More on the Vonnie Holliday dilemma

So yesterday, as part of the weekend roundup, we talked a little bit about Vonnie Holliday and the decision the Dolphins are faced with.  Beginning yesterday, teams can begin to release veteran players - if they so choose.  Vonnie, unfortunately, carries a large cap number and could conceivably be a cap casualty this offseason.

But first of all, allow me to clearly break down Vonnie's contract situation in terms of how it relates to Miami's cap room:

Vonnie's 2009 Cap Number = $5.75 million
Salary = $2.8 million
Roster Bonus = $1.7 million (due to be paid on March 3)
Prorated Bonuses = $1.25 million

Vonnie's 2010 Cap Number = $6.5 million
Salary = $3.55 million
Roster Bonus = $1.7 million
Prorated Bonuses = $1.25 million

Notes
-Holliday is a free agent following the 2010 season.
-"Prorated Bonuses" must be paid out - even if the player is cut.  Essentially, all a prorated bonus is is the player's signing bonus - money he's probably already received - but spread out over the life of the contract.

How releasing Holliday changes Miami's cap situation
Releasing Vonnie before March 3 - when his roster bonus is due - would result in the following:

Dolphins wouldn't have to pay Vonnie's salary or roster bonus.  But they would have to take the hit for all of his prorated bonus money, both from '09 and 2010 - creating $2.5 million in dead cap money.  Below is how this scenario breaks down:

2009 cap hit = $2.5 million (saving Dolphins $3.25 million from what it would have been if Vonnie was still on the roster)

The financial bottom line
Releasing Holliday before March 3 will save the Dolphins $3.25 million in cap room in 2009.

The Dilemma
How will the Dolphins determine Vonnie's value?  The key decision makers will sit down in a room and begin talking about if Vonnie is worth the money he is owed.  But his stats and his game-film aren't enough to judge Holliday on.

You need to consider his veteran leadership.  You have to take into account how his teammates feel about him.  The man was voted a team captain by his teammates.  All through his Miami career, Vonnie has been nothing short of a class act - on and off the field.  He has a great work ethic that likely rubs off on his teammates.  He puts in time with the young players, helping develop '08 draft picks Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford. 

So how would it look for the front office to simply release a team leader like Vonnie over money?  Would that hurt the trust between the coaches/front office and their players?  Is that a risk the Dolphins want to take?

That's the dilemma that the Dolphins currently face.

 

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