Dolphins keeping cap numbers on new contracts very low in 2013

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Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland is going all in.

Specifically, he’s signing players to contracts that use minimal cap space in 2013, with the obvious goal of getting as many impact players as possible on the field this year, in the hopes of turning the team’s fortunes around.

From receiver Brian Hartline ($2.15 million of a five-year, $30.775 million deal) to quarterback Matt Moore ($2.5 million of a two-year, $8 million deal) to receiver Mike Wallace ($3.25 million of a five-year, $60 million deal) to linebacker Dannell Ellerbe ($2.425 million of a five-year, $35 million deal) to linebacker Phillip Wheeler ($2.4 million of a five-year, $26 million deal), those five contracts account for a total of only $12.725 million in 2013 cap space.

Next year, with Hartline’s number going to $6.2 million, Moore’s moving to $5.5 million, Wallace’s skyrocketing to $17.75 million, Ellerbe’s inflating to $7.425 million, and Wheeler’s growing to $6.4 million, the combined cap numbers for the same five players become $43.275 million.

So, basically, the Dolphins won’t be spending quite as freely next year.  Depending on the rest of the contracts that are on the books for 2014, they could be hustling to clear cap space.

81 responses to “Dolphins keeping cap numbers on new contracts very low in 2013

  1. Setting themselves up to be screwed in no time!

    Half of these signings will be cut within 2-3 years to avoid massive payouts.

    Ireland is a joke and this team will never be good as long as he is the GM.

  2. Rent a player… Dolphins sound like its a now or never thing. Gonna hurt in the long term!

  3. Ireland knows its either this year that the team produces or its him looking for the next team to work with.

  4. This could hurt them later and put them in cap hell, just like the Jets. Maybe that’s why the Giants are really smart about how they spend money.

  5. that’s the smart thing to do. They should hold their money until they see what pieces they need to stop Chip Kelly’s world domination tour 2013.

  6. Nothing like putting off today what you can do tomorrow! Get a clue Miami, this is embarrassing.

  7. Once a GM has his shot and fails you have to move on. All bringing back Ireland did was ensure the dolphins are in salary cap hell in a year or two. The Dolphins are a 7-9 team at best. They would have been better served starting over and building the thing the right way.

  8. Moore will be gone by then. They’ll also be able to roll over the unused space from this year.

    To me it just looks like it allows them to keep their options open this year.

  9. Jeez, Mike even you know how silly you sound in this article. Do you really think all these guys will be on Roster and get paid. With 10 picks in the upcoming Draft even often criticized J. Ireland will no doubt land a few keepers. We also have a Starting QB that costs nothing compare to 75% of the Teams. I think this is wise if they want to get better sooner than later. It is not like they are building through FA alone. The Dolphins may not be Bowl Bound immediately, but they are improving and getting younger. Did you really think any Team was going to get Mike Wallace for less than Bowe and Harvin? Finally, what should the Fins do with the Cap space… save it in thr bank to earn interest. It has to spent and fortunately the Dolphins are the 3rd richest team.

  10. To be more precise, Ireland’s replacement won’t be spending quite as freely next year.

  11. Depending on the rest of the contracts that are on the books for 2014, they could be hustling to clear cap space.

    -so too difficult to check into it, or would the facts get in the way of printing nonsense?

    5 big contracts on the books and people cry

  12. Same thing the Marlins did. Sign big name guys, get the fans excited to pass stadium funding, then cut bait and run once you’ve got your stadium deal locked up.

  13. No way Mike Wallace ever makes the huge numbers at the end of his deal. It’s surprising that players and their agents still fall for this.

  14. This is a pr stunt, they want Broward and Dade counties t help pay for stadium renovations, last season their attendance was way down, they’d better field a winner, quickly in order to get public support for the public money they are seeking, they have two years to do it.

  15. As a Fins fan this no doubt worries me.Banking so much on production this year? This mid-Back heavy contracts are sketchy.1 False move or injury now and your sure to get cut doesn’t matter if your name is Mike Wallace.

  16. It’s nice they have the cap room, but when was the last time this kind of spending produced a SB winner? A handful of teams in this league have it all figured out – the rest are just chucking darts at a nickel-sized dartboard year after year.

  17. Chips “D” is potent. He spreads it all over and it can’t be stopped. Up the middle, from the side, doesn’t matter. He thrusts forward to victory. EAGLES!

  18. This is a classic example of a desperate team taking desperate, and ill-considered, measures.

    This is a franchise in big trouble.

    Bringing in a lot of high-priced FAs to a team that doesn’t have a strong culture (at least not in recent years) of winning often results in a team that is unable to realize the best from its high priced players. Even the best run teams need time for veteran FAs to learn their system, etc.

    By the time Miami is able to swallow all their new acquisitions (if they don’t choke on them instead) they will be forced to release/restructure players because of salary cap issues and will have a hard time re-signing their own FAs.

    Miami certainly isn’t the first team to try to buy a Super Bowl via free agency. But given where the franchise is right now- can’t sell tickets and facing a big need to upgrade their stadium- a botched attempt to buy a playoff run could lead to Jacksonville South.

  19. Hahahaha! This is hysterical! Ireland is trying to save the organization, while destroying it at the same time. They’ll be in cap hell in no time. He’s just trying to save his face this year, because next year is trouble.

  20. Desperate men make desperate moves. Kick the can down the road. Jeff Ireland should be in the US Senate! ‘Fins have no chance as long as Brady plays. Now they have to get a LT to protect their QB THIS year, because next year and beyond will be “cap hell”. If they can trade up, making future years at risk, to get one of the stud LT’s, he is expected to protect Tanny. Big risk. Good luck Jeff.

  21. Flavordave, whatever angle Chip’s D has been thrusting you from, you still need to get off it. Eagles wont even make .500 this season.

  22. I have to add more because I just did some research. This is an illusion. We let Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Dansby, Burnett, S.Smith all walk and take their big due monies. H-E-L-L-O ! The Dolphins just swapped out younger (maybe better) players. We have not played the season yet to determine what you genuises already know for a fact. However, the finances are only slightly higher for next year and we went 7-9 with that cast. I like it. Those that say this is for the Stadium… that has merit, but it would never pass anyway. Believe it or not, the Dolphin organization just wants to field a better product. Go figure

  23. Seriously people look it up. They have the youngest roster in the league. They still have close to $30 mill in cap space for this year. And $30 mill next year plus this years rollover. They aren’t spending themselves into cap hell just because they signed Mike Wallace. The linebacker moves actually saved them money. This team is going to be a playoff contender for years to come. Get your jokes in while you still can…

  24. Actually, the fact that Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller are still under their rookie deals for 4, 2 and 4 years respectively means that they don’t have large amount of cap space dedicated to QB and RB’s that most teams do.

    They’ll be fine in 2014.

    Haters gonna hate.

  25. I have absolutely zero problem with it. And for those commenting on the Marlins, get a clue. The team finished in dead last with those players and Loria got the stadium paid for with his own cash and a hotel bed tax. Please try to live in a fact based world

    The Dolphins did overpay for Wallace but are actually saving money on Ellerbee and Wheeler compared to Dansby and Burnett but again, what good are facts?

  26. Cap Roll Over Folks. Miami is still roughly $30 Million under the Cap for 2013. Plus Burnett and Dansby getting cut saved big money in 2014. Burnett and Dansby would have combined for roughly $20 Million in Cap Hits.

  27. You should know they have just as many contracts expiring next year. It was 77mil on the books for 2014 before this report calculates another 43. That’s plenty of room, and guess what know it alls, they carry the space over to next year too. How smart do he airheads blabbing on hear feel now. Duuurrrrr.

  28. This really sounds like Ireland realizes that this could be his last season. I give him credit for going all out but are they in position to go all in for one year? They better hope Tannehill progresses..

  29. The Dolphins have 20 million in cap space coming off the books from Starks and Soliai alone next year. Then they have some dead money freeing up, Moore is a trade chip for midway through this year when a team loses a starter and they have a starting QB and RB that make next to nothing. They also have two CBs they can cut or restructure to free up a ton of extra room.

    They still have 31 million in space this year after all of that “free spending”.

    Ireland has done this well so far, if he hits on 50% of his draft picks Miami will be in a great place come this season.

  30. What people dont realize is that the Dolphins have hardly anyone locked up beyond the 2014 season. So far, every one of these contracts has a favorable team opt out after the 2014 season. That will allow Miami to very easily blow it up should they choose to. This all hinges on Tannehill. So even if all of these guys end up being busts, it will only be for 2 years, which is the same amount of time the team will need to determine if Tannehill is also a bust. Calm down people.

  31. I as a Dolphin fan am not complaining, we still have 20m in cap space this year, Ireland is banking on the cap going up with the new TV deal. We have complained for 4 years that Ireland always plays it too safe, I am not about to complain now when he tries to win!

  32. Ireland is screwing the fans & Ross. He’ll be fired after this season & nobody’s going to want the job next year because of the lack of cap space.

  33. Article fails to mention they have a few BIG contracts coming off the books next year. Starks and Soliai just to name 2 off the top of my head. Bess comes off the books next year as well.

    And they still have $21 mill cap space currently. Far far cry from Cap Hell!! Gotta report the ENTIRE story!!

  34. People laughing at this and calling it cap hell years down the road have absolutely NO idea what their talking about. This is fantastic use of the cap space and will actually allow the dolphins to spend MORE not less in years to come. Gotta realize more has come off the books then on them. The dolphins will be in the hunt for a playoff spot and possibly the division for years to come. Ireland is looking like a genius with these moves, sorry jet fans but your GM sucked and ours is proving he belongs.

  35. This is more about Ireland rolling the dice and going ‘all in’ to make a big ‘Dolphin’ splash for himself in 2013 at the expense of sound strategic long term sustainable personnel moves for years to come.

    I much prefer to see the whole AFC East consistently more competitive year to year.

  36. Final Comment for this thread because idiots don’t want to listen to facts, just here to stir it up. So with no further adoo..

    The Jets did not end up where they are now because of Cap Space or overbuying FA’s…. they got there because THEY SUCKED with Butt-Fumbler.

    The Dolphins were in the worst Cap situation and constant losses of 2nd Rounders due to Parcells dumb-ass moves and we still dominated you over the past decade. Worry about your own Teams. We will be more than fine. Stadium Deal or Not. Wins put fans in the seats.

  37. Moore is trade bait, bess won’t be there after next year hence going after Gibson, and all the others are still working on rookie contacts so by the time they get free signed they would know if they want to keep Wallace and Hartline and others signed this year. If not then cut them and lower the cap hit, pretty good deal if you actually know football.

  38. Man, some of you guys on this site kill me! You act like no other team in the NFL has done anything like this before. What were we suppost to do, stay in mediocrity while we keep getting beat by ONE team in our division and fire Jeff anyways?? Nothing last forever and he will be gone but to trade a chance of competing for cap hell? Well at least we tried and it worked for the Ravens. Giants seem to do it every two or three years! We really only have to worry about Peyton cause he has a DEFENSE to get him to the superbowl (Take note New England). Oh yeah, and Houston if they get smart and draft another wide receiver. Everyone else is on notice, you too Pittsburg! I promise you, we won’t be slouches this year, you’ll walk in, but crawl out if you beat us!

  39. HOWEVER, this only works if tannehill turns out to be a top 10 or so QB. If he fails were doomed for five more years at minimum but if he succeeds we will be talking about the dolphins and the chance at a super bowl every year for many years to come. Sorry Jerry fans, you had your chance and blew it that year vs the colts.

  40. If I was a player in the NFL, I wouldn’t go for these bogus back-end loaded contracts. The player normally gets screwed with those and never sees all the money. Plus if you get hurt, you’re screwed. Its not like baseball…I can say that much with authority.

  41. Thanks for the fans that actualyl did the research. Most phin fans realized we traded old for new with better contracts and speed. We also have the 3rd highest amount of picks in this draft, most quality.

  42. this article and a lot of its comments

    ” I believe everything I read “

  43. By the time these contracts come to haunt the Dolphins salary cap, Ireland will be long gone. This is a win win for him, and a huge gamble by the Dolphins organization

  44. flavordave says:
    Mar 14, 2013 6:37 PM
    Chips “D” is potent. He spreads it all over and it can’t be stopped. Up the middle, from the side, doesn’t matter. He thrusts forward to victory. EAGLES!


    Just like in 2011, when Oregon stomped all over Auburn….oh wait, the only “D” they saw that year was on Sesame Street!

  45. To the morons, they wont be in cap hell b/c most signings willl be cut after 2 years, Ireland has done a masterful job. He is not just writing blank checks, he is making calculated moves, to improve the team now and not get cap struck that’s why none of the contracts including Wallace are guaranteed beyond 3 years. Genius genius genius

  46. To all the Dolphin bashers Miami backloaded these contracts because they have more than enough space to clear them in the upcoming years. Ireland has built this team threw the draft and he will continue to do so with the 10 picks he has this upcoming draft.

    It’s amazing no matter what Ireland does you couch GM’s think you know more than the guy because you keep your madden roster under the cap. You look at Irelands draft picks over the years to your teams GM and tell me who has done the better job.

    Ireland didnt have a QB and had to w3d out all of Bill Parcells mistakes but since he has been running the show he has done a tremendous job and Im glad he is the GM of my team. Now that Tannehill has a season under his belt, a down field target in Wallace, and some more pieces to be added in the draft we will see how well the Dolphins do this year. Lets see his plan put into place before you start bashing him.

  47. Dont confuse me with the facts! Ireland sucks no matter what he does. I hope Ross wakes up soon and fires him!

  48. Ireland ever work for the Redskins? Because this has been done before and guess what it doesn’t work!

  49. They also designated Dansby and Burnett as post Jun 1st cuts. That makes it even weirder. Ireland is treating this offseason like he doesn’t have the space he does. Maybe he is planning on signing a couple front-loaded 2 year deals to even it out

  50. Here are the FACTS.

    Right now the cap for 2014 is at $95M

    The major losses in 2014 as of now are Bess, Jones, Clemons, Starks, Solai, and Carpenter (a kicker)

    Ireland saved a lot of cap space for three years by replacing aging talent for younger talent that should be better for this defense.

    Mike Wallace’s cap hit in 2014 is high but Tannehill, Hartline, Miller, Thomas, and Pouncey are small cap hits that more than compensates.

    Here is the deal. With 10 or more picks this year and remaining FA activity DE, CB, TE, T and S(x2) can be addressed. Starks and Solai may get extensions. Once Wallace’s big number hits, Tannehill, if successful, won’t get the big deal until most of this is gone. Same with Miller and Hartline, Wake, etc.

    In other words, if the Dolphins draft well an d do a good job in the latter stages of FA and manages well in the next two years, then these younger guys will develop until Tannehill becomes the general and can then lead the younger talent we grow in house. If the draft is poor, then this was all a waste. This isn’t the Snyder days with $100M for a problem DT, or Randle-El, Portis or whatever. Big difference…

  51. HC Philbin gave it the old college try last year during his maiden season and has had time to settle in and see what the Dolphins need to win. Looks the the front office is behind him 100%.

    I’m interested in seeing what kind of success he can have with his new mix of talent, he may well turn the tide for Miami.

    That said, there will be hell to pay when there’s barely enough cap space to pay his rookies in a couple of years. Buy now, pay later–it’s the American way.

  52. There is a thing called guaranteed money you morons. That’s what the players sign for. Mo matter if they get cut or not they get the guaranteed money in the contract. The players know it’s a business and they can get cut. That’s why THEY WANT GUARANTEED MONEY!

    As for cap hell please explain when the Phins still have well over 20 million in cap left right now? The big deals are done. The Phins are bargain shopping now.

  53. As a Redskins fan it’s nice to see that other teams are making the same mistakes that the skins used to make. Sacrifice your future for the hope that making a run in free agency will “buy” you a super bowl… it sure worked out quite well for the Eagles the last 2 years.. lol. Looks like the Dolphins are next in line to wear that crown as the free agency winners and future cap space losers.

  54. Redskins are in cap hell since they signed no one and had to release players. Why is a foreskin fan in a Dolphins post running his mouth?

  55. The absence of facts in this story is shocking. What about not signing Long, Bush, Fasano or Smith? What about unloading one of the worst contracts on our books (Dansby). The fins are hardly in cap trouble in 2014 like this article implies – even if they keep Mike Wallace. Plus almost nobody of significance would be a FA then, so if all the players work out they have them all locked up!

    And to compare this to the Skins is stupid. I live in Washington and remember what Snyder did – paying aging stars like Deion and Bruce Smith big guaranteed money when they are long past their prime is way different than swapping out old linebackers for younger and faster ones and paying a little bit more. C’mon MAN!

  56. #1 this team has been mediocre for a while so it’s not like he’s throwing something great away.

    #2 second youngest roster in the league last year, and these moves make Miami even younger. If Tanehill pans out this team can do something for awhile.

    In any case, this league is more and more about being aggressive in the here and now and less and less about a 5-year, or even 3-year plan. It might blow up in Ireland’s face, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  57. It’s quite clear people don’t understand the big picture. here’s a tip: you are aware that the Fins can push whatever space they don’t use this year (which is still like 20-30k depending on who you speak to) onto next years cap which will blow it up big? Yea so, no there won’t be cap hell. haha

  58. I think he (Ireland) is screwed either way.
    Nobody has the patience in Miami to build thru the draft. And everybody will be critizing him for spending $$$$ on FA’s.

  59. You guys are ridiculous. Last year the Dolphins didn’t spend money and everybody talked about how Ireland being cheap and being a terrible judge of talent is why they suck. Now they spend money and you still complain. Last year Ireland was getting ripped for not signing Matt Flynn. The year before he was getting ripped for not signing Kyle Orton and signing some guy named Matt Moore instead. Despite most fans not really knowing who either player was. Ireland was right on both cases. In the NFL, nobody really plays out a 5 or 6 six year contract without restructuring or just being cut to be signed at a lower number.

  60. @ 305PhinPhan… I couldn’t have said it any better. I am VERY pleased with what Ireland has done since he’s been in complete control… He’s not overpaying for underplaying over-the-hill players. Got rid of the lazy, Vontae “I ain’t too bright” Davis and didn’t overpay for Sean “I used to be a wide receiver but can’t catch a cold” Smith. Dansby was brought in because he was considered a “playmaker” on D; he’s since been swapped out for someone younger, faster & hungrier as did Burnett. In this league you must first win your division. New England’s dynamic dual at TE killed us, so we made our chess move.

    Look out this year for huge runs by Lamar Miller! With the zone bocking scheme and Mike Wallace making sure that NO team stacks the box inorder to stop the run will leave opposing DC’s scratching their heads on, “Do I put an extra man in the box to stop this kid and risk leaving, Usain Bolt, I mean Mike Wallace 1-on-1… Lol. I double-dog dare ya!!!!

    Let’s go Phins

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