« Getting Zack Martin may require trade up contingency | Main | Tannehill much to prove, but not the most to prove »

Prove-it contracts past and present

The one-year contract, known to some as a prove-it deal, was put to good use by the Dolphins in 2013. About half a dozen players and the team agreed to one-year deals -- helping some of the players rehabilitate their reputations while also helping the team add talent while also not committing to that talent long-term in case something went wrong.

This offseason the Dolphins have once again made use of the one-year contract but as the general manager is different it's not surprising that so is the philosophy to some degree.

While former GM Jeff Ireland seemed to take bigger gambles on 2013 one-year deals, chasing bigger talents at higher prices, current GM Dennis Hickey is for the most part using the one-year deal on less accomplished and cheaper players.

There are exceptions, of course. Runnning back Knowshon Moreno is being paid the average of what the free agent running back market bears in 2014 and he is quite well known.

Below is the breakdown of the prove-it deals the Dolphins did last year, along with how those turned out:

DT Randy Starks (1 year, $8.45 million): Starks was Miami's franchise player. And although it is hard to play up to an $8 million salary, Starks did indeed play very well for the Dolphins in 2013. The one-year deal kept the Dolphins from committing to Starks long-term, which ultimately proved the right thing to do based on his age, and it helped keep the player performing at a high level so that he could go out and get a good payday this offseason. Verdict: Good for both sides.

CB Brent Grimes (1 year, $5.437 million): Grimes had to take a chance on himself because he was coming off an Achilles tendon tear that sidelined him all of 2012. The Dolphins took a chance that Grimes could return to the Pro Bowl status he reached in 2011 and he did exactly that. Verdict: Good for both sides.

RT Tyson Clabo (1 year, $3.5 million): Clabo was said to be a salary cap casualty by the Falcons after 2012 and, unfortunately for the Dolphins, he played down to that stigma through the first half of 2013 -- leading the team in sacks allowed. But after being benched, Clabo recovered somewhat during the season's back end. He provided good but expensive insurance against the departure of Jonathan Martin. Verdict: A push in that he filled a need but didn't do it well enough.

LT Bryant McKinnie (1 year, $1 million): The Dolphins took on McKinnie in October to serve as relief for the failed experiment of Martin as a left tackle. As part of the trade, they gave him a chance to become a free agent in 2014 rather than take on his original contract he signed with Baltimore. McKinnie was solid in the locker room and a C-plus player on the field. Verdict: Served its purpose.

TE Dustin Keller (1 year, $4.25 million): Like Grimes, Keller needed to prove he could stay healthy and return to his former heights after an injury-plagued 2012. He couldn't do it. He suffered a terrible knee injury in the preseason -- an injury that ended his season -- and the Dolphins got nothing for their money. Verdict: Nobody's fault but it was a disaster.

S Chris Clemons (1 year, $2.75 million): The Dolphins wanted more plays out of their deep secondary but understood that not every so-called "want" could be addressed in one offseason. So they re-signed Clemons, understanding that he rarely makes big plays but rarely makes big mistakes. And that's exactly what he delivered -- no big plays, but no huge mistakes. Verdict: Fill the gap move filled the gap temporarily.

Bottom line? The Keller contract was a waste and the Clabo deal didn't help. The Grimes deal was genius and the Starks, McKinnie and Clemons deals accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish.

So this year, Hickey has some notable players signed to one-year deals. But unlike Ireland, the Dolphins are being more frugal with their one-year deals. The deals:

WR Damian Williams (1-year, $800,000): Williams is getting only $70,000 in guaranteed money to come to camp and compete for a No. 4 or No. 5 wide receiver job. Maybe he competes for the kick or punt return job as well.

S Louis Delmas (1 year, $2.25 million): He is a physical, downhill tackler and that's something the Dolphins want more of on their defense. They want to be more physical. They want more defining plays out of the back end. And there's no doubt Delmas is arrives at the ball angry and makes more plays than, say, Chris Clemons did. But the knock on Delmas is he hits so hard, he often injures teammates or himself when he's hitting the ballcarrier. He also has been known to give up the long completion. So will the Dolphins get the dependable playmaker or the injured guy who gives up bbig plays?

RB Knowshon Moreno (1 year, $3 million): The Dolphins want more production out of the backfield and want better pass protection from the running back corps. Moreno is known as one of the best in pass pro at his position. He is not a big-play running back. He has not often faced the kind of run-stopping fronts playing with Peyton Manning that Miami runners faced with Ryan Tannehill.

RT Jason Fox (1 year, $795,000): Typical of Hickey's one-year deals, this has only $65,000 in guaranteed money. So if Fox makes the team as a backup at RT, great. And if he doesn't, the pain is minimal. If he does make the team, the Dolphins are banking Fox can stay healthy, something that hasn't been the case lately.

WR Kevin Cone (1 year, $570,000), WR Michael Rios (1 year, $420,000), QB Jordan Rodgers (1 year, $430,000): All fall under the category of no guaranteed money money given to young players who will have a chance to come to camp and compete for a bottom-of-the-roster spot. No risk whatever.

It's interesting that the Dolphins signed both Cortland Finnegan and Starks to two year deals, but both are really one-year deals in disguise.

Finnegan, unspectacular for the Rams the past two years no matter what the Dolphins will argue, got a two-year, $11 million deal. However, all of his $5 million in guaranteed money is being paid this year and all but $1 million of it goes on the cap this year.

Next year, if Finnegan disappoints in any way, the Dolphins can cut him. And while they would absorb $1 million in dead money, they would save his $5.45 million in base salary. So he has to play well this year to get that payday in 2015.

Meanwhile, the two-year, $10 million deal Miami signed with Starks gave the tackle $2 million to sign and his $3 million base salary is guaranteed. In 2015, however, Starks has no guarantee and the team can save $5 million (his base salary) by cutting him before the start of the regular-season. So this also is a one-year commitment with a club option to go another year if the player succeeds.


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



Clogging up the Dolphins roster with career backups.


Is when he refers to moves that Ireland made.

Armando, Since you mentioned TE Keller, have you heard anything as to what the Dolphins plans are with him? I think we should try to figure a way to keep him and add Finley to go along with Clay. Could potentially be a BEAST of a TE group. Please send me your response to driggsdefinfan@yahoo.com. Thank you, a DIE Hard Fin Fan since Super Bowl 6 (Yeah the one we lost)

Sam, from last post.


Very true about wish lists and I actually have one believe it or not. I've posted it on here before. It is a wish list though and does not mean I wouldn't be happy with other players. It is just guys I'd LIKE to see in Miami. I've also included what round I would like to try and get them in.

Mike Evans WR
Trade Down to get more picks - deep draft
Zach Martin OT
Xavier Sua-Filo OG
Hasean Clinton-Dix FS
Eric Ebron TE
Odell Beckham Jr. WR
Justin Gilbert CB
Ryan Shazier LB
Jace Amaro TE
Joel Bitonio OT
Martavis Bryant WR
Donte Moncrief WR
Morgan Moses OT
Davante Adams WR
Brandin Cooks WR
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE
Jordan Matthews WR
Trade down depending on whose available here.
Ed Reynolds FS
Cody Latimer WR
JaWuan James OT
Marcus Martin C
Terrance West RB
Dakota Dozier OG
Jack Mewhort OT
Antonio Richardson OT
Andre Williams RB
Troy Niklas TE
Telvin Smith OLB
Jordan Tripp OLB
Carlos Hyde RB
Kelcy Quarles DT
DaQuan Jones DT
Billy Turner OT
Jeremy Hill RB

Preston Brown MLB
C.J. Fiedorowicz TE
Dontae Johnson FS
Marqueston Huff FS
Trai Turner OG
Max Bullough MLB
Jon Halapio OG
Seantrel Henderson OT
Devin Street WR
Kevin Norwood WR

Chris Watt OG
John Urschel OG
James Hurst OT
Charles Leno OT
De'Anthony Thomas RB
Xavier Grimble TE
Crockett Gillmore TE
Jeff Janis WR
Lamin Barrow MLB
Brandon Thomas OG – Now that he’s injured Rnd 6
Jay Bromley DT
Jonathan Dowling FS
Kenarious Gates OT
Brandon Linder OG
Trey Hopkins OG
Mason Walters OG
Lorenzo Taliaferro RB
Alden Darby FS
John Brown WR

Keep in mind on the wish list, the round is where I'd feel good about taking them not where sites have players projected.

Why do these trolls hanging in here go to the jets site please. leave us alone

Thank you

I'm pms'y. Can't you tell?

mr. Hickey is doing a great job and he's about to earn his paycheck

This draft is gonna rock

We have made some real good pickups this offseason I really like what we are doing




The league seems more stable than it has in the past. It appears that a lot of players want to stay with their current teams. The NFL workplace must be improving for the players to actually show loyalty to their teammates and fans.

This actually makes me feel better about myself. A lot of times I get angry with myself for allowing the fate of a bunch of arrogant strangers to affect my happiness. I would think that I am not alone in this. I have seen several statements on here about "quitting watching the team".

If the players are at least loyal to the fans, I don't feel like such an idiot.


and only one counted on to start here ... what's the point? the rest will be backups or cut.

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 14, 2014 at 02:07 PM
Lots of good players on your mock. I would think most Dolfans would be thrilled if it went down like that and I would assume only one o-lineman being on it to mean the Fins have the rest of the line figured out.

Only thing not there I'm hoping we get is safety depth. And I'm not being facetious. :)

Lots of ifs there though. Can we find a trade down partner etc. It would be great if it were to happen though.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | April 14, 2014 at 03:26 PM

I do feel stupid for coming back to this blog and reading the same redundant(that means the same thing over and over) posts by 2Watt and ETF.

They do occasionally post something relevant and intelligent. Sorry, guess I am having a negative day.

Dolfan Rick @ 4:01

I just spoke to every team in the league, they said they would be happy to trade us some of thier career backups for our draft picks.

Smith will start , fox will compete but mainly depth , cone camp body ,rios camp body you are truly ignorant we need 90 guys on our roster for training camp we have 65 presently thats why you are seeing these signings

which one is the starter?
Fox, Smith or Mitchell?

Has Philbin been fired yet?

Andre Johnson of the Oilers says Mitchell is a great player. Andre has seen a few players in his career so he might be a good judge of talent.

Keller is done with TannePuke. He almost got him killed!

Dolfan Rick @ 4:01
I just spoke to every team in the league, they said they would be happy to trade us some of thier career backups for our draft picks.
Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | April 14, 2014 at 04:04 PM


Have we traded any draft pick for career back-ups ETF??

Btw since your so efficent on a phone maybe you should consider a career in telemarketing??






Marc from NJ,
Don't the other teams also need 90 bodies for camp?
These guys don't even qualify as camp bodies for other teams.

FURTHERMORE you guys complained about every move Ireland made. For 6-7 years I've been reading complaints about Ireland every single day.
If I want to complain to complain about Hickey's moves, and I do, this is the place where I will do it.

Lastly if you want to save time and energy we could just have a 5 minute phone call a couple times a day because let's face it you and I are the only people in here anyway.

EK @ 4:09

His agent and his mother also say that he is a great player so that is 3 people.

Henne beat the Texans twice last season, I'll call him and ask him what he thinks of Mitchell.

Marc's post said it pretty well.

Smith is written in ink to start at a G position. He's started some games and the current o line coach knows him as well as anyone so if he's unable to be a starter, blame the coaches GM. Seeing as they know him better than you or me, I think it's an educated gamble.

Mitchell and Fox may be in the mix. None are being counted on.

The WRs are camp fodder. Literally not costing them anything to sign those guys and nothing reserved or promised. Just an opportunity.

I wouldn't have approached the o line this way in free agency but who says it can't work?

I would've made a big push for Collins of Cincy after he fell out of day one free agency. May have even been tempted to give him close to Albert money. I mean it's only about a mill or so more than they're giving to Finengan who I don't like at all.

I'll admit, I complained about Irelands moves. Not overly thrilled with Hickey's moves so far but not sick to my stomach yet either.

We gotta play some games first.

EK @ 4:04

If you are squandering your life in here than you have a negative life not just a negative day.
Welcome to the club.

Possible trade down scenarios: Cleveland and San Fran have the most extra picks to burn in this deep draft.

Trade our 19 to Cleveland for pick 26 and 83 in round 3(from Pittsburgh.) Works out perfectly on the points chart and Cleveland has extra picks. Cleveland may want to jump Arizona who may be in the QB market.

Trade our 19 to San Fran picks 30, 77 in round 3, 129 in round 4, and 245 in round 7. A bigger 11 spot drop, but we get 3 extra picks in a deep draft.

Another scenario with San Fran: Trade our 19 and 155 in round for pick 30 and pick 61 in round 2. Not quite as much of a haul, but we get 3 picks in the first 61 this way.

All speculation, but just some fun killing some time here since we have another 24 days.

Lots of good players on your mock. I would think most Dolfans would be thrilled if it went down like that and I would assume only one o-lineman being on it to mean the Fins have the rest of the line figured out.

Only thing not there I'm hoping we get is safety depth. And I'm not being facetious. :)

Lots of ifs there though. Can we find a trade down partner etc. It would be great if it were to happen though.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | April 14, 2014 at 04:01 PM

Dolphan Rick

Everything can not be "PROPERLY FIXED in a single offseason. Let's begin with your Safety position.

Delmas is either our solution at safety or he's a one year plug.

1 olineman in draft. We have Pouncey/Albert 2 pro bowlers. Shelley has the athleticism to excel in zone blocking. Draft a day one starter RT, solve the remaining OG spot in 2015, if no one steps up.

Trade partner? SF would love to get their hands on Calvin Pryor if he's still sitting there at #19. SF owns two 2nd and two 3rd picks. Calvin Pryor available at #19, trade down partner isolved.

NeMO, i prefer your SF scenario two to 1... after round 3 this draft starts to look like a lot of others.

Just me and ETF standing in the trade up route it looks like ... but I'm not as extreme as him .. I say 14, he wants top 5...

SAM @ 4:18

We have been 'not fixing everything' for 6 years now and everything still needs fixing.

none of these rookies, even the first rounders will change around a club into superstardom. I mean that's why I preach vision and patience... look beyond 2014 for what eh draft pick can bring.

But they should also be significant contributors in years one. Just not pro bowlers other than maybe one or two a year...

MIT @ 4:20

The only thing that makes sense to me is trading into the top 5 to get the best OL in the draft.

I can't see picking the 5th best T in the draft at #19 when kelvin Benjamin/Marquise Lee/Shazier/Hyde are on the board.

Other than the o line and the LB corps... I think every area of the team is competitive with almost anybody...

Now the draft will not fix both for 2014... and we are contractually committed to some of those LBs.... going to have to address with coaching and current roster tweaks.

O line will be improved with one draft pick from the top two rounds...

i agree with not wanting ot if it comes to 5th best ... heck I don't even want it with the 4th best because he isn't a LT.

But under a certain scenario you may get the 2nd/3rd best with pick 14. I think it's the latest you can get Lewan.

For sure with pick 5 you get the 2nd best , may even get the best. But you get not a single thing else form this draft as a result. I wouldn't do that.... not until Albert decides he rather wear Tommy Bahama shirts full time and give up the big pay cheque


You have to grab a 2nd rd pick 61 at least, from SF in a trade down. Pick 61 is a "glorified 3rd rd pick". We should not have to trade "two picks"(19 and 155) to pry that away from them. As gm, you would be screwing yourself.

Maybe, if you get #61 from the Niners, use pick 155 to "move up in the 2nd rd if targeting a specific player".

for Lewan to be available for trade up

1. Rams don't draft Watkins (almost assuring they would pick Lewan at 13)
2. Donald is not available at 14 when the bears pick

If this happens, we can get that premium OT with the cost of a 3rd-4th pick depending on how good a trader Hickey is...


Fair enough. I would just be looking for a safety somewhere in the draft if it were me.

Delmas may not even make a full season much less beyond.

On the o-line I'm not sure your thinking like a coach who has to win this year. Either that or I'm over thinking it which may well be the case.

Exposing the Fraud...

Every team in the league starts OTA's, Mini's and Training Camp with 90 players. Not one single team brings in 90 starters, or even 20 backups... The majority of Miami's starting roster is set... There are 2 to 3 starting jobs (I'd bet 2) on the O-line. PERHAPS a #4 WR position. An ILB Position, MAYBE a TE spot if they can find a complement to Clay. And depending on his ability to stay healthy, a FS position. That is 7 starting jobs up for grabs MAX... Everyone else is either trying to unseat the starter or get placed on the #2 team or #3 team... or even practice squad...

For a guy so interested in pointing out flaws in the way this team operates... It seems you'd be better at math... Who gives a damn about how many "contenders" Hickey brings through? There are only so many players who can start available... you act like free agency is brimming over with pro bowl talent LMFAO.....

Hickey is providing camp fodder and competition... JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GM.... He's got the good at the spots that counted in FA (pro bowl LT, 1k+ solid blocking RB, decent rotational DT, good competition at OG, a hard hitting FS, and a CB trying to regain his form, Grimes did it, don't tell me it can't be done).. That is all that really matters... Not to mention he resigned the guys we really wanted to keep (Starks, Grimes) Up Next..... THE DRAFT..... When are you going to start bitching about that.....

Mark, I'm actually with you in the trade up route, but only a third rounder (if it takes a throw in lottery ticket pick like a 6th or 7th as well to get it done, do it) and only for Lewan.

The only player I would like them to take at 19 is Shazier. Since I am a big fan of his and he fits a need imo. If Martin is there, they will take him before trading down I'm sure though.

I don't normally like trading down, but I think in this draft it will be ok with all the underclassmen talent. In 2010 our trade down got us a couple good/decent players in Odrick/Misi, but we missed out on Earl Thomas in JPP. Then again, its a lot easier to say in hindsight, so who knows.

In the 26-30 range we might be able to get Hageman, Amaro, Sua-Filo, Jason Verett, Dee Ford, even Shazier might slide down to the bottom of the round. I'd be very happy with any of those guys to go along with the extra ammo on day 2.

Also, Earl Mitchell is not a career backup. He started 14 games last year. I feel safe with him being a part of the D-Tackle rotation next year.

RB, WR, QB I have no problem with.

OL, DL, LB & DB I do have problems with.

GM, HC I have problems with also.

My Life i have problems with the most and that is why I squander my life away in here.

ETF, you ok

I don't knwo how the DL can be better and the DBs seem to be ok with this system we play - one thing it does do is make the DBs look good for some reason. Same thing in Cincy.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | April 14, 2014 at 04:29 PM

Rest assured, if we fail to make the playoffs as even a wildcard, the two major things that will have gone wrong are:

1. Rolled the dice on the rb's in this draft. Too much was placed on Tannehill's frail shoulders.

2. Again, Tannehill either stagnates or regresses in year 3. This is my greatest fear, I so feel it coming.

Tannehill losing two of the most important games of his young career, to two of the worst qb's of 2013, pretty much sealed the deal for me Tannehill does not have "IT".

In two of the most meaningful games of his young career, he had consecutive horrible outings. It wasn't just the defenses he faced either.

So the Dolphins might get 3rd place in the AFC East out of 4 teams

All of our picks money and picks go to protecting the goofy awkward stumbling bumbling fumbling inaccurate deep ball passer w no pocket presence

O-line, TEs and RBs are all suppose to be ot best in their craft
blocking for Tannehill
so the Dolphins can admit
they didn't make a major mistake by drafting Tannehill at number 8th overall
instead of drafting Kuechly

This Dolphin F-Ups set the franchise back 3-5 yrs

and no one cares to buy a can of domestic light beer for $10.00 freakin dollars each while witnessing this shiet show

Home fan

Tannehill was a mistake

Tons of flaws
Two losing/non winning seasons w some very good players
cannot throw past 60 ft
and sucks w pocket presence
cannot step forward/slide or throw the ball away

just a jackAZZ in the pocket
like a deer in headlights

Tannehill sucks
Miami Dolphins suck

Go Patriots!

Tannehill handling the football
looks like a bear cub playing w himself

neMo, I also want Lewan bad ... more than any other player in this draft .. I wouldn't mind overpaying a little either and I don't normally advocate trade ups or downs but a trade up has that unique blend of getting the best player in the draft available (IMO) and filling a huge need.

Trade downs I don't normally like either but every time I do a mock and both Lewan and DOnald are gone I hate whatever player I pick at 19 because I think I could get the same guy or the next best a fistful (at least) of picks later.

So might as well get that extra day 2 pick and pick the same guy (or the next one) virtually no risk in doing so with the slot we have and the players trending to be available.

So in short, should we trade up .. yes

Should we stay put ... yes (Donald, Shazier, etc)

Should we trade down.. yes

It's all a viable option.

The last time we traded down it was way different. Everyone knew how good Earl Thomas was going to eb for example. It wasn't a secret and he was talked to death in here. He was also a need as since Brock marion left, we haven't had a top safety on the team. I don't think if Lewan, Donald, et al are gone that we would risk the same demise this year. It's a freaking tossed salad at 19...

Whats the point 7-9 all the time
8-8 at that great

check Tannehill's diaper
Home thinks he shiet himself again

have a HAARPy day !

Sam, on trading the pick 155 to the 49ers, I was just following the points chart. I realize thats just a guideline. Hopefully Hickey is good at wheeling and dealing!

Mark Stuck Up ... in toronto

"neMo, I also want Lewan bad ... more than any other"

Read more here:

2014, if I were a DC going against Tannehill, I would play 7-8 in box on 1st-2nd downs. 3Rd downs rush 3 or 4, having everyone else flood the short to intermediate passing zone, forcing Tannehill to show his intermediate to deep ball accuracy has gotten better.

If not, write off 2014, we'll be mock drafting before December's end again. Just like we have grown so comfortably used too.

George Carlin says,

"Tannehill as an NFL QB"

"well reach out and Jerk Me Off"

smh @ the Miami Mullets of Fusbol

The Fins are pure trash.

Well, with Lewan, get ready for "snap-count issues". This is the sweet nuthins most draft sites do not tell you about him. He does go thru bouts of being an on-the-field knucklehead.

Those penalty yards will place even more pressure on Tannehill he can not handle. Loser Lewan, come on down!

Maybe if we go back to go and go-go Lewan wont have snap count issues. But neither will the defense. :)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 »

The comments to this entry are closed.