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Dolphins rolling in salary cap space for '14

The Dolphins were expecting to have a large bank roll to sign any of their 21 unsigned players (15 unrestricted free agents) players before Thursday dawned. And then several media outlets, led by ESPN, reported the projected salary cap for 2014 is going to be larger than expected.

The figure now commonly believed to be available to clubs when the league year opens March 11?

A tidy $129-$130 million.

And that means barring re-signing some of their own free agents before then, the Dolphins will have approximately $36 million in cap space. That includes over $18 million in carryover from 2013. And that figure ranks the Dolphins in the top 5 among teams with the most cap space.

The Dolphins will lead the AFC East in cap space but Buffalo (approximately $22 million) and the New York Jets (approximately $23.7 million) will also have plenty of cap space. The Jets could actually add another $16 million in space if they cut quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes.

But the Dolphins can create space of their own with roster moves and might do just that.

The Dolphins can gain an extra $5.4 million of cap space by cutting cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Why, you may ask, would the Dolphins dump a solid cornerback when healthy? Well, because durability is a big deal in the NFL. It is a critical factor in judging players. You can't contribute if you can't play.

And of the 18 possible games Patterson could have played with the Dolphins since being acquired in late December 2012, he has started and finished only four of those games.

So new GM Dennis Hickey and Co. will have a decision to make on Patterson.

All this seems like good news for the Dolphins. Because they don't have a big mortgage on the quarterback spot (like New England, New Orleans, Baltimore and other teams with QBs with big contracts) the Dolphins have tons of maneuverability.

Obviously, they probably should not employ all that maneuverability because if things go as hoped by the organization, Ryan Tannehill will eventually want to join that club of high-priced QBs and, poof, there goes the cap space. So saving up for that possibility might be wise given that teams can carry over space.

But with the new TV contract on the horizon and the bump expected this year from a Thursday night TV deal, Miami suddenly has more room than expected.

And that leads us to this ...

Suddenly the franchise tag for cornerback Brent Grimes is more palatable if the team cannot get him signed to a smart two- or three-year deal that pays him but also insulates the team from him dropping off the performance table based on the fact he's going to be 31 years old at the start of the 2014 season. Most clubs don't want to commit to cornerbacks through their 34th or 35th birthdays.

(It should be noted there may be younger cornerbacks on the market, too.)

Suddenly, re-signing Nolan Carroll, who is a solid third cornerback and good spot starter, to a deal is not out of the question.

Suddenly the radical idea of keeping both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks isn't complete folly. No, it probably won't happen. Both players are shopping their services at the Combine through their representation. Both will have offers whenever free agency begins.

And suddenly the idea of adding an offensive tackle through free agency isn't out of the question. If I were the general manager, I'd weigh chasing an elite and young left tackle -- perhaps Eugene Monroe -- and then handle the rest of my offensive line business in the draft. I would not chase free agent guards until the secondary market because the guard free agent class is ... is ... not stocked. Richie Incognito is among the better ones available so there's that.

Also, please remember, this is a great year for tackles in the draft. There will be starters taken in the third round, that's how good it could be. So no more than one tackle in free agency, please. No high-priced guard in free agency, please.

And if you're going to chase a tackle, chase the combination of the best and youngest -- Monroe, who will be 27 in April.

(Peanut Gallery: But Mando, what about Branden Albert? He was good last year. He's really good. Plus, we've heard of him because of last year's flirtation with trading for him.)

He's 29 years old now and will be 30 in November. He had a fine year but how much of that was contract year excellence? And you remember the issues with the back and so forth, right? So he would not be my top choice. He wouldn't even be my second choice. I think I'd like Anthony Collins of Cincinnati more than Albert.

By the way, it's not possible to know if these players will even be available. Their own clubs can still re-sign them.

I should note here that the Chiefs have the least amount of cap space to re-sign their left tackle of the others we've discussed -- Baltimore and Cincinnati. So maybe Albert will be the only tackle on the market because KC drafted a tackle No. 1 last year.

I suppose there's a chance the Dolphins might throw everyone a curveball and opt to draft their left tackle and sign a free agent right tackle instead. The name you'll hear continually is Michael Oher.

Buyer beware. He hasn't lived up to his "Blindside" reputation the past two years. So one must not overpay based simply on name recognition.

Did I tell you I really like the tackles in the draft?

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Fade, o brief Cretan Scene
Of Fate bred near Science
Eno defecate: finer crab
A bin of accented reefers

OL IS A HUGE PRIORITY. ID STILL LOVE TO SEE A POWER RB PICKED UP SOME WAY,SOME HOW. I HAVE NO IDEA WHO IS A FREE AGENT, BUT EVEN A 2nd round pick might not be out of the question. Id love to see what an elite RB could do for Tannehill.

We got to get off this Draft crap. We need help on the offensive line this year. That means Free Agency. For people who love the draft. For every one guy who is drafted and starts. I will give you 5 guys who are drafted and don't even make the team. The draft is like the lottery very hard to find a starter the first year.

3RD RD Tackles that will be immediate starters. That far down you're lucky if even one starts from the whole 3rd rd lot.

Did we mention Armando Salguero's no professional talent evaluator? Neither am I. So, I'm not telling anyone there are starter grade Tackles in the 3rd rd.

Hell, I'll be a happy camper if we can get even 2 more of our oline positions settled(3/5ths). Use a 2nd rd pick and fa again in 2015, oline's set.

Harlan Sanders is a bit of a sleeper pick. Kentucky isn't on people's radars but when he was motivated he fried the guys going against him. Maybe a good 3rd or 4th round option at tackle?

Sam I Am, I hope that you are clean and sanitary.

Monroe will be franchised. Collins is an option. But if Albert is the best LT available in FA they have to take him. They have way too many needs not to sign the best OT available.

According to Dennis Hickey, an updated calculation using the MILK2006 equation (UW-Madison Dairy Science Department) was used to estimates MK/T (milk per ton) and MK/A (milk per acre). MILK2006 estimates the dry matter intake using the NDF and CWD (cell wall digestibility) parameters of the sample. The updated equation utilizes CP, fat, and sugar as well as the organic acid fractions along with their total-tract digestibility coefficients to estimate energy. Whole plant dry matter was calculated to 34% for all hybrids and digestibility coefficients used for the fat and sugars as well as the organic acid fractions were held constant. MILK2006 also assumes the weight of the cow is 1,350 lbs. and that it consumes a 30 percent NDF diet. Using National Research Council (NRC, 2001) energy requirements, the estimated intake of energy from corn silage is converted to milk per ton. Milk per acre is then calculated using the estimated values for milk per ton and dry matter yield per acre. For more information on the utility of MILK2006 please see: http://www.uwex.edu/ces/crops/uwforage/dec_soft.htm

When you have 2 retarts in charge of the drafting process, why bother spending any time debating who we should pick and etc... these idiots will pick losers anyway. So....

Why bother wasting your time posting Madea. This the kind of stuff we want from Mando - not National Enquirer. Good post Mando. Hit us with our RB situation tomorrow.

Why Armando no Combine?

What good is cap space when Ross is too cheap to use it. He pockets it, instead.

Weird Joe is a very strange man.

Whoth is this Leon Sandcastle. He just blew a 4.2 today.

Good write up, Mando.

Although Monroe is the smartest move, I do not believe Baltimore will let him test the Dolphin infested waters, circling for the best catch in the sea.

Unless we think of another young LT with great upside, Albert might be the best bet. We cannot miss again on the blindside. I would rather overpay there to get virtually guaranteed protection.

I would also double down on a proven guard in free agency. We can compensate for the spending by saving money on the second guard and RT in the draft.

I disagree Mando. This team needs to sign a quality LT (Monroe or Albert) AND a solid Guard in Free Agency. That way we can draft Zack Martin in the 1st round followed by Gabe Jackson in the 2nd. Oline done.

I'd be very hesitant to draft a Tackle in the 3rd round and expect him to be a day one starter. Way too much risk imo.

Jordan Gross is a spry 34 year old. some age well in this league. I would offer him more than what someone else is and get him for cheap.

Draft Martin and another T who has played LT to play RT behind Zach Strief.

OL probs on way to being solved.

Offer Eugene the big money though.

What do we do about a QB.?

Armando,

The Dolphins, Bills and Jets are all very close as teams. The correct decisions in FA and the draft should separate them. An example of how things can go bad even with cap room was what Ireland did to not go after better offensive linemen and to go after a position that was not a dire need, DE. The disconnect between Philbin and Ireland grew from that move. Getting an OG who can get out in front of the screen pass would have been a better choice. Tannehill should and will be given a chance to win back his starting job. However if he still can't hit an open Mike Wallace flying down the sideline in preseason why pay him big bucks or anything at all.

The good news: Miami will have some money to spend.

The bad news: The jokers in charge of spending it.

I hate the idea of rookie OT's. Hate it.

I recently read that Bryant McKinney wants to re-sign with the Dolphins,and is working hard to lose weight and get in top shape. He may not be a bad signing to mentor a rookie left tackle,as long as it is on the cheap.

thank god we are finally moving to real football topics!

I am actually VERY interested in this offseason. Many Needs. Many free agency choices. supposedly deepest draft class in a decade. New GM. An 8-8 team that should have been in the playoffs last year suggesting a solid core to start from. A few young development players on defense that. Need to turn the corner to starting positions next season (ie. Jordan and two rookie CB's). A new OC who will have a different slant on talent needs.

I can see reason to be optimistic about this offseason.

Finally, a football post that is informative and interesting. Hope we wont see anymore "Philbin wont give me an interview" or "No one talks to me at Dolphins camp" Thanks for this excellent attempt at doing your job Armando.

I would love to see Darrius Byrd form the Bills on this team. He's far better than Reshard Jones. Plus Ryan Tripenhill will never get the big bucks. He is a solid back-up and that's it. Isn't Vick available? If only to compete with Ryan, that would be a solid move. But nothing will have any success until the O-line gets fixed!

Like the idea of getting a decent LT in FA and a RT in the draft. I liked how 2nd rounder Todd Wade improved the line play years ago as a rookie for the Dolphins. The left side just carries too much responsibility and sophistication for most rookies to handle.

It appears the team has little wealth in terms of backups coming forward to become starters. It may be wise to keep Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinney, just in case things don't work out.

Inasmuch as the Dolphins hired John Benton for the OL and Bill Lazor as OC- both coming from teams where the running game was paramount- it looks like the reliance on the passing game might be dialed back a notch or two. This might cause some surprise for personnel recruited in FA and the draft. Good news is that D Hickey favors strong fronts.

Needs in my mind:

- 2 starting OTs - if McKinnie signs on cheap fine but GM needs to find 2 starters
- keep Grimes. I am fine using rounds 1 or 2 greeting one and Free Agency for the other.
- keep at least one of Solai or Starks - would like to keep them both if possible
- new LB - if not 2 - I like using rounds 3-5 to get this filled
- at leat one new starting Guard - I think Brennar or Gardner or Dallas could bubble up to fill one starting spot. Maybe rounds 3-5 or second tier Free Agent.
- New RB who can actually run, block and pick up the tough two yards when needed - I like Ida of veteran to help youngsters develop - Maybe Moreno or Drew
- new TE - can Keller give it a go? Will new OC get more from Sims and Egnew? Rounds 4-5 here if needed.

Admitted homer Jimmy Cefalo said we needed a new QB, 2 new RB's, and 4 new OL.

Posted by: jpao | February 21, 2014 at 07:39 AM

Same here, JPAO. Without the dread of Jeff Ireland acquisitions, I'm looking forward to seeing how/if things come together. Coaching changes look positive; now on to players.

F'ING FINALLY!!!

(CLAP!! CLAP!!!)

A REAL POST ABOUT FOOTBALL.

Moreno is an average RB.

An underachiever.

Ben Tate is a better Free Agent RB.

And Hickey likes what he sees in L.Miller. Lazor likes what he sees in L.Miller. Philbin loves what he sees in L.Miller. The only one who did not like L.Miller was M.Sherman.

Lamar Miller AVERAGED 11 CARRIES A GAME!! THE LOWEST AVERAGE BY ANY STARTER IN THE NFL!!

IF L.MILLER AVERAGED A NORMAL WORKLOAD (15 CARRIES A GAME), L.MILLER WOULD'VE HAD OVER 1200 YDS RUSHING. EVEN BEHIND THE WORST O-LINE IN DOLPHINS HISTORY.

L.MILLER is the starting RB. Like R.Tannehill is the starting QB.

Get use to it. Cause they are going to back there together for a while.

Peanut Gallery @7:41

Agreed... it is nice to see Mando write a football article, without ragging on Philbin

Cefalo may be onto something there....I actually agree with his assessment.

Did anyone stop and think for a second that maybe Mike Sherman was really in charge over the last two years...and maybe it was Sherman who convinced Ireland to draft Tannehill? Did Philbin really want Tannehill, or did his mentor and longtime friend, convince him that Tannehill had the goods?

I'm continue to believe Mike Sherman was the powerbroker behind the scenes and Philbin was just following orders.

....kinda like Dick Cheney & George Bush...think about it.

I hear dominik is going joining us soon...yeah, now we are in our way...the double d team, Dickie and dominik.....they are just fresh of a strong 28-52 record and a fabulous 2-14 season in Tampa.

Can't wait to see work their magic for the dolphins...why Tampa fired dominik and did not even interview dickey is beyond me....but who cares, we got lucky.....take that Ireland, now we will show you what good GM sloop like

This reminds me of when we finished ranked 31 th in offense and in need to improve we got davoll, who masterfully guided the browns to rank 32nd that same year....all right..you go men, you really got your cheat together...wonderful moves

Este mierdero se va a poner mas apestoso aun cuando este par de muertos empienzen a work their magic

Unbelivable!!!!!!!!

I see the Fins having about $46M in Cap going into free agency.

Patterson and M.Moore will be cut. Adding an extra $10M to the cap space. Or basically what it will take to franchise Grimes.

The best course for the Fins is to franchise Grimes and let him walk next year.

But signing him to a 3yr/$25M contract doesn't seem like a bad deal. That way Grimes is coming off the Books when J.Taylor and W.Davis will be looking to get paid.

thanks for the breakdown, Mando. hopefully Hickey knows what he's doing.

CHEAP FISH,Ross may be a lot of things,but I would not call him cheap,clueless maybe but not cheap. He signed on 200mil in FA contracts last year and you say he is cheap?

Dashi, I don't think Philbin will let Moore walk, he likes that safety valve in case Tannehill goes down.

Dickey and failbin are probably the weakest combo of gm-hc in the league

Dolphins won when tanne played well, the games tanne did not have it, failbin had no answers....anyone remembers any game plan, adjustments failbin made when the going got tough....he did not want to fire Sherman, because it was sherman the one with the game plan, failbin is going to be even worse this year....keep in mind he was the oc in gb, but he did not call plays, so he has no experience when the actual battle begins...this is not looking good at all

I mean he lost twice to a 3rd string qb, lost to a winless team after its bye weak and was humiliated at home by a team which was clearly inferior on the last game of the season with the playoff spot in play. Oh yes, let's not forget he can not conduct his own interviews, he needs that aponte girl to write cue cards for him....too bad that was not in fashion when Lombardi, Shula and Landry were coaches, I am sure they would have loved the idea of a capologist telling them what to say to the public.

Sorry but I do not see his greatness at all and in top of that during his watch, we get the biggest locker room scandal in the history of the league and his response was....duh I did not see anything, I did not know what was going on

Oh well, at least I hear he is great coordinating and scheduling the team meetings...oh and picking up the trash during practices, so we can all have a clean and healthy workplace

Really Ross, really?....


I don't understand this article. It mentions Richie Incognito but not in a negative manner. Could it be that Armando is moving on from the "scandal"?

I have to stress whether its through FA or draft we need to get leaders on this team! Itd be nice to sign some plauers who wore the 'C' on their jersey since this team is leaderless!

Who are the leaders on this team right now?? I honestly cant name one viable candidate who will motivate their fello teammates to put forth maxium effort when it was a must win?? Why do you think we collapse at the end of the season?

We need leaders, leaders and more leaders on this team.

I have a question for you guys. I want to play devils advocate on NOT re-signing Brent Grimes. Brent is a little older and wants about 8 million a year. I have absolutely no problem paying that, but this kid Alterraun Vernerfrom Tennessee is looking for the same amount of money and is only 25. Would you rather sign him or keep Grimes? I think age becomes the issue

A football post instead of the daily "I hate Joe Philbin" post... Awesome

Yeah, Monroe would be a nice signing but I hear Baltimore really likes him, and Cincy is also in that top 5 cap space teams so Albert may be our best chance on the market. We should be greatful for having him. he can give us 3 very good years - which is all what these five year deals amount to. The guaranteed money is usually gone by then and we can get rid of the contract without penalty.

I would disagree on the gaurds and interior lineman - especially if Alex Mack hits the market. There are also about 6 guards that are upgrades to Richie available so signing one to a moderate contract wouldn't be the worst thing.

But an Albert - Oher signing or Albert - Saffold or Albert - Mack and then addiing a third lineman somewhere at the top of the draft - yeah that's the ticket.

Rdubs, ill say Grimes he way by far the better CB. I think ranked #2 in PFF. Hes a stud bu i wouldnt give him a contract for more thsn 3 years. He prob wants at least 4.

3 year 24 mill 12 gueanteed.

Dashi, signing Grimes to a 4 year $32M deal would be the same as signing him to a 3 year $24m deal. Those 4th years are never guaranteed and in substance become a team option. Sign him to that - don't use the franchise tag - it frees up about $4M in cap space not to use it. Just like they should've either signed Starks long term last year to signed him long term. I hate the tag. The players hate the tag. It shews up cap space unnecessarily.

It should only be reserved for garbage teams that can't keep their players like the Bills who i hear are going to tag Byrd- AGAIN.

Rdubs, I like Grimes since he's a competitor and wants to be here so I give him preference. You need continuity in your players. I don't care so much about his age because he's a phenom type talent. Guy has go-go gadget legs.

However, if you need fallbacks, the CB market is rich in players. To give you an idea Nolan Carrol is projected to be the 23rd or so best Cb to hit the market. Of course, Grimes is #1. In ther words, the market is flooded.

Ok so we keep Grimes. Now with the same type of formula, do you keep 30+ DT's in Soliai and Starks or do you look at some younger DT's like BJ Raji who was ranked as one of the worst DT's against the run in a 3-4, I think he could play well in a 4-3 another option is Linval Joseph, another young buck who has good size.

rdubs, now this is an interesting situation. As far as Starks goes, you tell him to fawk off. He acted like a dikk all year despite making over $30M in his career as a Dolphin and making what, one pro bowl? Soliai has been a pro so you do him up in a three year deal (which is really two). Now with Joseph and Raji (who I agree would be a crazy force in a 4-3 due to his pass rushing ability inside) paired with Soliai - yeah, good luck running here.... That's 700 pounds you got to move.

Where can we start the 'Pay Brent Grimes!' campaign?

The reason I would like for a certain someone to talk football with our new GM, is to get a gauge on the guy.

We all know Ireland wouldn't sign a Free Agent over 30. We don't know that about Hickey.

The best move for the Dolphins is to franchise Grimes.

If you were going to draft a linemen in the first round., Last year was the year to do it. That was one of the best O-line draft in recent history.

THIS DRAFT IS FULL OF SKILL POSITION PLAYERS! NOT LINEMEN.

MIT,

Agreed. If you need to offer the 4th year to keep Grimes, you offer him the deal.

anyone else hoping CJ Mosely drops to us? We need an ILB so bad, we need to stop the damn run at all costs!

Wev got to find out if tannehills the answer and how do u do that? Protect him so theres no excuses bc he has the weapons get the kine fixed invest in a fb to help extend drives on 3rd n 1s. And maybe get borland in the 3rd rd wheeler killing us hes a zach thomas clone and a leaderand can we put jordan at Olb kick misi inside for wheeler

IF WE HAVE TO FRANCHISE GRIMES DOES THAT MEAN

That he would prefer to play elsewhere

That cap space is going to be chewed up fast when we have to buy an entire offensive line and two quality corners.

The thing is in a defense such as ours. It is the Linemans job usually to gobble up O Linemen as your LB's take out the runners. Here in lies the problem, LB's making 120 takles 5-8 yards down the field.

The Dolphins would be stupid not to sign Grimes to a 4 year deal. Champ Bailey, and before him Darrel Greene have shown that a fit healthy corner can play in the league for a long time. I think Grimes falls easily inline with those guys.
As for the O-Line, we really should sign the best available Left Tackle that can move. The thing that I hated about McKinnie was how slow he was. The guy couldn't get out to block on a screen.Neither could Claybo. This really restricted the Offence.
Commit to the Zone Blocking Scheme and Lamar will shine, he's incredibly fast at getting to the outside.

rdubs, listening to the combine talk regarding the Bills and their draft yesterday on the drive home. A large part of their fanbaase wants Mosley to team him up with Alonso.

By listening to those mouth breathers talk for half an hour, they eithr want Evans, a left tackle, Ebron, or Mosley.

Sound familiar?

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