to tag anybody and Clive is right.

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