Dolphins to release Vonnie Holliday

The Miami Herald is reporting that the Dolphins are expected to release defensive end Vonnie Holliday today.

According to Holliday's agent, the Dolphins offered Vonnie an opportunity to renegotiate his contract.  But Vonnie and his agent declined the offer.

Brian Levy, Holliday's agent, told the Herald:

"He enjoyed his time here. He did everything asked of him and he can leave with his head held high. This is a business. Players leave teams and teams leave players. It's an amicable split. He's happy to have left the Dolphins on a winning note."

We debated a few weeks ago about whether or not it was a good idea to release Holliday - a locker room leader and total class act - just to save some money against the cap.  As it turns out, the trifecta valued the cap room more than Vonnie's play on the field and leadership off of it.

While the Herald's report claims the move will save the Dolphins $2.8 million in cap room in 2009, it actually saves Miami $3.25 million.  [Update: The Herald has corrected their mistake and now are reporting the same cap savings as I am...so thanks for reading, Mr. Salguero, but I'd appreciate a "hat tip."]  How?  Here's how.  The Dolphins are on the books now for Vonnie's remaining prorated bonus money that has already been paid to him - which was $1.25 million per year remaining on his deal.  There were two years left, so that's $2.5 million.  If Holliday remained a Dolphin, the Dolphins would have been on the books for his $2.8 million salary, the $1.25 million prorated bonus, a $1.5 million roste bonus due March 3, and a $200,000 workout bonus.  All in total, that's $5.75 million.  So the Dolphins reduced their cap hit in 2009 from $5.75 to $2.5 - saving $3.25 million.

What this means in terms of personnel is that the Dolphins are now going to be counting more on 2nd year players Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling.  Randy Starks will also see an increased role.  Look for the starting job to be a battle between Merling and Starks in camp.

And don't forget about 2nd year player Lionel Dotson.  There are some rumblings that this regime really likes Dotson.  And at 6'4, 290, he has the size this regime likes.  So keep an eye on this kid.

As far as Holliday, he'll definitely have no problem finding a job.  Like I said, he's a total class act and a locker room leader - as well as a solid football player on the field. 

So thank you, Mr. Holliday, for all you have done for this team.  You were an important part of last season's magical run and all Dolphin fans know that!

Jeff Ireland's official comments on the release of Holliday have been added below.

(Hat tip to FinzD54 for his fanpost)

"These types of decisions are always difficult ones, especially with someone like Vonnie, who has been a role model both on the field and off it. He was one of our captains last year and was a proven leader, not just in his tenure with the Dolphins, but throughout his 11-year career. We are grateful for all his contributions to the Miami Dolphins organization and we want to wish him and his family the best of luck in the future."

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