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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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billcale, only the top 51 contracts count against the cap.

WTH is the SS problem charging to read articles?

??? Fancy excuse. I counter that Santonio Holmes won one and made a huge catch in the process. In the menatime, I hope Marshall catches herpes.

That's some kind of double standard man. When marshall, who's best years are starting to dwindle, sets one tenth of the records Dan set, then he deserves something. Until then, he just deserves cokk in mouth from Dolphins fans. He was a thief.

Ireland has to be smart with his spending. I think he should franchise Starks and then sign just offensive players. My wish list is Wallace, Keller or Finley if he is released and Levitre from the Bills. They are all young and can greatly upgrade the offense and help Tannehill grow.

Make.....

When I think of GREAT recievs....I NEVER think Santanio Holmes.....and I don't think you or anyone else does either.....

But your hate for Marshall is legendary....and keeps me laughing in e morning....

Mark,

You've said it multiple times, but one thing you're wrong about is the Marshall "punches women in clubs" line. He didn't do it. He was trying to leave the club during a brawl, with his WIFE, and someone hit HER, and Marshall was simply trying to protect her. That's far from the picture you paint.

I did the EXACT SAME THING here in DC one year in a 4th of July celebration. If you've ever been to DC during that day, it's chaos. My wife and I watched the fireworks, then went to the Metro station. A crowd formed and was packing into the station. People were pushing and my wife was getting crushed. I pushed everyone behind me (including women and children) back and said as loud as I could, "anyone who pushes up against me will get punched." And I meant it.

So am I a thug for doing that? I think not. I was protecting my wife. JUST LIKE MARSHALL.

Let's not exaggerate the situation. You have enough valid points in why you don't like Marshall not to have to use wild accusations.

THE BEST THING IS THAT WHILE MOST TEAMS MUST CUT PLAYERS WE CAN SIT BACK AND PICK AND CHOOSE.

ANOTHER THING IS THAT IT's A TEAM'S MARKET AND NOT THE PLAYERS.

IT WILL GET TO THE POINT WHERE GREAT PLAYERS WILL BE FORCED TO TAKE LESS MONEY BECAUSE SO MANY TEAMS ARE TOO CLOSE TO THE CAP.

NOW ATLANTA RELEASING DE ABRAHAH,CB ROBINSON MORE COMPETITION ADDED TO THE ALREADY FA CLASS.

I JUST HOPE WE DO THE SAME THING THE PLAYERS DO.

PUT THEM AGAINST THEMSELVES.

NO NEED TO JUMP THE BROOM WHEN EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD WANTS YOU.(JETER)

UNLESS YOU CAN GET THE BEST ON THE MARKET(JAY-Z)AND THERE'S NO ONE BETTER THAT YOU CAN EVEN HAVE A WET DREAM ABOUT.

POINT IS SIT BACK AND WAIT.

EVEN TOM BRADY WOULD PLAY FOR A LOT LESS MONEY IF NO ONE IS GIVING OUT THE BIG BUCKS.

All I know is this next season will determine if Tannehill is a "franchise QB" or not if he produces another season like his rookie season he'll be Chad Henne all over again and we'll de, and Im sure Ireland will follow him out the door if Tanny fails.

Lets imagine Ireland as a all pro quaterback.
He has been for us only a game manager but what we are looking for is an stud, come from behind, game winning quaterback.

Things beginning to unravel. Atlanta cut 3 top-notch(or used to be) Players. You see why we must be patient?

HE GETS NO CREDIT UNTIL THE TEAM WINS ON THE FIELD. HE HAS NO EXCUSES THIS YEAR WITH ALL THAT CAP SPACE TO SIGN AND TURN THIS FRANCHISE BACK TO IT'S TRADITION(WINNING) THIS IS THE MIAMI DOLPHINS AND AS OLD SCHOOL FANS REMEMBER WE ARE ACCUSTOM TO WINNING!! SO IF IRELAND WANTS OR DESERVES CREDIT THAN SHOW US DOLFANS WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH ALL THE AMMO YOU NOW HAVE. IF IRELAND DOES HIS JOB WE LAND BIG TIME WR(WALLACE) WE RESIGN HARTLINE,AND KEEP REGGIE BUSH BY MATCHING WHAT IS OFFERED HIM(WON'T BE HIGH AS SOME MAY THINK AND HE WANTS TO STAY) FRANCHISE STARKS AND GET CB AND WR WEAPONS IN THE DRAFT. IRELAND HITS HOMERUN WITH ALL THESE OPTIONS THEN HE DESERVES CREDIT AND THE FANS WILL HAVE A PLAYOFF HOME GAME!! IF HE HE STRIKES OUT HE IS OUT AND WILL NOT BE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION. SOME OF US FEEL LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED ALREADY !! I'LL WAIT TIL AFTER 2013 TO SEE IF I JOIN THEM !! GO DOLPHINS PLEASE SIGN MIKE WALLACE!

MARK:

YOU ARE SO WRONG.

MARSHALL ONLY PROBLEM WAS GETTING TRADED TO OUR TEAM.

NO TALENT AROUND HIM AT ALL.

AND HE WAS TOLD TO CARRY AN 11 MAN OFFENSE.

I also don't understand how a WR who went to the ProBowl (oh, by the way, the only one in FOREVER) for the Dolphins is a "thief." Let's play the "if Jerry Rice played with Chad Henne in Dan Henning's offense would he still be Jerry Rice" game.

Answer: NO!

The QB has FAR MORE importance to the success of a WR than the other way around.

I give you Marshall did nothing for our offense. I give you he had multiple drops (including in the endzone). I give you he was a diva. I give you him being traded was one of the best moves done to change the culture here.

But Brandon didn't choose Miami, Miami chose Brandon. He was given a contract. He went to the PROBOWL (100 receptions, over 1,000 yards). Then he was traded. Neither him nor the organization was say anything was stolen. More hyperbole.

At least, by Monday we'll know if they slapped the francise tag on any of our Players, or on none. From there, many inferences.

Im with mark on this one. Marshall is trash off the field and will never win anything on it. 2012 he had a nice year I'll give you that. But like Mark said no playoff births in what is it now 7 years?

He also had 10 drops and was second in the league again. When it comes time to make a big catch for a TD he will choke. He did it in Miami and he did it for the Bears against the Packers.

He's like Romo, good player, good guy to have on your fantasy team, bad guy to have in the big spot in the big game.

ABOUT MARSHALL PROTECTING HIS WIFE?

WHAT's WRONG WITH THAT?

JUST CAUSE BEATS HER DOESN't GIVE ANYBODY ELSE THE RIGHT TOO.

Justin, no offense but I'm not going to take criticism seriously from someone who quotes Jay Z and writes all in caps...

DC, anyone who drops numerous TDS (6 I believe... SIX!!!) not catches, TDS ... then goes on to blame the QB ... is a loser. By the way, he's had his personal blow buddy in jay Cutler for all but two of his years and still no playoffs. He's a sham.

With the exception of the trade comment......

I agree with everything DC says about Marshakk @ 9:55.....

The dude did his job....and just like with the Bears.....Marshall wasn't the reason we didn't make the playoffs.....but he could be the reason we didn't finish with 4 or less wins....

I DIDN't QUOTE J AT ALL.

AND I WRITE IN CAPS TO STAND OUT.

I WAS THE FIRST TO DO IT YEARS AGO.

YES EVEN BEFORE ALOCO.

I USE TO CALL HIM MINI ME.

BUT WHAT's WRONG WITH JAY- Z?

Mark,

I'm actually a fan of Kris' but I get frustrated with him sometimes because he's inconsistent with his thoughts and his standards (don't take that as criticsm Kris). I used the example yesterday of Flacco after his first year and Tannehill after his first year....very similar stats. But Kris is already to bring competition in for Tannehill and put the pressure on him. And yet he's also a big fan of Flacco's.

He's quick to give Philbin a free pass and put any blame for the team on Ireland....and yet Sparano was never afforded the same luxury. So I'm a fan of Kris', just a little confused by his double standards. I admire his loyalty to his guys like Marshall and Mallett, if only a little misguided.

By the way Armando, thank you for some balanced writing today. It's been negative, negative, negative from you lately and I just don't see it that way at all. We're in a great position to really improve this team and I think Ireland and his team will do just that. they'd better....or they will be out the door.

Two names that the Dolphins should give some thought to that were just released today:

John Abraham

and Dunta Robinson.

Actually he may not have been the reason....

Even Marshall couldn't over come 0-6 Chad Henne....

DC, re: marshall shooting his mouth off at the super bowl.

...it would be the same as you not meeting your deliverables at work (let's say 10 times) and when asked why you didn't meet them, say well of the ten times, five times it was because I was missing information from someone else and they didn't get it to me and then make no mention of the other five times you missed out because you spent too much time on Dolphins inDepth. The man has zero accountability ... NONE! He's a punk.

Water under the bridge, Marshall is.

Hey, Craig Miller, why did you say I was like a weasel, hard to catch? I am, but how did you know?

To quote Giselle ...

"he couldn't throw and catch the ball"

If Marshall optimized his opportunities, that excuse would hold water but he left as many points on the field as he produced. What did he have his last year here, 6tds or so?? he also dropped that many. That is not a $10M a year player ... he just acts like he is and unfortunately for Chicago gets paid like it. When he can't point his finger at himself anymore, that's when he should point to others.

And I don't remember any single game where Marshall was the difference between winning and losing. And funny thing is I can remember even Ted Ginn singlehandedly winning games offensively or through special teams.

Man, why do you have to push my buttons with this tool on a Friday morning. And I was in such a good mood after having 23 year old enhanced boobies in my face last night ...

Atlanta releasing three big names today. Great for teams like us, more players = less demand = lower salaries. Miami doesn't need to fill their holes with all young players or star free agents. I see some good veteran CBs out there that can help this team without needing massive money or long term deals

Za

Craig, I acutually agree with you about looking at Abrhram and Robinson although Abraham is injury prone when hes on the fold is an excellent pass rusher. Robinson is also a head hunter of a S, can easily slide into Clemmons spot

IT's A TEAM SPORT.

YOU CAN't PLACE ALL THE BLAME ON MARSHALL ANY MORE THAN THE QB OR LEFT AND RIGHT GUARD.

I FOR ONE FEELS THE WRS MAKES THE QBs AND THEIR STATS BETTER.

HOWEVER I WILL NEVER PUT MOST BLAME ON ANY ONE PERSON ON A TEAM THAT HAS 22 STARTERS.

But Mando,

Don't they have a TON of their own free agents to resign? They can't just let all of those free agents walk. If they do then they won't be able to field a team. And they can't just find people to replace all those players with in free agency either. So while having all that cap space is great, Miami has the opposite problem that a lot of teams don't have, they have a ton of players they could lose this year that would set the team back. So Miami must use some of that cap space to resign their own players, players that helped Miami get to that 7-9 record. That's the rub.

CRAIG:

SOUNDS LIKE MY 9:49 POST

When your roster is full of nobodys, YOU SHOULD HAVE CAP SPACE!

Please Mando, this article is garbage! If the phins had TALENT, there cap number would be much higher like the best teams in the league!

Speaking of cap management...why is it ireland or Aponte have not forced a restructure for Dansby? Most NFL contracts, for good players, are BACKLOADED & ALMOST ALL OF THEM RESTRUCTURE in the latter years to free up cap space.

The Jets restructured 3 deals. The Cowboys just got Witten, Flowers & a couple of others to restructure. Brady, Woodley, Simmons & on & on & on!

When was the last time Miami, under Ireland, was creative with the cap & restructed a bloated deal like dansby's? NEVER! Instead of reworking deals, they just cut guys.

Are you trying to tell me the wise Ireland & his penny pinching is content paying Dansby 8 mil per year? Few if any players make that kind of money unless your a QB. Yet, Dansby does? LMAO

All teams restructure big contracts. Except the Phins!

Mark....

In Denver Marshall was the deciding factor in a # of games.....that's why Ireland gave up 2 seconds for him.... And then broke the bank to make sure he would be here long term....

The problem was/is you can t have just ONE WEAPONon either side of the ball....DCs will neutralize ONE WEAPON....

Ireland used the EXACT same strategy on defence with DANSBY....and you see the results.....

Hopefully Ireland has learned his lesson...and brings us multiple weapons on offense this year...not one....if we only get Wallace and no one else....it will be the Marshall story all over again....

Lol Craig M......

Thanks....I think.....

MARK:

I HOPE YOU SMASHED IT..

BUT JUST TO HAVE BOOBIES IN YOU're FACE AND NOT GET HER FACE IN YOUR LAP DOESN't SOUND LIKE A GREAT NITE.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU WERE SHAKING HANDS WITH YOUR SELF.

As for Atlanta's soon to be cuts...Robinson could be a potential target.

Abraham? LOL For what, to keep the rehab facility guys employed? He's old & ALWAYS misses games.

He is the Jake Long of the Oline. Throwing money at him is completely pointless.

BWWAHHAHAH "SHAKING HANDS WITH YOUR SELF" Post of the morning @ 10:20

Justin....

Mark seems like a closer....

I have no doubt he sealed the deal.....

The thing I don't get about the Ireland bashing is I don't think these people account for the situation the guy walked into. I think he has done a pretty good job actually. Now that the team is middle of the pack (7-9) with some money to spend, lets see what he does. If he fails now I agree he should go. But I think the guy gets judged more on the situation he walked into then his actual body of work.

Kris, wish you would make a quarter of the excuses for someone that actually gave something to this team like Marino did rather than that slimeshite Brandon Marshall. I could care less what he did in Denver although he was part of one of the all time melt down jobs in giving up a 3 game lead with three games left. All I hear from you regarding him is excuses. I for one am glad that he's not here and I find it laughable that Brian Hartline was able to almost match his production here last year. I also find it laughable that a rookie Qb with no receivers had better team passing stats than the wonder combo of Cutler and Marshall. Good riddance ...

KRIS:

SPOT ON.

I've BEEN MAKING THAT SAME ARGUMENT ALL YEAR LONG.

WE DIDN't HAVE TO GET RID OF MARSHALL BUT WE SHOULD HAVE PUT SOME WEAPONS AROUND HIM.

CALVIN JOHNSON MUST REALLY BE A BUM TOO.

I GUESS.

If Miami only brings in Wallace, it will be worse than when Marshall was here.

Marshall could at least body position & fight for balls in the air. Wallace will struggly MIGHTILY if he's the only addition on offense.

And Craig, I'm a Kris fan too. If everyone was as good a contributor as Kris, I'd be here 24-7 instead of just work time, hahaha

Praise for the cap situation?? Getting rid of most all Irelands's player acquisitions and allowing him to start over deserves praise?? Really?

Justin, CJ doesn't slam his QB, doesn't alienate his team, and has been to the playoffs. So no, he's no bum so don't make assumptions on my part.

Kudos Mando!
Nice post!!!

The only reason they have that much money is because they have 8 to 10 expiring contracts. There isnt enough cap room to sign them all back if for some reason they were wanted to.

After 6 years of Irescum we are a glorified expansion team. YIKES!

LOL, agreed on additions to the offense. I think two fo the first three .. maybe four picks to skill positions on offense would be a good idea. I think addition to TE via free agency would also be a good move ... pickings in the draft are kind of slim.

I agree the offense needs an overhaul, but I want to see them use some picks on D. Right now that is the teams strength. I want them to keep it that way and expand on it.

Phinmanski you are right. We have the cap situation of an expansion team. Thats hardly progress.

PREDICTION:


THE FINS WILL STINK AGAIN NEXT YEAR

You guys talk like your inviting Marshall to your house. I could give three shits what he does on his own time. The fact is he is one of the most productive WR's in the NFL. Had we not traded him for practically nothing we wouldn't be scrambling around right now looking for a top notch WR. And if we land lets say Wallace we will be paying more for a less productive WR, who also happens TO BE A DIVA.

Shula,

EXACTLY! This article is pure garbage written in homer fashion.

Maybe Mando hasn't realized it yet but, there is a difference between:

A. Having cap space & a team that wins consistently and
B. A team with cap space, who doesn't win consistently, has at least half a dozen major starting position unfilled.

The phins are B. Why? Because:

A. They drafted a rookie QB after the rookie wage scale & haven't had to invest FA money to retainhim...YET!

B. They don't have a #1 WR

C. They don't have a #2 WR

D. They don't have a #1 TE

E. They don't have a #1 CB

F. They don't have a LT

They also lack guards that they desperately need. If Miami had HALF what winning teams have, Ireland would be as close to the cap as he can get, if not OVER it.

oscar,

When did I call you a weasel?

Ross/Ireland will never produce a winning team. It doesnt matter what the draft situation or cap situation is. These 2 are rank amatuers in a league of professionals. Most people already know this. The homers that dont will realize this very soon.

Yea, I remember when the Patriots actually stunk and in came Bellicheck. He weeded out the garbage and had a year where he had a large amount of picks and cap space. That started the Pars rebuild, but of course some of you can't remember what time you woke up.

Glad to see the troll can still agree with himself, someone has to.

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