You know that moment when teams that haven't won anything start paying young players who haven't won anything big salaries? That is a bad moment.
And that is where the Dolphins are getting to this offseason.
They are getting there with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who is likely going to get a $17-$18 million-a-year contract in the coming months because, as general manager Dennis Hickey said, QB salaries are what they are in the NFL -- even when the QB has never been to the playoffs or a Pro Bowl.
They are there with center Mike Pouncey, who is getting a new deal this offseason. At least Pouncey has been to the Pro Bowl.
And if they want to keep tight end Charles Clay and/or defensive tackle Jared Odrick they are going to be there with the two impending unrestricted free agents.
Clay's camp believes he's going to get a deal worth $6 million per season, according to The Herald's Adam Beasley. And he's going to get it either from the Dolphins or another team.
I've been told Odrick's camp, meanwhile, is certain their client will also get a deal whose floor is $6 million a year before free agency is over because Odrick has proven himself valuable as either a 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end.
You know how much that's going to cost the Dolphins to keep these players in 2015? It will cost approximately $30-36 million on an annual basis for players the Dolphins last year paid $5.21 million in base salary combined.
Indeed, the Dolphins invested $10.63 million in 2014 cap space on the four players combined. To keep them all this year will require about twice that cap space, if not more.
That's just to hold serve.
That's just to continue running in place.
That's just to not lose ground on talent.
For a team that has been 8-8 the last two years.
So what's the answer?
Well, I suppose the Dolphins could pay and keep everyone happy. But I don't abide that approach. I make difficult decisions, friends. I do not pay extra for players who are good but not great.
In other words, I cannot pay Charles Clay $6 million per year. Sorry.
Clay is a solid player. He's a 50-70 catches per year guy. He's a 500-700 yards a year guy. He's a 3-6 TD a year guy, maybe better with a great QB. But $6 million per year?
I let Clay go out and test the market. And if he finds that $6 million a year deal, from the Bills or anyone else, I wish him well.
And then I pick Clive Walford in the second round or Nick O'Leary (who reminds me of a slower Clay with better hands) in the fourth or fifth round. Cheap and possible long-term upgrade there.
Mando quickie plan: I sign Mike Iupati or Orlando Franklin in free agency to fill a guard spot. I ask Billy Turner to start at the other guard. I draft CB Trae Waynes from Michigan State in the first round. I pick Walford or a MLB in the second round. If I don't get Walford, I get O'Leary on Saturday or Sunday of the draft.
Hickey said tough decisions were coming this offseason. You should be starting to get the picture why he said that.