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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.


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.)


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.  


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We will probably be the last to commit to anything in FAgency. The Irish Man knows some People are after his asss and he cannot afford any big mistakes.

Jeff Ireland is an asset stripper.

Craig, Walker is a total idiot and one boring writer. Last year he was humping the Bills non stop as the surprise team. How'd that work out.

Parcells is a fraud....he's always been a fraud. He's an opportunist. He's been a good coach but the game past him by a long time ago. He's not missed here in Miami. His heard was never in it in the first place. If he wasn't such a fraud he would be honest and come out and say that.

Jeff Ireland without Parcells is a puppet without his strings = FLOP

Parcells was a smart One.....

Craig M for canadien Moron telling us about what is missed in Miami? Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Parcells was a great coach. Proof is proof. He was a lousy VP of Operations. It's called the Peter Principal.

Craig M is clearly retarded.


Andre Rison and Keyshawn Johnson won Super Bowls? Really? With who?

Craig M | March 01, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Andre Rison - Green Bay Packers - 1997 - Did his BAD MOON DANCE all the way till the Endzone on the games 1st TD.

Keyshawn Johnson - Tampa Bay Bucs - 2003 - Don't know the stats off the top of my head but had a bunch of rec. that day.


He actually talks about that in his column. He doesn't hide from the fact he was dead wrong in picking the Bills. But he picked the Ravens in '08 and the Bengals in '09. He ha been right before. Doesn't mean he's right this time but it was interesting to hear someone with an objective opinion about our team. Doesn't mean you're right and he's wrong or vice versa. It's opinion.

Parcells is in the HOF because when he won two Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as his assistant.

Parcells is not in the HOF for his work as a Personnel Executive. Huizenga was desperate to dress up the Dolphins with a big name so he gave into Parcells running the Miami Dolphins as a personnel executive instead of a coach. What Parcells did in his exective capacity can not be disputed. His personnel recruiting record is what it is.

Parcells was a winner all his life and wherever he went.

"The 80% is the real work of identifying and executing the talent to win."

Posted by: ericatl | March 01, 2013 at 07:08 AM

Actually, as far as last year MOST of our so-called talent SHOULD be executed.

The naivette of Previous Blogs has passed. It is very serious now, almost too much so.


I stand corrected. I actually have a hard time remembering Bad Moon with GB. Clearly remember him with Atlanta, Cleveland and KC. I had forgotten about GB. I had also forgotten abot Keyshawn with TB.

I'm getting old I fear...


your opinion as always is jaded, distorted and ill-ionformed. parcells won what he won. if belicheck was there, it was because parcells knew enough to choose and and keep him. it's called leadership.

shula never won a dang thing without arnsparager. so tell me progenius, how is that different?

lots of stupid people in this country. I mean really stupid people with no analytical ability whatsoever. I'm all for exterminating them and raising the bar on the average gene.

Parcells is a fraud....he's always been a fraud. He's an opportunist. He's been a good coach but the game past him by a long time ago. He's not missed here in Miami. His heard was never in it in the first place. If he wasn't such a fraud he would be honest and come out and say that.

Craig M | March 01, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Parcells was COAXED out of retirement by Jerry Jones after a MESSY Divorce left him BROKE and he then seeing hom he could BANK on his NAME recognition took Huzienga for a sweetheart deal.

(Probably knowing full well that Wayne was looking to sell after lifting the team's selling price up by surrounding it or associating it with a big name like he did in 98 with the World Series mercenary Marlins)

i suppose parcells should have fired belichek and hired an idiot, would that have made parcells smarter? well that is what some of you are indirectly suggesting...pure idiocy.


Pacells leadership as a coach does not make him a good Personnel executive. I spoke to several scouts on Parcells when he was hired. They told me that he was not respected as a personnel guy, that he chose big slow players, was out of touch with today's game and left early before finishing a job...and so it went.

would the great shula have been the great shula without the unheralded arnsparger? nobody can say. we can say shula underachieved without him. maybe arnsparger was the secret genius.

Has Irescum been fired yet?

Yep. We were duped.

the subject is parcells as a coach though. he was a terrible vp of operations, i'll agree. but the vast majority of his career was as hc and he was voted into the HOF on that alone. unlike the phil jacksons and pat rileys of the world, parcells had the guts to jump into the worst team and make them relevant. that is what i admire.

In order to have a successful team, other than having competent coaching; is to draft well and only add free agents that are prudent and necessary.
Ireland, hopefully has learned, that many players start to milk the system after they reach a position of prominence.
Hungry players are the most productive usually, even if they are not the prominent.
Then you have the guys that just want to play, be the best, or hurt the other guy. These are the players with which you should stack your roster. These players will never stop pushing or influencing the upper echelon of talent.

proknow, your focus is only on Parcells as a coach. Stay in context.....Parcells as VP of Operations.

I JUST TOOK A CRAP THE SIZE OF NEW JERSEY! YALSA YALSA YALSA!!!! I FEEL LIKE DANCIN! YeaYah, going to be a great day tomorrow!!!!


I was very excited the morning the news broke that Parcells was coming to Miami. I thought all our problems were behind us. You are correct in what you said above. He DID in fact set this franchise back badly.

Craig M | March 01, 2013 at 11:42 PM

I've often thought back on that day and in hindsight the actual WINNERS were the Falcons who settled on N.E.'s Scout Dir. Thomas Dimitroff (young hungry exec.)

Who were arguably in worst shape with Vick in Jail and Pitrino quitting late into the 07 Season and turned them into a contender regardless of whether they've won the S.B. or not although that now that Parcells shadow is lifted and the Falcons were forced to cut some big names today it will be interesting to see how Ireland measures up when judging what they individually put together from 2011-15. Time will tell?


atlanta was a far better team than the fins in 2008 even with the vick and petrino situation. the fins hit rock bottom, hadn't drafted a player worth keeping in years and were really at ground zero.

Whatever Parcells was, he can never be forgiven for the hiring of Tony Sparano as the Miami Dolphins Head Coach.

fin4life @12:22am,

No question. Dimitroff is one of the best in the biz. He's been very consistent since he went there and has made most of the right moves. The moves he made today were interesting but he's a much smarter guy than me and I'm sure he knows what he's doing. Going to be interesting to see if he can get that team over the hump.

Well I'm done for the night. Take care my friend...

Whatever Parcells was, he can never be forgiven for the hiring of Tony Sparano as the Miami Dolphins Head Coach.

Posted by: oscar canosa | March 02, 2013 at 12:26 AM

one has no choice but to agree with this.

You have been taken thru the steps of Knowledege.

I've often thought back on that day and in hindsight the actual WINNERS were the Falcons who settled on N.E.'s Scout Dir. Thomas Dimitroff (young hungry exec.)
posted by fin4life.
Absolutely, the Atlanta Falcons were the winners due to Parcells deciding he knew Wayne Huizenga and had a place in south Florida. So Parcells turned down Arthur Blank and came south. The rest is like a Miami storm. Everything got messed up.

The only bad thing we can say about Parcells is he stuck us with Jeff Ireland.

Parcells was more than a fraud, he was a saboteur. The intent to disable this franchise for many years, was his and others goal. Putting in Ireland and Spazzano was the poison. We are rid of the Spazz. We will be rid of Ireland after this year, or will we?
I am not so sure that Ireland has not learned some things. With the influence of a competent coach, Ireland may show a propensity to excel.

I wonder if Jeff Ireland reads our posts on the blog?
Personally I like the guy and it seems that he is going to be aggressive in FA. Aggressive is a word seldom used with Miami. Wait and see what he does in the draft, draft is deep in all our areas of our needs. i am not saying he is the right guy for the job but he seems to have the job none the less.

Great post mando.

Agreed. Ireland has fixed the mess. Now he better get it right.

Flacco highest paid qb what a joke.

Jake at 6yr/66mil sounds like a bargin!!


Ross is a Jew!!


Ireland is a Leperchaun!!

how bout M. Irvin. He won 2 actually, just sayin.


Yes, I read your post.

But I Rather Listen to myself think!!

Here is my Miami Dolphins offseason wish list

Our FA's Resign : Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Chris Clemons & Matt Moore (if we can)

FA's to release : Jake Long, Sean Smith, Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano, Nate Garner

Sign FA's : WR - Mike Wallace, RT - Gosder Cherilous, CB - Chris Houston

Draft 1st rnd : DE - Ezekeil Ansah
2nd rnd pk 1 : TE - Zach Ertz
2nd rnd pk 2 : WR - Markus Wheaton
3rd rnd pk 1 : CB - Tyrann Mathieu
3rd rnd pk 2 : OT - Jordan Mills
4th rnd : RB - Marcus Lattimore
5th rnd : FS - Josh Evans
7th rnd pk 1 : OG - Jeff Baca
7th rnd pk 2 : CB - Rod Sweeting

Thats funny as hell. Ireland is a leperchaun. lol!

Someone said earlier that Parcells NEVER had any say in the teams he assembled and that's not entirely true. He didn't have that POWER in N.Y. with the Giants but learned from George Young the man who hired him. When he was hired in 83 to go from DC to H.C. the team had already been built by G.Young.

He drafted a caretaker QB in Simms and a pass rushing X-Factor in LT with a DT who could collapse the middle of the pocket and of course his trade mark solid running games behind powerful OL's (spearheaded by powerful LT's like Jimbo Elliot) with sure handed straight ahead runners (Joe Morris, OJ Anderson) and control O implementing the T.E. (Mark Bavaro).

In N.E. Parcells used the model to a "T" drafting Bledsoe first followed by his X-Factor on D W.McGinnist along with the BIG OL and straight ahead runner in Curtis Martin on to the T.E. with Ben Coats. The 96 Pats he took to the S.B. were very similar in nature to his 80's G-Men and gave the heavily favored Pack a run for their money till Desmond Howard's Kick return.

Later with the Jets he went the route again only this time given F.A. he built a Vet heavy squad using his formula (and some X-Players like Curtis Martin) that gave the 98 Broncos all they could handle at home.

He then later retired for good and the game indeed passed him by.

When the Cowboys resurrected him he inherited an up-n-coming young O Coach in Sean Peyton who he said liked to drink the KOOL-AID with the throwing and I bet Jerry Jones never forgave Parcells for letting him get away. He attempted to build us in this fashion only proving just how behind the curve he had gone and when it failed felt obligated to tell the World he was responsible for Rex being in N.Y. which after I really thought about it only proves how sad the man had become.

This offseason will very interesting. I don,t expect That we will get any player that will cost an exorbitant contract in FA.
If we can not get a top FA for a reasonable rate, we will pay maybe just a little bit extra for a good insurance policy.
I would look for players that are not on Philbin's agenda to be worked out by the smarted means available.

So we've got lotsa money being held by a GM who hasn't got a clue how to turn it into high-quality on-field performers. So freeekin what!

Color me unimpressed.........very much so.

atlanta was a far better team than the fins in 2008 even with the vick and petrino situation. the fins hit rock bottom, hadn't drafted a player worth keeping in years and were really at ground zero.

Whooaaaaaa | March 02, 2013 at 12:26 AM

You have a right to your opinion but the Falcons in 07 won 3 games by pure chance! The Q.B.'s were Leftwich and Harrington the OL was a worse mess than ours and the RB was Jarius Norwood.

On D they had Abraham and Robinson (both cut today) but nobody else really so to say they were better is a matter of opinion.


Starks - yes
Hartline - No

Jake-#1 Priority
The Other Clowns shouldn't have even been mentioned.

On free agency wait til march 9. When Dashi can publicly talk to other people.

Wallace will only be signed at the right price.

But the fins will go for the best value at wr. Maybe sign 2 free agent wr's. the #2 and #3 fa wr for the price of wallace.

We will address the need in the draft.

DE and TE aren't the biggest need For Early rd picks.

We Need Wrs!!

We Need DBs!!

Abraham could possibly help us. The more positions we can cushion before the draft with quality vets, empowers us with more options in the draft.

Seriously? Ireland buys the guys that philbin coach's and hope fully they have the same agenda which is to acquire the right players.



Still better than any draft pick. And to me better than freeny at this point.

Black women have superior genitalia. It's unreal. They can handle some serious rambo pounding and stay super lubed the whole time! Their p-lips are made of super slide plutonium that engulfs you deeper in. This one I had is a real cutie, finer than the cold white beeches I've been dating. I was self conscious being seen with her at first...but what the hey, its too much fun to let go of!

Fa rb


Beats the hole like ike. And will cost half of what reggie would cost. Even though my #1 fa rb is s.jackson. one of the best powerbacks in football.

Give it up fake Dash. You are not enough of an annoying, immature, idiot to be convincing.

Dashi, Fury,

We could use both Abraham and CB Dunta R. but these 2 will either command big pay days or look to go to contender that plays for a Title. I could see Abraham in particular going to a 3/4 scheme team like S.F. as a pass rushing OLB'er and Robinson will have a host of suitors with N.E. tops among them were maybe a good fit would be the Broncos cutting the 10 Mil. they owe Champ Bailey and giving him a deal in the 6 range for example.

Everybody is clueless regarding FAgency. Sign that Ireland is playing it well. We have to wait, I guess.


Great post. Good insight on parcells philosophy.problem is people still pretent the phins are running the same Scheme.

We don't even run a true wco.

In the next 12 days ireland should give us a glimpse into what kind of offense we will run.

Something with 4 wrs.

What kind of oline?

The TE?

The Starter At RB?

It's pretend, YG, pretend.

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