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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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ys oscar, deciding between smith and starks, which they are monitoring the market on both

Smith is not the guy , they are trying to lock up Starks long term if they can't he gets the tag

If they lock up Starks any which way, then prority #1 in the Draft would be to acquire Bjorn Werner or one of those other Beasts DEs there this year.

no way oscar, if we resign starks, u def need a wr or cb in rd one depending on free agency

You have to seize the Moment, dusty. There is an exceptional crop of huge DEs this year which you might not see again in 10-20 yrs. Those, can be Gamechangers also.

On rookie CBs this year, all that needs to be said is that Milliner will be the 1st picked this year.

millner is awesome

There are many Players in this Draft, dusty, that while very good, are not Top Ten material under any circumstances, and they will go Top Ten. Thin at the Top.

we shall see oscar, i agree with most. its a mediocre draft

The whole draft seems pretty weak.

The Kasnsas State QB might be a very interesting project in a later rd.

Kansas

Wow, Starks wants a long term deal and Ireland apparently it's not happy with the terms. Hmm...

klein isnt an nfl player, no way u waste a pick on him

Wow, you must really like what the Marlins have done.

Hey, at least the Marlins have 2 recent World Championships.......and a state of the art new stadium.

I'd say there a lot further along then the Dolphins.

Mando,

I just read that the Colts have more than $40 Million in cap space & it's only going to be Ryan Grigson's 2nd season as GM.

So I'll ask--why should be we praise the job Ireland has done again????

BTW--This is Ireland's last year under contract so if we don't finish with a winning season I can't imagine Ross given him an extension...Now that would beat Matt Millen.

Might be best for Everyody involved to come a litte closer.

OSCAR CANOLA:

Did you hear the toucan? The toucan in the tree? He says "Ni Ni Ni Ni Ni."

I desire to share a Pepsi with you in Belize.

Was just watching the series 'A Football Life' on NFL Network. The episode about the old Fearsome Foursome is great. Fascinating to learn that Merlin Olsen was a lifelong member of the Communist Party and a frequent honored guest in the old Soviet Union. Had never heard about that before!

Looks like oscar got put in his place last night - nowhere!

It is peaceful.

There shall be no peace on earth only pain

The rapid rise of the Colts and Seahawks made last years schedule tougher then it originally appeared.

There shall be no peace on earth only pain
Posted by: Marc from nj | March 03, 2013 at 01:04 PM

ESPECIALLY FOR DOLPHIN FANS!

Hate can only carry you so far; after that, it impedes you.

Those that bring up the word hate must be the ones hating.

Who do you hate oscar?

It'll continue to be musical chairs as long as Irescum is allowed to continue acquiring pathetic players.


"NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that free agent LT Jake Long is seeking $11 million per year on his next contract.
The Miami Herald reported late in January that Long was looking for upwards of $10 million annually, so this coincides with that. The Dolphins are reportedly only willing to give him around $6-7 million per year, so his chances of returning are looking slim if what Rapoport is hearing is true. Our own Evan Silva predicts a re-signing with the Dolphins for five years and $37.5 million. The Bears have also been mentioned as a landing spot."
Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter
Mar 3 - 12:47 PM

Enough already...Goodbye!!! What a greedy d#ck Long turned out to be. The guy DID miss a quarter of the season on IR right??? If Ireland resigns Long then he's a moron.

It would be much cheaper to hire a team of trainers & coaches to get Jonathan Martin in shape for this season. If Martin can't be the starter @ LT then Ireland needs to find another line of work.

Yes Oscar when hate is what drives you , one tends to let it consume you!!!!!!!, so love thy brother

Save your hate for the jets and patriots!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hear Sam baker will be jake longs replacement

Sure, Mac, all the probabilities point that Jake Long is on his way out of here.

Martin can not play LT adequately. If you watched the games thats clear.

Either chedious goaded or Sam baker are the 2 names I hear from my sources

They'll sign Jake. Just dont play him in preseason.

If they dont sign Long that means they REALLY botched missing Matt Ryan.

Why is it so awful for Long to TRY to get the best contract he can? If you were him you wouldn't do exactly the same thing? Puhleeze.

It doesn't mean he and his agent WILL get what he's seeking (they very likely won't) but what the hell is so wrong with making the effort?

Seriously, did some of you just become aware of how professional sports operates this afternoon?

Guys we did screw up that pick Matt Ryan should have been the pick!!!!!!!!!!! Are you just figuring that out ?

Even if Long stays they botched Matty Ice

Armando, at this point the only thing that should get Ireland any praise at all is W's. The wins. No more moral victories, or trying hard, is enough anymore. We've sure heard tons of excuses.

This is a huge year for our development the biggest yet

JUSTIN CREDIBLE,


So if they sign Long and he makes 2-3 more pro bowls then he still could be Matt Ryan worthy.

..I agree. These players can ask for whatever they want. They should try and get the most possible. It doesn't make them greedy. They are doing what 95 percent of us would do in the same situation.

Also..Long can seek 11 million per year. He may not get close to that, in turn he may have a suitor willing to ante up the money. It is a negotation. Any of you that have ever participated in this understand you ask high as the seller, low as the buyer. Then you rty to find some middle ground you can both live with. Sometimes in these negotations, the money is right on the mark..But like Brian Hartline. Both players are just testing the market with those numbers. If they find someone willing to pay..good for them. Probably not the case.


Guys we did screw up that pick Matt Ryan should have been the pick!!!!!!!!!!! Are you just figuring that out ?
posted by Marc from NJ
======================================================
Well Joe Thomas of the Browns in 2011 signed a $84M dollar 7 year contract with $44M guaranteed. He has not helped the Browns win very many games. I would agree choosing a left tackle over the dire need of a QB is a huge mistake.

I guess Long is eying a Joe Thomas type contract. It's what the market will bear. Some GM may be willing to give Jake $8M per year. So be it let him go. Jake is not as good as Joe Thomas.

Ryan is an average QB who chokes in big games. With the best receivers in the NFL, he gets shut out at home in the second half of the nfc championship game.

1-4 in the playoffs, and that 1 win was almost a loss.

Inexcusable.

Unbelievable praising Ireland...Armando get a new career you are obviously delusional....
So Vonte Davis, Brandon Marshall gone and now possibly Bish and Sean Smith with what to show in last 10 years....I now read Armando s column as a comic relief...

JEFF IRELAND,
KYS

The only problem I truly have is heaping praise on a man that hasn't done anything or won a damn thing in his life.

Can we get happy AFTER the Christmas presents are open? I've been happy BEFORE the presents are open and only got a lump of coal.

NOTHING has been done that proves Ireland knows what the hell he is doing. I refuse to heap praise on the man before he accomplishes one thing we can hang our hats on.

We don't even know what we have in Tannehill yet. And that --arguably-- will be Ireland's signature achievement or BUST.

Not sure why we are heaping praise at this point in the game. Heaping praise comes after winning something. Not before winning something.

Ok I will make my own prediction. Ireland will not draft one pro bowl player or rookie of the year this draft.

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