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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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"BTW, I wouldn't tag Long, either do a contract at a reasonable number or goodbye"

Bobby,

Nothing about Long's contract is going to be reasonable. Will Beatty just signed a 5 yr/$38.8 Mil deal with the Giants. $19 Mil Guaranteed.

Posted by Florio at PFT just a few minutes ago, regarding Greg Jennings -

The Packers reportedly are considering using the franchise tag on receiver Greg Jennings. That could be the only way they’ll keep him.

The scuttlebutt in league circles is that Jennings is looking for a deal in free agency that pays as much as $12 million per year.

Fins don't need Wallace. They need a red-zone threat, and a receiver who won't just fall down after catching a pass.

"According to Profootballtalk.com, the "scuttlebutt in league circles" is that Greg Jennings is looking for as much as $12 million per year in free agency.
That's down from Jennings' previously rumored desire for an annual $14 million, but still way above the $7-$9 million an AFC executive estimated he'll get to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. If Jennings is truly intent on breaking the $10 million barrier, he could spend a lot of time on the open market."

Oh man....I think Jennings may be smoking his Old Spice products. Not happening @ 30 years old.

You can count on cheap Ross to spend as little as he is required on players and to pocket the remainder rather then improve the team. NO HANDOUTS FOR BILLIONARES!

"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."

48 & Go,

Amen brother.

A WR isnt going to improve the team. If the Dolphins want to step up they need an elite QB.

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.

Posted by: 48-Go | March 01, 2013 at 02:25 PM

I think this is the most accurate appraisal of our situation I've heard on here.

Geno Smith could be the guy. Or work a trade for Big Ben or Drew Brees.

WNPs,

I'm all for adding CBs in FA. Really like Rhodes in a tradeup from the second. Doesn't have to be expensive.

Phinmanski, Harmel and Monte are the same person???

Great blog post Armando!

What I comprehend this is that even though we have 47 million in cap space. It would be wise to keep 10-15 million in our coffer. Which means it would be wise to only spend 32-37 million of this amoung this year.

Per Armando, spending up to the entire amount leads to future cap pergutory.

"The Packers reportedly are considering using the franchise tag on receiver Greg Jennings. That could be the only way they’ll keep him."

The Signal,

I don't see it happening. Even if they cut Finley. Obviously I could be wrong but they still have James Jones, Randall Cobb, & Jordy Nelson so even w/o Jennings their WR's are still pretty damn good.

YG,

Good Point! You have to keep some for contract extensions to keep good players from hitting the free agency market.

Posted by: Just Maybe | March 01, 2013 at 02:37 PM

LOL

Yes, great job Jeff Ireland. Now part 2:

Will you do a great job with the this great salary position. All bets are off if this great position is met with mediocre results.

Posted by: We Need Playmakers | March 01, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Absolutely! Gotta keep the horse before the cart. Only way to successfully do this is to keep the kitty saturated. LOL...

"I'm all for adding CBs in FA. Really like Rhodes in a tradeup from the second. Doesn't have to be expensive."

Craig,

I wouldn't be shocked if we took Rhodes at 12 at this point. He'll be in the conversation but if we take him I hope it's not out of need & it's b/c he's our highest rated player left on the board. I also see Lane Johnson & Cooper as possibilities.

Although I'm a Hopkins guy--my wildcard is Keenan Allen if he has an impressive pro-day.

Good Point! You have to keep some for contract extensions to keep good players from hitting the free agency market.

Woodshed,

Reshad Jones is a no-brainer but I wouldn't be shocked if we re-up on Misi too. Here comes the haters....

Woodshed,

My 2:45 pm post was actually meant for you, not that child brat behemoth WNP. I copy and pasted the wrong post.

My 2:45 pm post was actually meant for you, not that child brat behemoth WNP. I copy and pasted the wrong post.

YG,

Let it go already...

Woodshed,

The player who's the greatest benificiary of our current cap situation is hands down:

Wait for it....wait for it.... wait for it......

KARLOS DANSBY..........................................

Still, short of a 2013 pro bowl season, Dansby will definitely be released. Just cant justfy carrying him and his HUGE payroll liabilty after yet another pro bowless year.

So in 2013, no pro bowl, no more Dansby.

I still dont know how safe Dansby maybe after the all the smoke has cleared and all the dusty has settled even this offseason.

Posted by: We Need Playmakers | March 01, 2013 at 02:51 PM

If youre willing to let it go, Im also more than willing to do the same.

Im only the type of guy that when you fire over my bow, Im more than willing to do the same. Its never personal. Just handling my business.

Craig M and Odin, same person?

"If youre willing to let it go, Im also more than willing to do the same.

Im only the type of guy that when you fire over my bow, Im more than willing to do the same. Its never personal. Just handling my business."

YG,

I'm not firing over your bow or anyone elses for that matter. I'm just a tortured Dolphins' fan that wants to see us win already.

Craig, calling YG out for running his mouth on ignorance and not knowing what he's talking about is like calling the moon out for being visible at night. It happens so much that it doesn't need to be brought out. Heck, everyday I host a segment on this blog called "Stupid Shite YG says ..." he may not show up today since it's the first of the month and his pockets are flush with free govt money that he rapes the Florida taxpayers for. Stay tuned ... maybe Monday.

Craig, if you want Rhodes, it may be at #12. After that combine performance, he solidified himself as top 15. So did your buddy Eifert. May have to choose between the two. Then there's the LT situation if we don't re-sign Long or add someone credible in free agency ...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 01, 2013 at 03:05 PM

Prison library's open for business. However, I wont let you bait me in to turning the blog into the cess pool you seem to so enjoy.

"Just Saying No" to Child Predator Alligator(CPA) Mark is my focused theme for today. LOL...

Its all about football talk for me today guys. Sorry to disappoint my pet gorillas.

Feel free to talk football without placing on the turd floatation jackets.

As I see it there are a few key questions are FO has to honestly ask themselves:

1) Can Martin develop the strength and balance to be a good LT? If not, we should consider trading up to grab one of these top 3 guys. Forget Long, he wants big $$$ and he is routinely finishing on IR. We have seen this with Grove and Smiley and while I truly appreciate what Long did for us while healthy, I can't see him returning to old form.

2) Did any of our CB's show enough to be considered a starter next year? If yes, we need only draft someone for the other spot in the 1st 2 rds. If No, we need 1 FA and another guy or 2 in rds 1-3.

3) Finally, is Hartline what Sherman wants as his #2 or #3 WR? We all know he isn't a number 1 but I think he could excel as a 2 or a 3 guy. What our #1 is will tell whether Hartline is better suited to be a 2 or 3. If we have a big, physical #1( Marshall type) Hartline isn't quite fast enough to be a #2 IMO. However, if our #1 is a speedier type WR (like Reggie Wayne in his prime), Hartline will get more production as a 2.
This question will answer whether we pay Hartline his asking price to have him back or not IMO. Also when and where we take a WR in this draft.

I can't wait to see how this plays out, As FA unfolds we should see this get cleared up.

Nice segment on John Jolly espn's airing right now. Jolly's due to be reinstated by the league Monday.

Will Philbin look to give a shot?


Jolly was restricted tendered for 2 million by the Pack before exiting the league. So legally he is still their property, but a team can still match the offer, and the Pack have rights of first refusal.

Jolly is 30yrs old right now, and since he is under a restricted label, the Pack would have to be compensated if he signs with another team. I dont have any info on what that compensation would be as of now.

YG = LOL= HOME I guarantee they all the same. Been here long enough to know.

Should we praise Ireland for tieing his shoelaces, too?

Mark,

Really like Rhodes, as I said but man I think we'd really be reaching at 12. I guess I just don't value CBs the way a lot of you guys too. It's why i have a huge problem giving guys like Smith $8-10 mil a year. If I was running a team I'd probably have the worst CBs in the league but you can be dame sure the opposing QB would be running for his life all day. I just think the way the NFL is set up now that CBs are at such a disadvantage that there's very few guys who can defend back there. Love Revis but $17 million STARTING????.....not in a million years. No, Sir.

So love Rhodes but I'd probably prefer Patterson to be honest. I think we could get a good CB in FA or the draft if need be.

Time for the Herald to do here what they do with the rest of the paper. FaceBook to sign in and comment. We will see who has the balls to come on here.

YG also = ALoco

Posted by: bobbyd12 | March 01, 2013 at 03:30 PM

Well, 1 or 2 things:

1. Youre hijacking bobbyd12's screen name

2. Youre not as informed as you think thaty you are.

As I stated earlier, sorry to disappoint my pet gorillas, but I will not partipate in turning this blog into a cess p[ool "today". Maybe tomorrow. LOL...

YG,

I don't see where Jolly fits on this team. Who would you let go to make room for him? Just think he's too much a risk and not the kind of guy Philbin wants to be around. I don't see this happening.

Craig, oh I agree. There are probably just as good players as Rhodes available in the 2nd round. jamar Taylor, BSU, Dwayne Gratz, UConn, and Robert Alford, SELU come to mind.

WNP is right regarding Johnathan Cooper, OG, NC as well. he's a freak of an athlete. To tell you waht kind fo draft this is, we may well see two guards drafted in the top 15 picks.

And then as much as I hate to say it, Tyler Eifert is definitely in play at 12 only because the rest of the crew at TE sucks so much this year. The only hope is that Travis Kelce recovers from his injury for his pro day and kills it. At the combine, he just ran the 40 and came in at a very good 4.68 but did notmuch else. Interesting to see late round prospect Chris Gragg run a 4.5 at 244lbs. But he looks like one of these guys that tested well but did nothing while he played. I guess worth a late look in the draft but not to be counted on.

YG is an internet sociopath, no doubt .. a lot of people see it. he's nutty...

Espn adressing the potential Te'o "gay issue".

My primary thing is that cross genderism exists in every work place in the world.

Why should "professional sports locker rooms be immuned."

Im sure if every sports franchise in existence is placed under microscope. We would find many who are cross gendered in fo's and in all diversities of work staff.

So why should a professional locker room be te only work place that has total immunity from accepting those who are cross gendered?

I don't see why we would need to persue Jolly. Especially since there would need to be compensation. I figure neither Ireland or Philbin, give 2shites about Jolly.

The assumption that Ireland saved cap space is totally wrong. The team is void of players that can play at all of the positions that are leaving. So Ireland must sign at least 25 million dollars worth of players. That is just to field a team of 53 of 7 win players. Leaving a cap space of about 15 million. Not bad. Still a lot of rookies to sign. Which would leave about 8-10 million. So one more big named player.
Big deal with the holes to fill.

Hope we have a great draft.

Posted by: Craig M | March 01, 2013 at 03:38 PM

Everything's a possibility. I dont think that Ireland or Philbin is seeking any of our approvals on any team moves made.

Jolly's to be reinstated Monday. So the former Pack connection with Philbin makes it a totally legit item to throw out there, whether it happens or not.

Last I checked, Ireland's never sought fan approval about any moves he's yet made. That's one of things that makes this Jolly scenario at least "intriguing".

WTF is cross gendered?? Did you just say that?

...Do you guys think it was Ireland that asked those questions to the Colorado TE? If it was. Would that be grounds for termination? It would certainly be a pattern of poor taste, and embarassment to the team.


Again, I have no proof even 1 iota of evidence it was Ireland. I'm just saying what happens if it comes out it was?

Anyone got any interest in Bjoern Werner at 12 still? I know Mayock (whatever his opinoin is worth) was down on him and he had an average combine. I think he could be the good passrusher besides Wake. Vernon could still rotate in, can't have too many good passrushers.

The other part of me says Miami has too many other needs. Thoughts?

Im not sayiong Ireland or Philbin wants Jolly. Just saying the former GB connection makes it worthwhile to consider that its not 100% that it could not happen.

Ireland has made manyu moves that have left us as dolfans going:

"WTF?"

Has Philbin brought over any former GBPs up to this point?

NeMo, Werner is one of the DTs that should be in consideration. Personally, if this kid Enzikiel is there, I would seriously think of taking him. Lot depends on FA, but I really hope that Vaccaro is in the mix at 12. Him and Reshad would make a great safety pair.

It seems to me that the reason the Dolphins have so much cap space is mostly because they have so many unsigned starters.

I will attempt to list the unsigned and their conservative annual value of a comparable replacement:

Jake Long = $8 Mil.
Randy Starks = $7 Mil.
Sean Smith = $6 Mil.
Brian Hartline = $4 Mil.
Chris Clemmons = $3 Mil.
Reggie Bush = $4 Mil.
Anthony Fasano = $3 Mil.

Total = $35 Mil.

All of the above certainly consider themselves to be worth much more. I am just listing a conservative Fair Market Value of a comparable replacement. Of course if you replace all of the above w/ the dollars above, then you still have 7 and 9 team w/ absolutely no firepower.

Granted, if the players could be signed for the dollars above (which will never happen and Ireland would be lucky to get the same level of talent for the dollars above), then the Dolphins would still be $8 Mil. or so below the Cap. which is better than some of Mando's miserable excuses for programs. However, it is not exactly a bonanza to go shopping with.

Also, I'm sure you could make a case that Bush could be left off the list of a player / position which will need to be replaced. However, Jethro will never get comparable players for the meager $$ listed above.

What am I missing here on the Ireland party train?

...YG. I would bet that 90 percent of Pro locker rooms have a homosexual among the group. They just, don't know it, or those that do, do not care.

This idea that front office guys are asking these provocotive questions to illicet a response is total B.S. They want to know if the player is a homosexual. No other reason. Honestly. I could personaly care less what Te'os preferance is. But I'm sure there are some teams out there that would hesitate, even drop him from thier boards if he was.

Really Mando? Really? What's the cap AFTER you sign vets? Figure in some of those would be backups or cut on forementioned top tier teams.

Don't urinate on my flip flops and tell me it's raining

Posted by: DarrylDunphy | March 01, 2013 at 03:49 PM

It does in the least makes it intriguing. We happen to be in the market for a TE, and that player is a TE.

Ireland had the Dez scenario, and this situation is comparable. However, after having to make the Dez appology, I really dont think Ireland would want to have this kind of negativity on his plate so soon.

But brilliant deduction, Watson! No pun intended. LOL...

Mark,

A lot of really good points @3:40pm. i'd echo most of it. About the whole point we'd differ is Eiffert at 12. I think we could do better. I'm sure you would agree. I'd be fine with him about 20 in a trade back and with an extra pick but as much as I like the guy that's not who I want at 12.

Werner doesnt have the athleticisim to be a great DE in the NFL. He'll be like Odrick a great run stopper but wont produce many QB pressues

Darryl,

My first thought when I heard the story was that it may have been Ireland. From all accounts I don't believe it was just one team. And no I don't believe it's grounds for dismissal. I know the NFL frowns about this kind of questioning but I'd rather have a GM who digs deep on this stuff that doesn't ask the right questions. I actually think it's kind of an important question.

Yeah Ireland is a football genius. Spends 10 million on Marshall and trades 2 x seconds for 2 thirds and 2 very disappointing seasons. Good one. He knew what Henne was and yet took another chance on him. Do you think he should have drafted a real qb that year?

Cap space credit? The team is empty of players. If he were really smart he would be trying to space contracts of players coming into the organizations so he doesn't have a great big mess to clean up in one year.

Ireland, the legend in his own mind.

Never take advice or take seriously, a man that wears flip flops. Bad news.

Posted by: DarrylDunphy | March 01, 2013 at 03:54 PM

I believe why gay players dont want to come out of the closet(openly admit), so to speak, is because of their own greed.

Yes, all athletes are pretty much well-paid. However, the greatest amount of money maybe in the "ADVERTISEMENT" dollars.

IMO, the primary question may be, "Is the advertising community ready to have openly gay athletes endorse their products?

Especially when pro sports seem to have that supposedly, "MACHO_MACHO" veiwing audience. We're not talking the Ellen Degeneris veiwing audience here.

So a pro athlete openly admiting he or she is gay could force themselves to take a huge hit in potential advertising millions.

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