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Friday night notes: Dolphins' cap-clearing; Larranaga addresses issues; Fox reaction and more details on Marlins' announcing hires today

Some notes on a Friday night:

### Today's release of Quinton Coples and Brice McCain saves the Dolphins $10.3 million in cap space and a lot more will be created in the coming weeks.

Cap guru Joel Corry said as of Tuesday, the Dolphins were $1.5 million over the cap. But as Corry noted, that doesn't factor in the $2.1 million in credits for incentives not met.

So today's moves, using Corry's math, should leave the Dolphins with close to $11 million in space. The Dolphins have the contractual right to restructure Ndamukong Suh and have said they're interested in doing that. That move would save another $18 million, creating $29 million in space.

Releasing Greg Jennings would save another $4 million and cutting Jordan Cameron --- who instead might be restructured --- would save $7.5 million.

So that would bring the total in cap space to $41 million, without even yet dealing with Brent Grimes and Cameron Wake, who remain under contract but are candidates for restructurings.

Cutting Koa Misi would save $3.7 million. So that would bring the total to nearly $45 million --- if Jennings, Cameron and Misi are cut.


Coach Jim Larranaga, whose team is 19-4 and 8-3 in the ACC, wanted to make one thing clear this week: "We’re not winning because of me. We’re winning because of Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed and Tonye Jekiri. Because they’re really good. They know how to play. We’re competing in the league with the most efficient teams in the country. Give my assistants credit."

Larranaga obviously deserves a large chunk of the credit, as does a staff including longtime assistant Chris Caputo, who was instrumental in the recruitment of Ja'Quan Newton, among others.

### Larranaga, on talk of UM being a potential No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament: "Have you looked at our schedule for the remainder of the season? We are heading into the toughest part of our ACC schedule. We have road game at Florida State, a road game at Carolina  --- the No. 1 team in the country last week; and then we end the season at Notre Dame, at Virginia Tech. And two of our three at home are Virginia and Louisville, which are in the top 10 in the country in Kenpom [ratings, with Virginia Tech the other home game]. And I’m like, ‘Are you serious?’”

### Larranaga said he "can't believe" McClellan wasn't on the Wooden Watch list this week: "I value efficiency. Sheldon is No. 2 in the country in offensive efficiency. He’s great."

What could he do to solidify himself as a first-round pick? "Probably shoot more," Larranaga said. "People look at points. They don’t look at efficiency. It’s disappointing. As long as he keeps playing the way he’s playing, we’re in good shape."

McClellan is averaging 16.1 points and shooting an impressive 53.4 percent from the field.

UM plays at FSU at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.


### As we reported in the last blog, the Marlins and Fox Sports Florida’s search to replace ousted TV analyst Tommy Hutton ended Friday with a decision to split the package among three former big-leaguers with Marlins ties: Al Leiter, Eduardo Perez and Preston Wilson.

Fox offered some insight on the decision in a conversation late this afternoon.

First, a bit of background: Leiter and Wilson played for the Marlins, with Leiter throwing the first no-hitter in team history and going 11-9 for Marlins’ 1997 championship team. Perez was the Marlins’ hitting coach from June 2011 through the 2012 season.

Fox and the Marlins originally preferred to find one analyst to work the entire 150-game package alongside Rich Waltz, according to a source with direct knowledge. But some of the most appealing candidates, including Leiter and Perez, were available for only partial packages.

Leiter will continue to work some Yankees games on YES Network and make appearances on MLB Network, while Perez will remain an ESPN analyst.

Brett Opdyke, Fox Sports Florida’s executive producer, said it’s undetermined how many games will be handled by each analyst or who would work the most, though he said Leiter is expected to work fewer than 50. He wouldn’t rule out occasionally using three in the booth --- Waltz and two of the analysts.

“This is new for us,” Opdyke said. “We’ve gone the traditional route a long time. It’s something we saw as a cool opportunity, fresh perspective. We won’t be rotating a guy in every night. We’re looking at a full series [at a time], so the fan at home isn’t [hearing] a new guy every night. We don’t see any downside.”

Leiter, 49, pitched three seasons for the Marlins, finishing 162-132 in a 19-year career. “You feel the energy when he’s broadcasting the game,” Opdyke said. “He’s a guy with a great national perspective.”

Perez, 46, who played 14 big-league seasons as a first baseman and third baseman and outfielder, was released from the Marlins coaching staff after 2012, then spent a season as Houston's bench coach in 2013 and worked for ESPN the past two seasons, his second stint with the network.

“He’s an excellent, excellent broadcaster,” Opdyke said. “With [father] Tony Perez being on staff with the Marlins, he’s ingrained here in our marketplace.”

Wilson, 44, played for the Marlins for 4 1/2 years of a 10-year career in which he hit .264 with 189 homers and 668 RBI. Though he has worked a few games in the booth, he primarily has served as a studio analyst on Marlins cablecasts and will continue in that role when he’s not calling games.

“Preston has outstanding vision for the game,” Opdyke said. “He’s excitable and really enjoys what he’s doing.”

Opdyke said “there was a lot of interest” in the job and a nationwide search has been ongoing since December.

Fox has consistently declined to explain the decision to drop Hutton after 19 seasons, though multiple sources said the Marlins thought he was too at negative at times. We've been critical of the decision and continue to believe it was a big mistake.

Fox did not make the new announcers available for comment today. Fox and the Marlins were both involved in the search and mutually agreed on the hires.

### Seeking veteran left-handed relief depth beyond Mike Dunn, the Marlins agreed to terms with veteran Craig Breslow, 35, who is 22-27 with a 3.31 ERA and eight saves in 11 seasons.

He pitched the past four seasons with the Red Sox and went 0-4 with a 4.15 ERA last season. He will make $1.5 million if he makes the team, according to Boston radio station WEEI.

If you missed it, please see our last post on former Dolphins' struggles with brain damage... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz