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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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4 consecutive losing seasons is NOT mediocre

Well looks like Jets are close to signing Garrard

Yeah but Mando,

They have that much cap room, in large part, because their roster is currently missing:
- 2 Starting CBs
- 1 Starting Safety
- Starting LT (or RT)
- No.1 WR
- No.2 WR (Hartline is FA)

Those are some serious holes, at some seriously important positions. And also take into account DT Starks franchise number assuming he gets tagged.

IDK that I'm willing to praise them just yet. I'd wait until I see the results, especially given Ireland's history.

OH and I almost forgot, they also don't have a starting TE!

Hey guys, lets cut ALL the players. Then our cap situaton will be even better!!

Jimmy, 5 picks, 1st 3 rounds. Out of those we should be able to get a starting DT, TE, Safety, #2 receiver if needed, starting CB.
The whole draft class is 6 million. That leaves 40 million in cap space to full what you want


The facts are, from 1972-1992 this franchise made 5 Super bowl appearances and 7 AFC Championship games…We rid the greatest coach in history for the biggest clowns in history; I take that one performance by AJ Due in the AFC champ game a generation ago over the sum total of all the defenders that came and went, including the brothers in law…I’m so fed up with these idiots that drove this once storied franchise to ruin that all the cap room means nothing to me; until a third trophy is brought home, there is very little to be excited about…Here is a painful stat …from 1972 till 1992 the “Great One” averaged one AFC Championship for every 3 seasons…do I need to verbalize like a broken record what happened since he left?

Wouldnt Ireland be a genius if he cut ALL the players and had even MORE cap room?

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.

Mando,

You didn't mention that as of today the Dolphins have SEVEN vacant starting positions (& don't even get me started on the lack of depth);

1) Two WR's
2) One CB & that's assuming that Marshall is truly recovered from his back surgery.
3) TE
4) RT if Martin moves to LT
5) DT
6) SS

I truly believe it's just the same one or two guys posting under a bunch of different names, every single day, the same crap, day after day.
I mean SERIOUSLY....has anyone evern seen half of these names most of the time? Must be kind of a sad existence to just make up different sign in names every day and sit on here and make the same comments over and over again....I mean it's NOTHING new. Same crap for years now. 'Daniel Thomas for three picks'....'The beast for Egnew'....ZERO originality.

Craig Maggot, this blog will be much better without your posts, please GO AWAY.

bobbyd12,

You're making the assumption that Ireland can hit on a starter on 5 out of 5 picks in those 1st 3 rounds.

Given his history, I'm not the least bit confident that he is able to do so. I would love for him to prove my doubts and his drafting history wrong, but I'm just not getting my hopes up.

Jimmy, 5 picks, 1st 3 rounds. Out of those we should be able to get a starting DT, TE, Safety, #2 receiver if needed, starting CB.
The whole draft class is 6 million. That leaves 40 million in cap space to full what you want

Bobby,

There's NO WAY that you can find five starters in a draft with 10 draft picks (this includes the compensatory pick we'll get for Langford). If that were to happen it will go down as one of the greatest drafts in NFL history.

Geez....I wonder, wonder, wonder who that could be.

Only one guy talks that way. Not sure you speak for the blog bud....but if you don't like it, you're free to leave.

Why does Ireland have to hit on five starters in the draft? couldn't he hit on three in the draft and two in FA? Something wrong with that?

"I truly believe it's just the same one or two guys posting under a bunch of different names, every single day, the same crap, day after day.
I mean SERIOUSLY....has anyone evern seen half of these names most of the time? Must be kind of a sad existence to just make up different sign in names every day and sit on here and make the same comments over and over again....I mean it's NOTHING new. Same crap for years now. 'Daniel Thomas for three picks'....'The beast for Egnew'....ZERO originality."

Craig,

Just like Brandon Marshall is a coach killer, YG/Canadien Bacon is a blog killer.

New England Patriots : Tom Brady is 35 years old & do to decline in 2 or 3 years. Even though he restructured his contract NE will still have to use 70% of their salary cap space just resigning there 3 key FA's that are also do to start declining. With that in mind their window of oppertunity is limited to another 2 or 3 years max.

Miami Dolphins : With a future franchise QB seemingly in place, a core of good you talent in place, a heavy ammount of salary cap space & a full load of draft picks. Miami can put themselves in position to finally overtake New England, but keep in mind that Miami must continue to make the right offseason moves. This is the first regime that Miami has had (since the Don Shula era) in place that has gone back to the transparent ways of doing things & apparantly it is the right decision.

Buffalo Bills : The Mario Williams 100 million dollar contract may end up being a major problem in Buffalo, they still could have the best oppertunity to be decent if they can find a real QB & find ways to fix their players saleries.

New York Jets : They are doomed for at least the next 5 years with the massive long term cap problems on the team.

Why does Ireland have to hit on five starters in the draft? couldn't he hit on three in the draft and two in FA? Something wrong with that?

Craig,

Not at all. I'd take that in a heartbeat.

BTW--I was just reading an article that said we may receive a 4th round compensatory pick for Langford which would be nice.

Craig Maggot, did it ever occur to you its not just the same person who wants you to go away its multiple posters so catch the drift loser.

So I'm looking at Dunta Robinson. Kind of curious what the Falcons are trying to do. For a team supposedly on the verge, I would think chopping Abraham, Robinson and Turner is kind of a strange move. I get the Turner move but not sure I get the other two. It must be that they asked them to restructure and they wouldn't. Anyways, I think at the right price, both Robinson and Abraham would fit here. Robinson was set to make $5mil this year and count $6.4 against the cap. I would think Robinson at $5-6 mil a year would be a Hell of a lot better than Smith at $8-10 a year. Always liked this guy. He'll be 31 in April but still a good player. Abraham I like as that pass rush we're missing right now. Again, at the right price he'd be good. Might allow us to let Starks walk and move Odrick inside, as discussed. Abraham used with Vernon could be ideal.

And we might get a late round compensatory pick for Henne.

Craig M for Moron fights with everyone.

Hey 'Regular',

NEWSFLASH Einstein: I'm not here to talk to you (or your aliases). You could fit what you know about football in a thimble. There's enough quality bloggers here to keep my interest and you don't talk for the blog. Keep up your name-calling bud, cause it's shows you bring NOTHING to the table.

I'll let you come up with one of your OH so original insults now.

Wouldnt Ireland be a genius if he cut ALL the players and had even MORE cap room?

Posted by: Make Sense? | March 01, 2013 at 12:50 PM

.
The homers would probably applaud that too! LMAO!!

Yes,

Just thr trolls man......if the shoe fits.

If Craig Maggot new anything about football he'll realize Robinson can hit but his cover skills suck, what good is a CB that cant cover? Abarahm is 35 and is injury prone also on his last legs.Great analysis by the Maggot indeed!

"So I'm looking at Dunta Robinson. Kind of curious what the Falcons are trying to do. For a team supposedly on the verge, I would think chopping Abraham, Robinson and Turner is kind of a strange move. I get the Turner move but not sure I get the other two. It must be that they asked them to restructure and they wouldn't. Anyways, I think at the right price, both Robinson and Abraham would fit here. Robinson was set to make $5mil this year and count $6.4 against the cap. I would think Robinson at $5-6 mil a year would be a Hell of a lot better than Smith at $8-10 a year. Always liked this guy. He'll be 31 in April but still a good player. Abraham I like as that pass rush we're missing right now. Again, at the right price he'd be good. Might allow us to let Starks walk and move Odrick inside, as discussed. Abraham used with Vernon could be ideal."

Craig,

There's no reason that Vernon can't have 8-10 sacks this year. The kid had 3.5 sacks, 32 Tackles, & a forced fumble w/o even starting a game last year. Who knows....Maybe Odrick improves his quickness by dropping some pounds or Shelby steps up.

At the end of the day I don't believe Odrick is going to move inside. Either will keep Starks or find someone else.

Abraham, injury prone. What info are you using TROLL? The guy's missed a grand total of TWO games in the last 6 years. TEN sacks last year. That sound injury prone to you, TROLL?

And WNPs,

I have NO confidence that Vernon will get 8-10 ssacks this year. Based on what? The guy was invisible at times last year. If he's able to do that, then great. Something wrong with having extra pass rush?

WNPs,

I'd rather let Starks walk, move Odrick inside and sign Abraham I'm sure we could get him for less than the $8.5 mil it's going to take to franchise Starks. If Vernon is the guy you make him out to be then he plays and Abraham is the rotational guy, spelling Wake and Vernon from time to time.

When Irescum squandered 3 picks on D Thomas the draft room broke out in hysterical laughter!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course Ireland doesn't need to go 5 for 5 , but your are looking at a deep draft for DT, Safety, WR and TE's. I strongly believe at minimum those 4 positions are draft able.
As far as last years draft by Ireland, everyone loves to talk about Egnew but let's see, Tanny, Martin, Lamar Miller and Vernon. Not bad

"I have NO confidence that Vernon will get 8-10 ssacks this year. Based on what? The guy was invisible at times last year. If he's able to do that, then great. Something wrong with having extra pass rush?"

Craig,

You can obviously never have enough pass rushers but I believe Vernon is going to be one of the steals of last year's draft. Sure he was raw last year but you could see the type of athlete he is. The guy scored a TD on a blocked punt & blocked a FG too.

HOMER, Abraham is injury prone, HOMER!!

NOt sure why ATL would cut Robinson. Am I missing something here? Seems to be a good value at $6M...

WNPs,

I hope you are right. But I believe it would be foolish to count on that happening. We need a contigency plan. Abraham is still a good player.

Hey, if Irescum gets one decent starter it will be a miracle.

Mark,

I don't get it. So he's going to be 31. So what. Isn't Grimes a FA too? So who are their CBs for this year. Is it possible they are taking a run at Revis?

Dhmitroff is a smart guy. Doesn't get nearly enough credit for the moves he makes. To me this guy is pretty much on the same level as Ozzie or Thompson.

CRAIG M:

KEEP DOING WHAT YOU're DOING.

THERE's A HATER BORN EVERY MINUTE

"I'd rather let Starks walk, move Odrick inside and sign Abraham I'm sure we could get him for less than the $8.5 mil it's going to take to franchise Starks. If Vernon is the guy you make him out to be then he plays and Abraham is the rotational guy, spelling Wake and Vernon from time to time."

Craig,

Have you ever seen Odrick play inside??? I would not want to jeopardize the one area of our team that was actually an area of strength in 2012.

Right now Kheeston Randle who I also like has more experience at DT & if he improves he can become a bigger part of the rotation.

Yea lets sign a 35 year old DE who had 10 sacks 3 years ago, Maggot Man your really brillant! Sooooo great you and Ireland are like 2 peas in a pod

WNP:

I AGREE WITH YOU I RATHER GIVE VERNON THE CHANCE TO GROW.

HE CAME OUT AS A JUNIOR SO HE HAS A LOT OF ROOM TO GROW.

CRAIG M:

I THINK GETTING ABRAHAM AT THAT PRICE THERE's NO WAY HE BECOMES A BACK UP.

IF WE WERE TO SPEND THAT KIND OF MONEY I WOULD GO YOUNG LIKE CINNCY's JOHNSON AND LOCK HIM UP FOR LONG TERM.

Bo player over 29 has any part of the rebuild.

WNP, agree on Vernon. I also not big on lots of FA pass rushers right now. Now as far as CB goes, I like what is available in FA. Arizona cut William Gay today to add another one to the market. Also, isn't Darrius Butler also available??

No

I don't get it. So he's going to be 31. So what. Isn't Grimes a FA too? So who are their CBs for this year. Is it possible they are taking a run at Revis?

Dhmitroff is a smart guy. Doesn't get nearly enough credit for the moves he makes. To me this guy is pretty much on the same level as Ozzie or Thompson.

Craig,

Agreed. The guy has done a great job as GM. Hard to believe that Parcells was all set to go to ATL before Huzienga slobbered all over him. The trade he made for Julio Jones seemed insane at the time but he certainly got that one right.

Interesting that they want to get younger but kept Asante Samuel who is older than Dunta. Then again Asante also has 50 career INT's which is ridiculous.

Maybe they make a play for Cary Williams or Cason or even Sean Smith. If they don't go the FA route I wouldn't be shocked to see them trade up for Rhodes.

The younger guys need the reps that may actually be around if and when we become relevant.

Justin,

I like Michael Johnson a lot but he's going to get fracnhised if he doesn't sign a long term deal with Cinci.

I think maybe you guys are missing what I'm saying. I'm not saying sign Abraham to a long term deal and hand him the starting job. Sign him and use him in combination with Vernon. I'd love to see the kid work out and I realzie he's still young. I think we're going to be disappointed in this guy. I don't see. I hope I'm wrong. WNPs, side bet right now. Vernon doesn't come close to 10 sacks next year. I'll let you remind me often that I was wrong.

WNP, agree on Vernon. I also not big on lots of FA pass rushers right now. Now as far as CB goes, I like what is available in FA. Arizona cut William Gay today to add another one to the market. Also, isn't Darrius Butler also available??

Agreed. Not as high on Kruger who is a situational pass rusher & not a complete player.

The most important need on defense is the secondary.

Craig, he's a fellow Canadian too. Just had to throw that in there.

I think maybe you guys are missing what I'm saying. I'm not saying sign Abraham to a long term deal and hand him the starting job. Sign him and use him in combination with Vernon. I'd love to see the kid work out and I realzie he's still young. I think we're going to be disappointed in this guy. I don't see. I hope I'm wrong. WNPs, side bet right now. Vernon doesn't come close to 10 sacks next year. I'll let you remind me often that I was wrong.

Craig,

After one season??? You realize you sound like the people who are saying Tannehill is a bust. Give the kids a chance..

Mark,

Yeah I knew that. University of Guelph I think, no?

Did you know that the WR that was recenlt cut by the Colts is Canadian too? Forget his name now but I think he'd be a good, cheap replacement for Hartline. Born in Hamilton....it'll come to me.

Who??? Austin Collie???

Just read that the salary cap for the 2013 is set at $123 million. Most teams have been operating at around $121 million. This is just more money for the Dolphins to spend. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9000718/sources-nfl-salary-cap-increases-123-million

Austin Collie......I think you're right, WNPs. Thanks.


I'm not saying Vernon is a bust. What I'm saying is that Wake is for the most part our only serious threat to rush the passer. I'm saying it's foolish to rely on Vernon to be the guy. He disappeared for too many long stretches last year. You've got him at 8-10 sacks next year. I'm saying 'show me'.

I see the Colts tagged their punter Pat McAfee today. YG, do you remember calling me out a couple of weeks ago when I said if he were a FA then Fields might worthy of that and you laughed at me and said, 'why would any team frachise their punter'.....like it never happens. Not the first time it's happened. And why franchise him? For cost certainty. So there you go smart guy...McAfee franchised for about $2.98mil next year. Good punter too!

Geez, even at worse case scenario, as far as I'm concerned, we can sign Wallace, tag Long, sign the entire draft class and still have 14 million to use. I really like where we sit right now. BTW, I wouldn't tag Long, either do a contract at a reasonable number or goodbye

I'm not saying Vernon is a bust. What I'm saying is that Wake is for the most part our only serious threat to rush the passer. I'm saying it's foolish to rely on Vernon to be the guy. He disappeared for too many long stretches last year. You've got him at 8-10 sacks next year. I'm saying 'show me'.

Craig,

All I'm saying is that you can't pay everyone. Would Abraham or Kruger or Avril or Spencer make our team better???? Absolutely!!! But the first thing we need is a better CB. And then what if the Niners let Goldson hit FA??? F#ck resigning Clemons if we can get this guy.

I see the secondary as more of a priority right now & unfortunately the better guys in FA don't come cheap.

Two thoughts immediately come to mind as I read this post.
1) Had Ireland found better players in the years past either through FA or the draft they wouldn't be sitting in this position and who's to say that this year's available free agents are better than last year's, the year before, or even next year. Assuming that all the best FAs are available in the same offseason and at the exact positions of need for Miami is unmitigated horse poop.
2) I have ZERO doubt that Fireland is going down in flames with his boneheaded FA signings and draft picks that will disappoint and that a year from now (if not sooner) we'll be bemoaning several of the ones that got away and lamenting what we're stuck with. They'd be optimum position if only they had somebody else calling the shots. Instead this will be FIreland shoveling more dirt on his own grave as Miami GM.

Craig M, a bunch of kickers have been tagged last year.

Ireland, Aponte, et al, absolutely deserve a lot of praise for positioning this team well for the cap situation, no question about it.

What's questionable is his scouting ability and bringing in enough playmakers. I'm saying it ad nauseum here, this is his last chance of getting the right playmakers. And even if he does bring in solid players, he better hope Tannehill improves.

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