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Ireland happy, cap in good shape, more moves coming

Jeff Ireland landed the one that could not get away. He landed Mike Wallace.

So how does the Dolphins general manager feel about that?

He's pleased.

"We are pleased to reach an agreement with Mike Wallace," Ireland said in a statement. "He has a unique skill set which we believe will be a welcomed addition to our offense. We are looking forward to his contributions to the team."

The Dolphins just announced the Wallace signing because it took a while to hammer out some final language on the deal and get it approved by the league. The team also had to wait for Wallace to take a physical.

The Dolphins also made official the one-year contract for safety Chris Clemons. The club did not make official the signing of Phillip Wheeler as he was flying across country to South Florida this evening or Dannell Ellerbe, who also was flying into town.

"We are also happy to announce an extension with Chris," Ireland added. "He has been a valuable contributor to the team the last four years, and we are glad he will remain a member of the Miami Dolphins."

Valuable but not invaluable. The Dolphins have shown that they're willing to stick with Clemons as the short-term answer at safety. But they are not ready to make a multi-year commitment. He needs to play better for that.

Meanwhile, all the day's activity will leave the Dolphins with approximately $20 million in salary cap space. That is not all available.

The team will budget approximately $6 million for the draft, another $3.2 million for the practice squad and another $2 million for emergency moves during the season. Obviously this is an in-season budget and not the Top 51 cap figure.

The Dolphins can create cap space by cutting players -- as they did today with Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett.

(Example: In replacing Burnett with Phillip Wheeler, the club saved $800,000 in cap space. That is, Burnett's cap savings of $3.2 million (including $2.5 million of dead money) minus the $2.4 million cap charge Wheeler will carry this year.)

Possible future cap casualties include Dimitri Patterson ($4.6 million savings), Richard Marshall ($4.6 million savings), Davone Bess ($2.6 million savings) and Dan Carpenter ($2.6 million savings).

I'm not saying the Dolphins will release those players for cap reasons tomorrow. I am saying they are all candidates to be cut if they do not perform or the team needs cap room. They should all tread lightly.