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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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Cam Wake was not a completely unknown talent. At least a half dozen other NFL teams were attempting to sign him before the Dolphins did.

Mtl, which is why i say take the player with the highest ceiling. Only o lineman I see worthy of 19 is Lewan and odds are he will be gone..

Mark, excellent point at 03:38...That I agree with you 100%...

Wish the draft would hurry, we do our usual screw up, and get it over.

All of the predraft hype and anticipation, "all for naught" as usual for dolfans.

Then, comes offseason and Mark in Toronto can brag about players we did not have a need for, but any simple idiot knows they would be successful. But we had ZERO NEED for.

In Miami, nothing changes, nothing changes, not even Mark in Toronto. Our own local blatant Mr. Obvious. Offseason boring us again.

Seatle's OL worse than the Dolphins??

Well, considering the dumbest person on this blog posted that I'll just laugh.

Actually Sam

Tannehill did not play well after Gibson got hurt. He did not have anyone to throw the ball to.

Yes Cam Wake was being pursued but how many of those teams would've given him the same opportunity?

Miami was his best fit, he knew it too. JT had just been traded and we lacked for edge rushers. And he's made a nice living for himself where in other places, it may have not been so clear cut.

Point is, no reason to feel bad for Cam Wake .. ever.

the way it is @ 3:37

Finally the truth is spoken.

Not taking OL first would be a big mistake.
Taking the 5th best T at 19 would also be a mistake.
The only solution: trade into the top 5 and take the est OL not the 5th or 6th best.

or trade up to 14 and do the same while giving up less, yes ETF, there we agree

I know, I know...I like Lewan too.. But who knows? It's still a gamble...My point is the highest ceiling is not always what we think...How many of us thought we had our LT position solved for at least 5-6 years when we drafted Long? You never know...I get what you're saying but it's not always easy...And Martin is no slouch, a lot of people (Armando included apparently) think he'll be gone by the time we're on the clock...We'll see I guess...

Does anyone know how many starting right tackles in the Nfl were taken in the first round?

Since the Dolphins have been nothing but one big 3 RING CIRCUS this entire century. Why not trade to #1 overall and take a CLOWN?

OOPS, I meant CLOWNEY...



EK, I agree taking a guy who's ceiling is being an NFL Rt (Zach Martin, I am looking at you) is a mistake .. but if you trade up for Lewan, you get a guy who eventually should be your LT ... difference there.

And knowing Albert's history for at least one or two games next year, it's likely we will need someone not named Albert to play LT.

I guess re-signing MckInnie for that alone would be wise. But that is also some of the appeal of Lewan over Martin. I know it's more likely we end up with Martin over Lewan. history as a fan tells me that. Just don't expect me to be overjoyed about it.

Why is a "three ring circus" drafting 19th? Shouldn't we be drafting 1st?

Mark, the Dolphins seem to like Seantrel Henderson a lot...I can see them using a late pick on the guy...And a chance to compete with Fox I guess...But that's not very reassuring...

Why is a "three ring circus" drafting 19th? Shouldn't we be drafting 1st?

Posted by: EVERYBODY KNOWS | April 15, 2014 at 03:52 PM

As a wise poster here commonly states:

"Its the qb stupid! Eh?"

Too tired to wade through 8 pages of posts, articulate and relevant as they may be. Yep.
Mando said "Verdict: Nobody's fault but it was a disaster."...as regards Dustin Keller "era."
With due respect to Armando, I'd say tell that to Dustin. Tanny put 2 receivers on IR in one season. That has to be an NFL record.

Tanny does that one more time, you'll have to put the initials "CK" after his name, as in CAREER KILLER.


I like Lewan but not as much as you. I wouldn't trade up for him but if Matthews or Robinson fell I would for either 1 of them.

In 2012 Larry Fitzgerald had his worst stats since his first year in the league. Was that his fault, or the lack of a QB?

Be careful drafting at the WR position when you still have questions about your QB. Question is, how much does the GM trust his QB will be the real deal this season?


Mtl, has to be balance somewhere. Just as I would make a sour look at martin being picked first, if they waited until picking Henderson to be their answer, I would panic.

This guy may be a pick but he won't see the field next year. He's a reclamation project with high upside. personally I think it's a waste of time. It's like trying to turn a ho into a housewife .. to steal a line from the Dre 2001 release...

phinz receivers
1st stop-Lloyds of London
2nd stop-camp davie

Texas, what are the odds of that happening?

matthews? pff

Mark, I just don't know how you deal with injuries. I guess you just start with the best guys you can find to start the season and then react the best you can.

I would rather start the season with a wide receiver who can get open quick and albert at LT than to start the season with Wallace, Hartline and Matthews at WR and Lewan at back-up LT.

I joke about Matthews, yes of course he would be worthy of a trade up too...

Perfect Offseason... wink...wink..

1. Make sure Tannehill has more time o send more receiver to IR.

2. Use all the rest of our picks at the receiver position.

Why would Lewan be your backup LT, he'd be your starting RT and LT in waiting. I do like the WR option too but the Lewan pick has a great chance for immediate and future dividends..

deity = MORON
dbo the great = MORON
Dashi = MORON
Darkoak = MORON
Craig M = MORON

Sam, if you think that is a wise post, I understand you a little better now.

Sam, that line about Tannehill sending WRs to the IR is the stupidest, most ridiculous, retarded comment EVER on this blog. Makes ZERO sense. I'm sure you can do better than that...If not, there's no hope.

phins 2014 practice squad

Sam, at 3:41...

you can
1) skip my posts
2) Not come in here
3) go fukk yourself

All three options would relieve you of this excruciating existence you put youself through whenever you come in here.

You are a special kind of retard my friend, someone who purposely exposes himself to things that bother himself of so much in life...

lewan isnt an option. im hoping they deal jordan to eagles for there first rounder.

More team get in more trouble drafting upside, instead of fully proven football players.

I don't hear any football experts talking about Sammy Watkins up side.

Drafting up side means a certain region of this gm's head that needs a good smack.

is that u?

Posted by: #1 Dolphin Fan in Montreal | April 15, 2014 at 04:05 PM

You're welcome. :)

Mtl, especially since he didn't send one WR to the IR all year.

Gibson was hurt on a landing with no defender around him on a nicely thrown ball

Same with hartline, he hurt himself being in a hurry to get to the turf before anyone came close to him.

This guy is a special kind of stupid...

I guess there's no hope...LOL!! I guess Brady sucks because Gronk got hurt right? Or is that different? In other words it applies for Tannehill but not Brady...Ok, you make a lot of sense dude...Really...

Mark in Toronto

Looks like I turned you again. Heeheehee.... I always make you look. :)

Sam, i must of missed the draft that included fully proven NFL players...

Fukk, when i think you couldn't get more stupid you impress me more every day.

Of course they talk about Watkins upside you blithering idiot... whenever they project what he can do at the NFL level, theya re projecting because he hasn't done it.

Fukk, just go kill yourself, man...totally useless husk of almost human existence.

mark u realize the guy is just a hater trying to get anyone to respond right

Well, when you address me personally, I look

Now get me out of your mouth, you old battleax

Fukk it's embarassing for a 60 year old man to behanve like you do, really.

Posted by: #1 Dolphin Fan in Montreal | April 15, 2014 at 04:09 PM

not everybody dusty, me...
he's a raging h0m0

Very slim Montreal, very slim.

Aliases, sorry, but I've been posting on here for a very long time...Under the same name...But you can believe what you want, who cares...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 04:09 PM

Turned you again, made you look. Boy, are you stupid. Hee-hee-hee....

Or should I say, hee-haw...hee-haw...hee-haw...

MIT @ 4:11

As far as i know the only 60 year old that comes here is oscar but i have not seen him all afternoon.
Is there another 60 year old?
Or are you seeing oscar when he s not really there?


Where is my friend Dashi, I have not seen him since the weekend I think.

YG was there to witness the glory that was Manny Fernandez and to him Wahoo McDaniel was a Miami Dolphin, not a pro wrestler... guy's balls get tucked into his socks...

hahaa, made you look, what a tool...

Just ask for my autographed 8*10 and save yourself any further embarassment

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 04:17 PM

Looks like I'll be turning you all afternoon. Making you look at me, eh?

Hee-haw... Hee-haw... Hee-haw, Jackass! :)

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 15, 2014 at 04:18 PM

If your EGO was only 8 x 10, you would be a much better human being. :)

As a wise poster here commonly states:

"Its the qb stupid! Eh?"

Posted by: SAM I AM | April 15, 2014 at 03:55 PM

And by wise poster he means himself and his other fifteen aliases. Because this idiot is also ape tamer. He's an amateur comedian who's been booed off so many stages he figured he would try his comedy routines on web blogs. Interestingly enough he's even worse when you can't see him.

Posted by: sheep | April 15, 2014 at 04:24 PM

Either I'm turning Mar in Toronto under different aliases. Or, the blog audience has more than one jackass. Hee-haw...Hee-haw...Hee-haw....


hahah @ 4:24

Different aliases is your schtick YG, you tart...

It's oscars hooker day he has several transvestite hookers that visit him every Tuesday afternoon and he indulges in very gay sex and other activities so let him have his fun

Boys we are 3 weeks from a draft so let's boogie

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