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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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Let's see..... I bought a new car that does not work the way it has to. Paid a lot of money, it can't be fixed and I can't take it back or trade it. It won't work unless I buy a new one. But then it might work OK. What to do?

I'll bet my right nut we DO NOT take WR at #19.

Posted by: NHFinsFan | April 15, 2014 at 02:53 PM

Just proves many sheeple here thinks Mark is some kind of football guru. He brought it up and all of sudden his sheeple parishioners are in a feeding frenzy.

Those like you and I, know better. :)

"IF YOU KNEW" .. famous last words!

Injury, coaching, scheme, fit, chemistry, drugs, car crashes. etc..

You NEVER know how a player will pan out over his short lived NFL career.

If I had the #1 pick this year, my choice would be Clowney.

Put some new paint on it and sell it to the next sucker!


Is Mark in Toronto another of your aliases? Funny how the two of you are never in the blog together. :)

One nut will still get you where you need to go.

Inside Linebackers:

Read & React: C.J.Mosley. By far the best in this class according to most scouts. Sees and senses what is coming and has the athleticism and agility to do something about it.

Run Defense: Shayne Skov. Power in his hands to fight through blocks and securely wrestle ballcarriers to the ground.

Pass Defense: Christian Jones. Can play every linebacker position with speed and lateral explosiveness to trail tight ends and running backs.

Tackling: Chris Borland. Considered a tackling machine. Some compare him to Zach Thomas. Doesn't take no for an answer. Textbook tackler and try-hard pursuit player.

Pass Rush/Blitz: Yawin Smallwood. Capable of playing outside in a blitzing role with natural feel for pass rushing.

Intangibles: James Morris. A "permanent" team captain since 2012, Morris was academic All-Big Ten and a National Honor Society member plus a four year starter.

agreed ETF @ 2:53.

You ideally shouldn't even look at a player's position when you draft him... you should look at his ceiling as a player...

That's why I never jumped on the Zach Martin bandwagon, same reason I never loved the Mike Pouncey pick. Solid players but every other team in the league is filling out interior o line positions with mid round picks and UDFAs. Yes, secondary positions on the o line is our biggest need but it doesn't mean it should be your first and seocnd pick especially when the guys drafted around you will be putting up 140 tackles a year or putting up 1200 receiving yards...

I'd be shocked if the Dolphins use their first round pick on a RB...I don't see it...

Phil Kessel has one nut ... most dangerous goal scorer in the NHL.




Of course Mtl they won't use the first pick on a RB... this isn't 1998 ..

With an improved o-line, I like the thought of having Moreno and Miller...I can live with that...As long as I don't see Daniel Thomas anymore, I'll be happy. LOL!

was it 19th overall?

No it was 31st, practically a 2nd pick... and there is no Doug martin in this draft... and itf there was it surely isn't Carlos "Ron Dayne" Hyde.

I'm afraid a paint job will not help Wallace. He is just not a #1 receiver and neither is Hartline.

And blaming Tannehill because he can not turn them into #1 receivers is not an answer. It is a dumb observation.

Mark, Brendan Shanahan will be running the show now for the Leafs. Good move?

Of course Mtl they won't use the first pick on a RB... this isn't 1998 ..

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 03:01 PM



I'll take the Terrance West, RB Towson in the 4th round, then promptly cut Daniel Thomas.

SAM we all know who the gutless name changing pukes are, lol it's obvious.

If they take a RB at 19 I will give my right nut to New Hampshire so he will have 2.

was it 19th overall?

No it was 31st, practically a 2nd pick... and there is no Doug martin in this draft... and itf there was it surely isn't Carlos "Ron Dayne" Hyde.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 03:02 PM



The original statement was rb are no longer drafted 1st rd. Since 31st is "PRACTCALLY 2ND R", We are now only:




Did Doug Martin get Tampa into the Super Bowl?

yes, EK, of course but because Tannehill made them functional, of course we don't even need to look at WR. despite the fact we are way overpaying both of them and developing a young player or two can save our cap upwards of $20M in cap savings in the future... no, of course WR is not an option...

Not likely ... but it shoudl be an option.

Come on Mtl, the Leafs are beyond fixing ... as long as their players feel like rock stars like POS Phaneuf ... they will never win.

The only hope was Tim Leiweke and now the news is he will leave soon due to the Bell/Rogers board infighting .. much a mamalukes running the teams in my city, man...

Posted by: EVERYBODY KNOWS | April 15, 2014 at 03:10 PM

Josh Freeman hugely regressed in his 3rd season. Just what is feared most in Tannehill. They still have a great rb.

Did Doug Martin get Tampa into the Super Bowl?
Posted by: EVERYBODY KNOWS | April 15, 2014 at 03:10 PM

How could Doug Martin take the team anywhere with Hickey as (career) backup GM?

Sam doesn't even know where the Arctic is (let alone how to even spell it correctly).

He should join forces with that other brainiac here who was insisting that Iranians are Arabs a few months ago to see who can be crowned "Second Dumbest Poster on Dolphins in Depth."

2watt has first place locked down.

Mark, Don Cherry and I agree only hiring Dougie Gilmour will fix that team.


We must give Tannehill more time in the pocket...And he needs to show better pocket awareness...He was part of the problem, don't be fooled...But with a better running game and decent protection, his sack number should drop by at least half...

Posted by: #1 Dolphin Fan in Montreal | April 15, 2014 at 02:35 PM

Finally, a close to honest post!

However, even with time to throw Tannehill could not hit the beep ball. Pocket presence can not be coached.

Run game? Im blasted for suggesting the CONSENSUS #1 RB in the draft as our 1st pick. LMAO!

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 02:42 PM

His deep ball needs to improve, no doubt, but you don't give up on a kid that threw 24TDs and for almost 4000 yards. THAT WOULD BE INSANE! Fix the o-line and give him some weapons and we'll see what happens. I'm willing to bet Tannehill will be even better in 2014. Maybe that's just the fan in me, who knows.

SAM, if the Phins do trade down and get Hyde in the last 5 picks of the 1st rd, that I think would be good value.
MIT, the Phins are stuck with Wallace's and Hartline's contract for several years to come. Unless they pull off some miracle and trade either one, I just can't see them picking WR in the first.


I just went to TJ Maxx and bought 2 boxes of them. Now I can wear my Henne jersey and Venture undies and dream that I am both of my heros.

In that draft with Martin (31st pick) Tampa also drafted Barron S from Alabama with the 7th pick.

Hickey also been part of a draft that had 2 HOF's in Brooks and Sapp.

Hickey was also part of a draft that took Mike Clayton with the 15th pick.

Does all that really matter in the 2014 draft? The only part that does for me is the guy is very experienced.

This will be the 1st draft where Hickey is making the final decision. I am sure it will be said to be a corroboration of coach and GM.

Texas--"collaboration," not "corroboration."

would not
be insane

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 02:42 PM

Of course a better solution to drafting a mediocre RB is to build a very good offensive line that fits the zone scheme better than what we have had.


- Get coffee
- Walk the paper with the selection up to the stage and hand it to the commish
- Get more coffee
- Arrange handjobs for the GM and his entourage for the nights following the draft
- Get donuts and more coffee

When I put an end to the Court there ware at least fifty persons in prision in great misery by reason of the extream cold and their poverty, most of them having only spectre evidence against them and their mittimusses being defective, I caused some of them to be lettout upon bayle and put the Judges upon consideration of a way to reliefe others and to prevent them from perishing in prision, upon which some of them were convinced and acknowledged that their former proceedings were too violent and not grounded upon a right foundation ... The stop put to the first method of proceedings hath dissipated the blak cloud that threatened this Province with destruccion.

It would be a reach to grab Hyde before the 3rd round and if I am GM I wouldn't take a chance on him until the 4th.

I have Hill, West and Williams ahead of Hyde in the big back category.

Not in the same category but would have Mason and Sankey ahead of him too and they would also be ahead of the other big backs I mention.

Hill, Sankey or Mason will come off the board first and that will be in the 2nd round.

This is just my humble opinion.

I always feel bad for the few bright lights this team finds throughout the years. Zach Thomas, Ricky Williams, Jason Taylor, now Cam Wake

All rotted their careers away playing for a perennial loser.

Tannehill will be gone and forgotten with the rest of the QB corpses since Dan.


According to Spotrac,

Wallace can be cut as soon as 2015 and have a cap benefit.

Savings of ~ $3m in 2015
$13.7M in 2016
$13.7M in 2017.

So they are really only stuck with him this year.

Hartline, can be cut as early as 2015 for cap relief and will save the team

2015 $7.4M
2016 $7.6m
2017 $7.6M

so this is the big picture view I talk about when I think WR could/should be an option. We will be paying our starting WRs $20M combined starting this year and are only comitted to it this year.

I don't think WR will be the pick but maybe it should. It would do the team will to relieve itself of some of these contracts. This definitely is not a $20M combo...

Thanks Editor, that is correct.

Posted by: #1 Dolphin Fan in Montreal | April 15, 2014 at 03:19 PM

With the huge depth of OTs and WRs this year it would be crazy to take one of those at #19. How many times am I going to say this? We need help at ILB, RB, S depth. btw, Carlos Hyde has NOT been invited for a pre-draft workout here.

The Dolphins shouldn't feel "forced" to go o-line in the first round for one simple reason...This draft is considered a very deep draft for o-linemen. This is the kind of draft you can grab a LT in the 5th round and he would become a solid NFL starter. I would still go o-line in the first (Just my opinion of course) but I can't say I'd be shocked if they don't. Having said that, they better make sure they get at least 2 good ones... I'm not entirely sold on Shelley Smith and Jason Fox...I think Martin at RG would solve a big problem...And give me Jawuan James to play RT...

Marc, don't feel bad for any of those guys... Zach, JT made in excess of $70M playing for the Dolphins.

Cam Wake may still be working a summer job if Miami didn't rescue him from the BC Lions.

Ricky well, you may feel sorry for him since he rolled the most expensive blunt in the history of mankind and pizzed away about $40M but that was his own doing...and he still came out a deca millionaire thanks to Bill Parcells.

We still need to get up every day to work...

Horse meet wagon. Wagon pull horse.

Wr before having a real qb. Lmao!

I agree Mark and that is not to mention the knee injuries in 2 of the players with fairly high salaries. Hartline and Gibson.

The only position of need we failed to fill in free agency was RT...therefore one can conclude that filling the RT position with the best available talent would be a wise decision at #19(barring any trades).

A first round pick should help you win. The young QB they had helped them more than a RB. Which is the Point.

Oscar, problem is, ILB, RB and S, who do see worthy of drafting at 19? Mosley? Highly unlikely he'll still be there...Pryor? Should we really spend our first round pick on a safety? And which RB would you take at 19?

Week 14 Tannehill 24 tds

Week 17 Tannehill 24 tds

Enuff said!

MarK. It's not about the money man! Those guys play for GLORY! Money is secondary. Ricky was an idiot. He COULD have shattered all types of records.

But to know that no matter what they did they were wasting their glory years away on a pathetic franchise...It's just sad!

That's very flawed logic NH... @ 3:31

You should be thinking how much better is the guy in the first round than the guys in the 2nd/3rd round.

For example, if Zach martin turns out to be Vernon Carey (who was picked in almost the very same spot) and the next guy is Vince Wilfork.. then it's not a wise decision. OT was the dolphins biggest need that year too...


How about the high profile safety, Pryor. Have you seen an invite on the menu for him?

In a deep draft for OL and WR I think it would be crazy to pass on the best ones you can get at the strength positions.

Guys, if you think the Dolphins (or any other team) can mount an effective offense without at least a DECENT offensive line up front you are kidding yourselves.

It cannot be done. There is no coaching wizardry to hide it. No magical schemes, no "creative" game planning to get around it.

When your quarterback is under constant pressure and your backs don't even have a sliver of daylight to run through there is NO hope of consistently moving the football REGARDLESS of who is at the skill positions.

And there is no defensive coordinator in the NFL who cannot and will not take advantage of that talent deficiency.

Miami had the worst OL in football last year. By FAR the worst in the history of the franchise.

It MUST be the draft priority, and I'm sure it will be.

You guys going on about drafting a RB in the first round or Tannehill or whatever are completely missing the true nature of the problem.


Mark, Zack Martin could turn out to be the next Vernon Carey...But he also could turn out to be the next Mike Lupati...I mean, that's what drafting is...It's a gamble and you just hope it pays off...Same could be said about all the other players as well...

Marc, you'd like to think they play for the glory, don;t you?

Well maybe Zach did .. he had a rich daddy, never needed to play.

JT was pushing himself into the media spotlight as soon as he could get rid of hsi football playing days.

And Ricky would've been a holisitic healer if it paid the same.

Those guys were given the best tables and the best deals on cars and clothes for almsot two decades in an area with some of the hottest women on earth. We'd shorten our lives by 20 years to have the same career and life.

seattle ol
worse than phinz
how did that
4 the c hawks ?
next !

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