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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.


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Come on guys, lets face it. This is no longer an elite NFL franchise, and most likely will never be again.

Been hard, but I'm beginning to face it. :)


Have shown: If his teammates put in the effort that he does he can beat any team.
If his teammates leave him to do all the work then he can lose to any team.

SAM @ 4:56

I've said for years that this franchise is like a corpse that gets discovered by a drifter and is then violated by that drifter.

Don't worry you can still spend your Sunday afternoons in a state of drunkenness whether the Phins win or lose.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | April 14, 2014 at 05:02 PM

Naw...... I'm rediscovering sex on football Sundays. It makes Dolphins losses feel much better for about 3 minutes. :)


I used to make love to my wife after every Dolphins win. But, now she's threatened to leave me if I keep that up.


Did Oscar have to go see his shrink again?

When Oscar goes to see his shrink this blog turns into a morgue. Im out! :)

I'm out too

I have many thoughts and opinions on the Miami Dolphins and the NFL in general however I have decided not to share them with any of you.

Good day.

Mark if you really want Lewan, it's going to cost pick 50. We're going to have to get in front of NYG . Tennessee would gladly take that pick. Would you pay it?


I appreciate your comments and insight, however, I have to disagree with you. Some of these players have the potential to be big hits, but there are still question marks that come along. If we can get another 1 or 3 Grimes type players from the bunch we will see great success. It wouldn't be prudent to blow out your cap with other players currently in free agency at those positions who don't exactly set the world on fire either. You have to wait for the right (more certain) situation before you strike. In the meantime, if these guys do become backups, they will provide really solid depth for very litte risk.

NYG = "Nude Young Gentlemen?"

PATS=Playing Around The Sphincter

Father Tim are you from Boston?

Yeah, Teddy Bridgewater falling fast, fast, yeah. Some theory on SB Nation has Bridgewater falling to us at #19 and us trading that pick to Jacksonville for their 39, 70 and 115 picks. Then we could select Antonio Richardson at 50 and David Yankey at 70. Hmm...

That's what we are trying to do with the Miami Dolphins here, SAM. Align the Stars so we can be famous again, so we could be a Contender.

what is the fascination with Taylor Lewan on this board? I wouldn't even pick him if he was at 19 and I don't think Hickey would either haha. Pure LT he's not an above average run blocker which doesn't bode well if he switches to RT.

players I would take over Lewan.
Mosley, Martin, HaHa, Verrett, Cooks.


Please don't use that kind of language here. It's disgusting and you can do better than that.

Manziel is projected to go at #20 or out of the 1st round completely by some.

I'd take him at #19 if he's there and trade Moore for a pick.

Let Manziel be the backup. If Tannehill is injured or has a sub-par year, then you have someone that could be more than a backup ready to go.

Why wait a year to find out if Tannehill will turn the corner or not with the new o-line and new scheme?

Get him some true competition.

Exposing The Fraud,

I hope Tannehill benefits from the Lazor hire big time. However the Dolphins were not bad the last two games of the year. Tannehill was horrific in both games so there goes your formula for success regarding T-hill.

ETF, you might want to start exposing yourself......

Manziel reportedly is also falling. Only QB remaining in top 10 is Bortles.

Obviously, NFL teams are quickly figuring out that Manziel is no big deal.

Stupid fans take longer, of course.

Why should we take Manziel at #19 if we have a #8 pick QB?

Tannehill seems to have the same vanilla personality as Philbin.

Manziel has a personality that reminds me of Joe Namath. He'd be a great fit for the Jets since their coach is an extrovert as well.

Would Philbin even consider him?

Does he think he'd be starting a QB controversy by picking Manziel?

Would someone like Manziel have taken as many sacks as Tannehill if he played behind the same o-line?

Philbin hitched his wagon to Tannehill. He said he wanted to PUSH Tannehill with some competition. How truthful was he?

Picking someone that was a top ten pick projection would be a way of proving that he wasn't all talk.

Lucky Carmelo Anthony, some Big Booty named LaLa fell to him.

Tannehill would have dropped much lower than #8 if it wasn't for the Phins. Probably by the Browns at #22 (instead of taking Weeden). Russell Wilson was taken at #75 (after Martin and Vernon).

Moore isn't any real competition to push Tannehill to get better or to move aside (f he isn't).

Manziel would be an upgrade at #2 QB and who knows if more.

I believe Vick as old as he is could have unseated Tannehill if he was available and given the chance to really compete for the starting job.

Ross probably wouldn't be too happy though to see an old QB outplaying Philbin's franchise QB pick. Which is why Vick's agent probably never got a call.


promichael @ 7:07

I'm exposing myself right now

Only 2 starting jobs?

Weird. I see them needing

3 QB's (Starter, and 2 backups)
1 RB (Starter)
#2 TE
3-5 WR
LG,RG, RT, plus depth
OLB x2, MLB plus depth
CB 2-4

Nearly every position with exception to DE, C, Safety, and PUNTER should be upgraded

That's a very pessimistic outlook of our roster, Marc. You know that we Dolphins Fans NEED to lie to ourselves like the way we rationalized the picks after Ireland's Drafts. Please give us a break.

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 14, 2014 at 04:56 PM

Everything is a cycle, teams go up and down and for different time frames. No one can say a team will always be bad that's just sillyness.


Taliafaro is a Beast! Saw him at his pro day. Also good looking guard there...J Cheatwood! Be a great preferred FA!

You will come to realize that I am your intellectual and physical superior in every way imaginable.

You may as well stop worrying about it and simply accept it.

Posted by: Marc | April 14, 2014 at 07:56 PM

Clearly not a glass half full kind of guy are ya? I get it.

All teams should be looking to upgrade all positions every year within the realities of the draft, cap and free agency.

Mark Taliaferro was a big, strong-armed QB but he had a Wonderlic above 30. No good. Most great Qbs have an IQ in the twenties. The really gifted at this position, in the teens.

Dolphins Biggest 2014 Prove It Contracts Of All:

1. Joe Philbin
2. Ryan Tannehill

Enuff Said!

Sorry, I meant to say a Wonderlic in the twenties for most great QBs.(in the teens for the ultra-gifted)

Just talked with the Hickmiester, were trading dion to PHILY for their # 1, then we're trading Phil's #1 and our 2 nd round pick to the jaguars for their #1 and were takin clowney yahoo

Nice post, It's in the breeze @ 4:30.

Very rational of you!

Posted by: oscar canosa | April 14, 2014 at 08:36 PM

That's because sports requires those who can think enough, at the same time will over thinking everything.

Really, nobody knows how Hickey will do as a talent evaluator(he's not a GM per se, Dawn Aponte takes care of that). I don't like the way Hicks is going in that regard, he's making too many common sense decisions for Dolphins Fans Taste.


Seems today's shock therapy session has you quite calm right now. How often do you receive these treatments?

That reminds me of a quote by the great horse trainer H. Allen Jerkens, "We like a smart Horse but not so smart that it won't do what We want". Replay it, SAM.


Also, I think your newly prescribed meds are working some what. We see your ALoco persona has totally vanished. Do you think your shrink can up the new meds a little more?

Therefore, we kill off several hundred of your other personas on this blog board. EH?

Did you re-played it, SAM? Replay it SAM, replay it again.


You could never become a main player in our American government. Your IQ is far too high. You operate best in a small cubicle diagnosing formulas while working alone.

Play It Again, SAM!

Like others have said, Hickey is just filling in gaps. Doing his due diligence. Good GMs prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

There's no crystal ball saying what direction this draft will go. They're smart to fill in gaps and add depth so they're not stuck taking a player based on need. They should feel good going in that they can control the draft vs being forced into a need based played due to a run on a certain position.

Not quite, Sam, but you're close. I had a former highly functioning patient today that after surgery for her broken little finger she turned into an intellectually 4 y/o. No fake, we have searched her thoroughly and her family. Of course, there is a huge, probably Millionaire law suit, but I want no problems with the law. Dementia NOS.

oscar, do you believe half of what you say? If so, time to check yourself in.

Not Otherwise Specified, SAM, just like you are.

Nahh, I like you a lot, SAM et al, you're in with me on Hyde.

But Oscar,

You have so many personas here, at times I sit here and pinch myself to make sure Im not one of them.

Care to explain?

Ireland was a very good scout. He was just much too young, much too inexperienced in life to be a GM. Hickey commands a calm, quiet respect.

Dolphins Biggest 2014 Prove It Contracts Of All:

1. Joe Philbin
2. Ryan Tannehill

Enuff Said!

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 14, 2014 at 08:38 PM

Well Said SAM

Looks like oscar left the door to Paul's cage open again.


But I have the Phins and this blog so i will always have something to keep me occupied.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | April 06, 2014 at 06:35 PM

oscar @ 9:08 and 9:11

Those posts are response to questions that no one can see and only you can hear. What up with that?

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