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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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Also think Amaro will be gone before our pick in the second and Turner will probably be gone before rd 3. I like them both though.

I saw CJ slide at the end of a game against the Steelers a couple years ago. The guy just gave up and didn't want to get tackled anymore. He hasn't been the same player since.

CJ is a crack baby... he's the son of Tyrone Biggums from the Chappelle Show ... those crack addicts are hard ot catch ... hence his crazy speed and facial ticks that always look like he's trying to eat his ear.

Rick James would slap the shyt out of him.

This would of been a great draft to have extra picks...Very deep draft in general.

The Dolphin homers have to be the dumbest people on the planet. The team stinks EVERY F'N YEAR! Will they EVER get it?

Rick, I don't think a lot of those players will be around then. Just having some fun on fanspeak. Honestly the Jets offseason signings are pretty funny. Didn't they have 40 mil to spend?

Its a very deep draft at the QB position. They say 4-5 could go in rd 1 and a 2-3 in rd 2.

Only the Jets in this market with all that money to spend can't find one player to addess their weakest position - CB.... those idiots couldn't get laid ina huerhouse.

We wouldve been far better off drafting Matt Ryan instead of Jake Long.....

Dolphins will suck again. Just have that "preconditioned feeling" they will. Just been a "turn of the century" reality folks. Get used to it.

Mark, in all honesty, the Bills scare me more than the Jets...If E.J.Manuel has a solid year (big if of course), the Bills could be dangerous.

We cant beat the Bills. Heck, Thad Lewis was 2 for 2 against TannePuke haha

Jay, we all agree, but that's old news...Need to move on.

If there exists a way for the Dolphins to screw up this season, please believe they will. Just a matter of which self-destructive path they'll choose to take.

Deep down inside even the greatest homers here know I speak the truth.

The team has zero talent, zero playmakers. Ross wont spend the money neccesary to build a winner.

Can anyone here NAME EVEN ONCE this franchise has TRADED UP and it worked out?



Hickey just traded Tannahill straight up for Brady , and Calvin Johnson . And watch you morons would still complain about something, you guys need to get a life.

Let's take Aaron Donald at #19. It doesn't matter if it may be #43rd on our list of team needs.

He had a great combine. Come on down!

Posted by: LincolnContinental | April 15, 2014 at 01:06 PM

Pray for new ownership.

We're not homers Sam. We're anti-bandwagon jumpers. We're going down with the ship or staying down whichever.

No-no-no, I got it wrong, let take Mace Amaro at #19. That should should be a real eye burning throat choker.

He had a great combine. Come on down!
Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 01:09 PM

Combines are near meaningless.

We're not homers Sam. We're anti-bandwagon jumpers. We're going down with the ship or staying down whichever.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | April 15, 2014 at 01:10 PM

Dolphan Rick,

Many had the same mentality on the Titanic until they felt the frozen artic waters. Reality has that strange way of finally bringing us to our senses even when far too late.

When we win the next super- bowl of all the teams in the AFC east, will you ---- heads please go away, doubt it , you'll complain about something, like why wasn't it fast enough. LOSERS!!!

We're going down with the ship or staying down whichever.
Posted by: Dolfan Rick | April 15, 2014 at 01:10 PM

Translation = Rick is STUPID

One intriguing OLB prospect is Ronald Powell from Florida...A 5th round selection would be a very good gamble...But lots of medical concerns about this guy. When healthy, he's extremely productive.

Sam, what I think that important to you?

You obviously feel the need to mix it up with me, so let's mix it up...

Sam I am, pardon our ignorance, Mr. know it all...LOL!!

Translation = Rick is STUPID
Posted by: LOL | April 15, 2014 at 01:14 PM


Stupid is making random post on a sports blog just for kicks and then laughing by yourself.

Being positive now is like being negative after a SB win. Its azz backwards.

Posted by: LincolnContinental | April 15, 2014 at 01:06 PM

Pray for new ownership.

Posted by: Shula 73 | April 15, 2014 at 01:10 PM

Let pray the Rock of Dome in Israel comes tumbling down. It's more likely to happen. Then Israel can rebuild its Temple of the past.

While the Dolphins continue to labor in the ashes of t past.

So Sam, since you've given up, will you please get the fukk out of here then.

Who's more pathetic.. the people that come here to discuss things dolphins and talk about ways to potentially imrpove the team.

Or those that come here and have given up the ghost? COngrats, you've moved on. Now go get a hobby, collect stamps, play on the train tracks, whatever.. anything has to eb more fulfilling than getting into internet fights intentionally with people you don't know...


Why do you continually buy a terrible product? Dont be stupid. Be a better consumer than that!

Mark, 01:19, LOL!! Seriously...

We're pathetic for posting about a team we follow??

Well, it's a lot more pathetic to post about a poster who follows said team.

I mean, I'm a fan of the team...

You're my fan...

Follow me Sam, i'm sure to make a lot more posts about this football team before I check out...

Wow, I state my opinion and the dumb-dumb club wants to "mix it up" with me.

Very brilliant, a guy calling someone he knows not in the least, a crackhead. What a kind, loving, and caring human being this guy is. Yet he seems to have a worshiping following here.

Yes, folks, the world really is nearing its in. Especially when fools are becoming the idols of society.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 01:19 PM

Talking crackheads is a meaningful discussion. Man you are an unsightly abomination and a worrisome pimple on the ass crack of mankind.

Many had the same mentality on the Titanic until they felt the frozen artic waters. Reality has that strange way of finally bringing us to our senses even when far too late.
Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 01:13 PM


They thought the Titanic was the best ship ever. I don't think most of us have unreaslistic expectations of the Fins. Just hoping to maybe be a game or two better than last year and won't be too surprised if we're not. Just disapointed again.

Nothing wrong with being optimistic. It beats the heck out of woe is me...we suck blah blah over and over again.

There will be plenty of thime for that in the regular season.lol


I "turned you didn't I"? I made you look, didn't I fool. :)

very well put Mark, sooo... not much going on in your life then huh kid?

Sam, your posts at 1:07, 1:09, and 1:11 were directed to me specifically.

Now that I've made you feel so stupid for calling me out, you now try to revert to these tactics.

Thing is Sam, you've done the same to almost everyone else in here so nobody is stupid enough to buy your schtick.

You're tired and played out... you were played out about 7 sign in names ago.

i'm sure to make a lot more posts about this football team before I check out...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 01:22 PM

Seems, mentally, you "checked-out" long before you came to this football blog. :)

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 01:19 PM

We are all tired of the negativity exposed by SAM I AM
Is there anything at all you like about the Dolphins?
If not, then why don't you just stay the hell off of this site.

@ 1:27 ... I'm not the one complaining about the team at every turn. I like being here and talking Dolphins ... it's fun for me so I'm not wasting my time.

Perhaps you should ask the question to Sam, Home, and Armando becuase he's clearly abotu 4-5 of the Jay, Monte type characters...

The Dolphins are the NFL laughingstock.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 01:28 PM

Still trying to offer candy to fools. Ever and always recruiting for fools to follow the greatest fool of all, which is you.

Always seeking to validate that sorry ass excuse for human wom-pom that is you. :)

Posted by: Alex in London | April 15, 2014 at 01:30 PM

Mark, Armando gets paid to be here. Sam I Am is a complete loser that has nothing else going on in his life and gets his kicks here like a little mentally challenged kid that likes to pull legs off of frogs and wings off of flies. This is actually fulfilling for mentally challenged people

It's "Arctic," not "artic" and the Titanic did not sink anywhere near the Arctic. Icebergs can drift hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles from that region before fully dissipating.

Recruit for what? the cult that is the Miami Dolphins? They were fans long before I had anything to say to them.

Now I know you aren't a fan of the team.. but you are obviously a fan of this site and the posters since it seems the bane of your existence is to come here and make sure they don't enjoy their time discussing football and their team.

Man, you're a pathetic putz...you're the ony person here that spends 80 hours plus here a week posting to a team you don't like to people you don't even knwo but don't like them anyway .. just because they support a football team.

Get a fukking head shrinker already.

Posted by: Has A Life | April 15, 2014 at 01:36 PM

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 01:33 PM

It seems you only know how to insult people who are optimistic about their team
It is patently obvious you are not
So I have to assume you think that your posts in this blog matter but lots of us are seeing you as just a nuisance
If you cannot say something constructive then keep your evaluations to yourself
we don't need your negativity
I usually do not post but in the last few days I have noticed that you just attack everyone that is positive

The Titanic was traveling from England to New York, not the NORTH POLE you blithering idiot.

True @ 1:36, the Titanic sunk off the coast of halifax, Nova Scotia which is nowhere near the arctic.

01:36PM...Too funny...LOL!!!

Get a fukking head shrinker already.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 01:37 PM

lots of us are seeing you as just a nuisance

Posted by: Mel | April 15, 2014 at 01:38 PM

Someone who doesn't know the difference between the Arctic and the Atlantic but acts like he's some kind of "genius of the board" or something...Hilarious.

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