« ESPN NFL Live analysts roast Joe Philbin | Main | Dolphins free agency priority: Cornerback »

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?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Quincy needs some anger management classes. Going off like a spoiled little bit*h. WTF, are you kidding me. I think you might have a few control issues as well duschebag

WTF = Poosy too scared to show his name, What a wimp. Don't worry, mommy will support you.

In what decade do we get a franchise QB?


how many names are you using Quincy?? you talk about me, haha. Never seen your name around, does hypocrite little angry boy sound about right, umm yup

Hickey has said he will not draft for need but for BPA.

Posted by: oscar canosa | February 23, 2014 at 09:40 PM

That makes a lot of sense considering we need EVERYTHING!!!

WTF defends oscar. That can only mean one thing. ;)

these guys....

2008 1 Jake Long *Offensive tackle Michigan
2009 25 Vontae Davis Cornerback Illinois
2010 28 Jared Odrick Defensive tackle Penn State
2011 15 Mike Pouncey Center Florida
2012 8 Ryan Tannehill Quarterback Texas A&M
2013 3 Dion Jordan Defensive End Oregon

Posted by: wallyfin | February 23, 2014 at 08:28 PM

None of them helped us win squat.

Oscar doesn't act like a spoiled little angry bit*h like Quincy does. I just don't like off the wall rude nasty angry basket cases like Quincy is

WTF loves me so much he is now using my name LOL

How would he know how much I'm here since WTF only appeared today.

Hmmm, 1 + 1 = 2.

WTF lol.


Feel free to use my name all you want. It's ok. Whatever help I can provide to relieve you of your misery. Have at it.

good night dink, I've had my few minutes of fun for the night. You might want to think about what I said. Maybe you'll grow up alittle

WTF is my new role model rs. I will spend the next five years contemplating his words. LOL.

What a blog!

Quincy, sorry I got out of line. I'm on edge since finding out my girl has been banging the neighbors.

The 2 trolls are going at it. This is just to good to br true.

Over 150 years of blogging experience combined. Oscar & Daytona.

Stroke me.....another blogger that needs a life.

Legend has it that oscars been celibate for 47 years.

Quincy 10, WTF 0

You are precious to me and I want to bathe in buttermilk with you.

« 1 2 ... 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

The comments to this entry are closed.