Olivier Vernon is a starting defensive end for the Miami Dolphins about to start his fourth season with the team. Derrick Shelby is a reserve defensive end for the Miami Dolphins about to start his fourth season with the team.
And, in a strange quirk of the rules and the salary cap, Shelby is going to make more money than Vernon in 2015.
The Dolphins Monday night tendered Shelby, a restricted free agent, the $2.35 million necessary to put a second-round compensation tag on him. That tag ensures that no other team will sign Shelby because no one will want to give up a second-round pick in exchange.
The reason Shelby was restricted is because he came into the league as an undrafted free agent and had not signed a long-term deal.
Vernon came into the league as a third-round pick and signed a four-year rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $1.532 million this year in the final year of his original deal.
He'll make nearly $1 million less than Shelby.
Obviously all this will change next year when both Vernon and Shelby are scheduled to hit free agency. The Dolphins are likely to try to extend or re-sign Vernon.
But for one year, the money is greater for Shelby -- the reserve player.
The Dolphins, by the way, could have tendered Shelby lower. They could have given him the $1.52 tender but that would not ensure they would keep him. Shelby could have gone into free agency and sought a better deal without any compensation due any interested team because, again, he was an undrafted free agent originally.
And the lower tender compensates the team losing the player with original draft round compensation -- which in Shelby's case would have meant nothing coming back to Miami.
Shelby had 27 tackles and three sacks for the Dolphins in 2014.