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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?

Comments

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Im still upset the team didnt draft Earl Thomas when they had the chance. Instead they trade down to take a lineman. I believe that was Odrick. Clemons is ok but not a difference maker
Hopefully Hickey can find the Earl Thomas of the world and not the Nolan Carrols of the world
Posted by: dolfan29 | February 21, 2014 at 03:33 PM

You and me both.

That was my last post on the subject.

Agreed. Darkoak.

I believe we can sign Soliai before we sign Starks. We only need one of them. And Soliai fits a bigger need.

I'm with Big Paul over Starks for the same reason as Texas. Starks may be an even better player and he is in fact younger than Paul. Starks actually started his career at 21.

But Big Paul is a fine player in his own right when healthy and a total team guy. Starks, not so much.

to be fair, Carroll was a 5th rd pick.....thomas was a stud and sure 1st rd pick coming out--not exactly a great comparison....and while carroll isnt good, he's improved and I dont think he's awful anymore (he was)....considering CB is a premier position and he was a 5th rd pick, thats a solid get at this point--passable as a spot starter, and a good quality backup

Sam I Am,
There are 2 things that you need if you want to look like a boss: 1)a big gut 2)a ciger

If you have a big gut but no cigar you look like a common laborer.
If you have a cigar but no gut then you look soft.

Watch an episode of The Sopranos you'll see what I'm talking about.

Silverback

Basically, If I were gm, I would make a very fair attempt to keep both Starks and Soliai. For Starks, If I gave a 3yr deal(max he gets from anyone), front load it making 55% of the money guaranteed. Something in th neighborhood of 3yrs 22M, only 10 million guaranteed.

A "show me contract".

and I cant help but throw this in, as I've done many times before....we got Carroll with the pick that we got in return for Ginn.....so, in essence (look away and hide the sharp objects).....Carroll is what we have to show for the 9th pick in the '07 draft--so he's solid as 5th rders go, but brutal when put in that context (not his fault though)

basically same age. starks is the better player but we all know he wants to be gone. paul wants to stay.

Benz

Sometimes its impossible to "fully recover" from a huge mistake. Sometimes the reward is only lesson learned, move on.

Ted Ginn has been to the post season every season since leaving here.

Sam.....why would Starks sign a "show me" contract, when he's "shown them", at a high level, for the past 4-5 years? He's started every game over that time I think, he's been our best Dlineman besides Wake over that time....he's made a Pro Bowl or 2--he'll give them the finger again, with a 'show me" offer

There's enough mney to easily pay both Solai and Starks. We cant let any more good players leave. Losing Dansby was idiotic. Gotta keep all the top players if we want to win.

d29, don't have much to disagree about your post at 3:33. The only critiques I would have is perhaps Soliai was too banged up last year - it was definitely his worst since he became a starter. But don't underestimate how much of a company guy he is. Sure his agent is drumming up business and trying to get him paid but from everything I hear Big Paul def does not want to leave. We need guys like him that care.

And I definitely agree about Earl Thomas. That draft was a shining example of taking quality over quantity and BPA over need. All offseason people were worried about our NT position because Ferguson retired. Sounded an awful lot like our OT need now. Well we took a player to fill a need so Starks could move to NT.

We let a boatload of difference makers pass with that obsession in the team's head. I hope we don't repeat those errors.

ted ginn is horrible

yes cause dansby was soooo good here

Speaking of DT's what do y'all think of A.J. Francis DT 6'-5" 316 age 23 Maryland?

AJ Francis?

Didn't we cut him in training camp when Soprano was still HC?

How can you honestly compare a First round Safety with a 4th round CB.

You can't even compare E.Thomas to C.Clemons. Honestly. Huge Talent difference.

But I agree that I can't wait to see who Hickey drafts. We have zero feel for Hickey right now. Thanks to the incompetence of the guys covering the Dolphins.

We hire a new GM whom has final say in the 53-man roster. And not one journalist in Sfla decides to speak to him about his vision and plan for the dolphins. Not one!!

I bet the Dolphins would love if ONE Journalist asks to interview the new GM and promise to only talk football!! No Scandal!! Put it on the Sunday Paper!! I bet the readers will love that!!

Not telling a certain someone how to do their job. Just how to do it better.

Right now will be the perfect time to fall back in the good graces of the team. Show them that you see things there way. Even if the following day you write a commentary on how you really feel.

E.Pope use to run this game on Shula all the time. Us, the fans, were the ones who won. That was the time we were the most informed on our Dolphins.

Signed him off the NE practice squad in pre-season. Not sure if he got any playing time last season though.

Benz

Im not comparing Thomas to Carroll but more the philosphy of the dolphins brass when picking players. The ignore a stud in round 1 with Thomas so they can move down and take a d-lineman.

But getting back to Carroll. We take him where teams get the sherman's of the world or Kam Chancellors. Just sayin

If you want to see the difference in our reporters to ones that supply all kinds of info for other teams. Take a look at the coverage this guy provides for the Ravens fans.

Aaron Wilson @RavensInsider - Twitter

I like them both, but I agree with keeping big Paul. It would nice to keep them both, but it's not realistic. Raji would be a nice fit. Ok now do we pay Albert big money?

yeah ETF, Ginn has been to the postseason and thats fine, but not much to do with him--he's been fortunate to say the least, to be on the 49ers and the Panthers....good for him, but hardly the difference maker.

Also......what do we do with Clemons.....he's steady......but at what price do we let him walk?

Has Philbin been fired yet?

Dandy

4yr/$50M deal

Zero Probowls

Over 10- 4th qtr leads given up because he quit

Not one game breaking play in 3 years.

Was one of the main reasons Soprano got fired. People forget the rant he had on the radio, that made everyone say Spo lost the team. And a week later he was fired.

Dansby always got crushed by the Pats!! Always!!

Did I mention Dansby is the biggest quitter we have ever had on the Dolphins.

Tebow Miracle. 15-0, Less than 5 Minutes left in the game. Dansby quits, Dolphins lose.

Phin....agree with dusty, Dansby was very underwhelming here, considering his reputation when we signed him, and his contract--effort (at times) and dedication were questionable to say the least, as the dude came in to 2 camps woefully out of shape, and basically needed 4-5 games to get himself into game shape--I know Ellerbe wasnt a great replacement last year, but Dansby wasnt the answer....he had all of 1 contract offer last year, and not a big offer....played hard because he's looking for his next contract

Dashi

AS i said in a previous post. Im not comparing Carroll and Thomas. Im comparing the draft philosophys of each team.

Thomas was a no brainer yet our GM thought trading down was better.

When it comes time to draft a CB. We draft Carroll. This guy shouldnt even had been drafted. Hes no better than a street free agent.

My point is that whether its late round picks or first round picks. We constantly miss the boat.

Earl Thomas was a no brainer pick but we still got it wrong

Silverback,

If we can get him cheap and early then keep Clemons. Otherwise let him hit FA, see how the draft falls, then if we need someone and he is still there sign him or another FA.

Dolfan 29 ....... I really really liked Thomas and never understood not drafting him. That being said, I actually like Carroll as a 3rd or 4th corner though. I think he can play well outside when one of starters moves into the slot against multiple WR sets

Texas, the reason I asked was because of the Brandon Albert situation......if we were to sign him then that possibly free's us up in the 1st to take a top safety

Blogging in the nude again today and man, oh, man does it feel great!!

The Dullfins always get rid of their top players. Smith, Dansby, Bush, Long, Marshall, Welker just to name a few.

Also Silverback this may depend on what the coaches think of Kovacs, Thomas and Wilson.

Also what safeties do you like this year. Dix is going 1st round and possibly Pryor late first early 2nd but who else do you like? Would you spend a first on either of those guys?

Not drafting a safety high is a Parcells trait.

And Ireland managed to get 2 starters out of him tradeing down.

Odrick and Misi were the picks. Not Odrick and N.Carroll.

I understand people dislike Ireland. But he didn't draft a complete bust.

And N.Carroll was and has been our #2 CB for the last 2 years.

Silverback

I have to disagree about Carroll. Hes ok when asked to fill in for a play or two, but when he was filling in for Patterson, QB's would pick on him early and often. Too many times he couldnt lock down his receiver and allowed way to many big plays.

I wont miss him on bit when he leaves in free agency

How many of you 3 posters here really believe Zach Martin will be the BPA at #19?

Carroll eH? WTF IS WRONG with you MORONS. He is PPAATTHHEETTIICC. DO YOU WATCH THE D FKN! Clown show on Sundays Mondays & Thursdays eH? You wont watch the clown shows in Jan. and into Feb. EVER eH?. Stupid Hommers eH?.DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB eH?

I agree Silverback, if we take care of OLine via FA that frees up that 1st pick to go just about anywhere. And I don't mean the whole Oline I just mean 1 or 2 guys then also build a little in the draft. OT is pretty deep.

d29,
You hit the nail on the head.
Bal trades a 7th rounder to Jax and gets Eugene Monroe. We trade a 5th rounder to Bal and get McKinney. SF trades a 5th rounder to Bal and gets Boldin.

If we had drafted Russell Wilson he would be so bad that the readers of this blog would be begging him to go play baseball for the Rangers.

Silverback, it's a crap FS market. Clemons is best available now that the Bills are holding Byrd hostage again. So unless you decide Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or another first round safety will be the BPA, you have to re-sign Clemons. he doesn't lose you games as some safeties do. Don;t really remember getting burned by anybody deep last year.

Don Jones is the one safety on the roster that I would like to see on the filed more of this season. D.Jones is probably the Dolphins biggest hitter. He hits like if he was J.Wilson on steroids.

On safety I like Jimmy Ward from Northern Illinois in the 2nd or 3rd round. He's a small school guy, but has a lot of skills. His strength is coverage and making plays.

He had 7 interceptions last year. Youtube his highlights if you have time. Just a name to keep an eye on.

The big guys are lifting Mark.

The results should start posting soon.

*field

benz,

As long as Mando keeps beating the 'elite, franchise QB' drum we will never be happy.

There is not one player that carries a good team. If Peyton could not win the SB with that roster in Denver then he certainly wouldn't win it with this team.

Ginn did not carry SF or Carolina to the playoffs. Neither did Frank Gore or D'angelo Williams. Neither did Steve Smith or Anquan Boldin. Neither did Whitner or Kuchely.

But they all contributed and got to play on when the regular season was over.

So what is the count we should be should be looking at for a LT Mark? Is it 20 or over or 25? Results are starting to be posted here.

http://walterfootball.com/combine2014OL.php

Texas, I like the Reynolds kid from Stanford.......he's one of those natural ball hawks.......living in L.A. with a bro-in-law who went to Stanford I saw him play a lot this year. And yes the bro-in-law told me Martin was soft after we drafted him.

Dolfan 29 my logic with Carroll is I'm not sure we can get a better 3rd or 4th corner. When you go deep into DB roster it's pretty thin for any team.......but I respect your opinion

congrats silverback

Well with Barron wearing a Bucs jersey, we know there is no such stupid Parcells philsophy as not selecting a WR or FS early.

Seriously, have you heard of anything more stupid?

Troy Polamalu or Calvin Johnson would never be drafted by Parcells.

What a fat arse loser

ETF

We gave up a 5th for Mckinney?. I thought it was a 7th?.

Anyhow. there is a great example of how the dolphins view the draft. Lets trade picks for aging vets who are way past their prime in hopes we sniff the playoffs. Im not saying the 5th rounder will be a stud, but im thinking that player will have more use than Mckinney has at present.

I sure hope Hickey is the guy to right the ship when it comes to the draft

ETF, I like Manziel if we can work out a trade to move up. He's the perfect guy to start the rebuild and he doesnt need a great OL.

every qb needs a good oline

None of you 3 posters here have answered my question.

Nice Texas, my signature event. i ahve no idea what it feels like to jump 40 inches vertically. But lift 225 - I could do that...

Texas,

O-linemen need to lift at least 30 times to have the functional strength to play at the pro level.

Silverback,

I don't know much about him except what I read from CBSSports. From what they are saying he sounds pretty good. They have a 2nd round grade on him. I'll have to pull up some youtube highlights of him.

Yeah, I live in Texas, obviously from the name, and Thomas and Vaccaro I knew about. Of course I believe most people did.

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