Dolphins Salary Cap for 2013 and 2014

Joe Sargent

The Miami Dolphins have been on a spending spree so far this offseason. But, what has it done to their salary cap this year? And, maybe more importantly, what has it done to the cap for next year?

The Miami Dolphins have attacked free agency this year, signing multiple players and dominating the offseason. What has that aggressive mentality done to the Dolphins' salary cap this year? What has it done to the 2014 cap? Here's a look at the room the team has to continue to make moves this year, as well as what space they will have when cap numbers start to jump next year.

All salary cap numbers via Spotrac.com.

2013 Miami Dolphins Salary Cap Situation

2013 NFL Salary Cap $123,000,000
2012 Roll Over $5,300,000
2013 Dolphins Salary Cap $128,300,000

In the offseason and preseason, the NFL only counts the top 51 contracts on every team's roster. Teams can carry up to 90 players during the offseason. Here's a look at all 60 of the players on the Dolphins' current roster:

Player Cap Number
1 Randy Starks $8,450,000.00
2 Karlos Dansby $8,375,000.00
3 Paul Soliai $7,875,000.00
4 Richard Marshall $5,766,667.00
5 Kevin Burnett $5,600,000.00
6 Richie Incognito $5,383,333.00
7 Cameron Wake $5,015,000.00
8 Dimitri Patterson $4,600,000.00
9 Dustin Keller $4,250,000.00
10 Davone Bess $3,433,000.00
11 Mike Wallace $3,200,000.00
12 Dan Carpenter $3,012,500.00
13 Ryan Tannehill $2,879,205.00
14 Chris Clemons $2,750,000.00
15 Mike Pouncey $2,525,371.00
16 Matt Moore $2,500,000.00
17 Dannell Ellerbe $2,425,000.00
18 Philip Wheeler $2,400,000.00
19 Brian Hartline $2,115,000.00
20 Jared Odrick $1,939,868.00
21 Brandon Gibson $1,785,000.00
22 Brandon Fields $1,720,000.00
23 John Jerry $1,537,625.00
24 Reshad Jones $1,363,075.00
25 Austin Spitler $1,323,000.00
26 Koa Misi $1,186,905.00
27 Jonathan Martin $1,087,333.00
28 John Denney $1,013,750.00
29 Jason Trusnik $915,000.00
30 Daniel Thomas $882,717.00
31 Nolan Carroll $677,937.00
32 Olivier Vernon $669,520.00
33 Michael Egnew $652,239.00
34 R.J. Stanford $630,000.00
35 Lamar Miller $601,500.00
36 Charles Clay $583,250.00
37 Jimmy Wilson $566,475.00
38 Will Yeatman $555,000.00
39 Kheeston Randall $495,612.00
40 Rishard Matthews $493,403.00
41 Derrick Shelby $483,333.00
42 Marcus Thigpen $482,500.00
43 Lee Robinson $480,000.00
44 Jonas Gray $480,000.00
45 Josh Kaddu $480,000.00
46 Kyle Miller $480,000.00
47 Pat Devlin $480,000.00
48 Armon Binns $480,000.00
49 Julian Posey $480,000.00
50 De'Andre Presely $480,000.00
51 Jonathan Freeny $480,000.00
52 Josh Samuda $480,000.00
53 Jorvorskie Lane $480,000.00
54 Kelcie McCray $408,333.00
55 Chandler Burden $405,000.00
56 Brian Tyms $405,000.00
57 Andrew McDonald $405,000.00
58 Jeff Fuller $405,000.00
59 Jeff Adams $405,000.00
60 Chas Alecxih $405,000.00

The first thing that people should notice is Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett are still on the roster, despite having been released. Both players were designated "June 1" cuts by the Dolphins when they were released. According to the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team can choose to designate two players per season as June 1 cuts, even though they will then release the player ahead of June 1. That player's entire salary is carried on the team's salary cap, as if the player were still on the team. Then, on June 1, the salary comes off, leaving just any dead money remaining for the player, but that money is split over two season. So, for the Dolphins, Dansby and Burnett will see their dead money split over 2013 and 2014, although it's still carried as a full salary right now. In fact, Burnett has already signed with the Oakland Raiders, meaning he is counting as a full salary on two rosters currently.

Doing the math to start to figure out how much room the Dolphins have left this year:

2013 Dolphins Salary Cap $128,300,000
2013 Top 51 Salaries $108,520,118


Unfortunately, that's not the only number we need to take out of the salary cap. We have to also calculate the dead money sitting on the Dolphins' books right now. Dead money is any bonus or guaranteed money that has not been accounted for against a salary cap number previous. When a player signs his contract, any salary cap bonus given is split equally over the life of the contract for salary cap purposes. Then, any guaranteed money that is given to the player, but has not been paid when he is released or traded will also be counted against the cap. In 2013, for the Dolphins, that means:

1 Jake Long $1,600,000.00
2 Vontae Davis $1,111,250.00
3 Clyde Gates $226,574.00
4 Josh Kaddu $140,055.00
5 Mickey Shuler $83,082.00
6 BJ Cunningham $79,650.00
7 Kevin Scott $6,000.00
8 Chas Alecxih $5,000.00
9 Jeff Fuller $5,000.00
10 Dustin Waldron $3,334.00
11 Derek Moye $3,334.00
12 Jacquies Smith $3,334.00
13 Jarrell Root $3,334.00
14 Louis Nzegwu $3,334.00
15 Derek Dennis $3,000.00
16 Cameron Collins $3,000.00
17 Trenton Hughes $3,000.00
18 Terence Brown $3,000.00
19 Shelly Lyons $2,000.00
20 Les Brown $1,667.00
21 Andrew McDonald $334.00


Now, we can calculate the Dolphins' remaining salary cap space for 2013:

2013 Dolphins Salary Cap $128,300,000
2013 Top 51 Salaries $108,520,118
2013 Dead Money $3,289,282
Remaining Salary Cap Space $16,490,600


So, the Dolphins have about $16.5 million left to spend this offseason. Here's where things get a little interesting - and is somewhat genius on Miami's part so far. Typically, a team needs to keep between $11-$16 million in reserve after free agency, in order to sign their draft picks ($6-$7 million) and have some money available for in season signings, practice squad salaries, and other operating expenses. The Dolphins don't have to worry about that however; Miami can spend nearly all of that $16,490,600 right now.

Why?

The genius move of the June 1 designation of Dansby and Burnett. Dansby is counting for $8,375,000 and Burnett is $5,600,000 against the cap right now. On June 1, those salaries fall off the Top 51 chart, with Josh Samuda and Jorvorskie Lane landing on it, both at $480,000. That means there is a difference of $13,015,000.

Of course, there is the dead money to account for still. Dansby will count for $2,325,000 in dead money in each season, 2013 and 2014. Burnett will be $1,300,000 in each season. That means, the Dolphins now have $9,390,000 in saved money built into their salary cap already.

Add in potential restructuring of contracts, especially the $8.45 million cap number from the franchise tag on defensive tackle Randy Starks, and suddenly the team has a lot of space remaining this year to continue the shopping spree.

2014 Miami Dolphins Salary Cap Situation

The 2014 salary cap is expected to be nearly equal to this year's cap. Assuming that is true, we will start with the same $123 million number. Obviously, there is no roll over from this year yet, so we will just use that number.

2014 NFL Salary Cap (Est) $123,000,000
2013 Roll Over ?
2014 Dolphins Salary Cap (Est) $123,000,000


Once again, only the Top 51 players will count for the Dolphins' in the 2014 offseason, however, the team only has 38 players under contract through the season:

Player Cap Number
1 Mike Wallace $17,200,000.00
2 Dannell Ellerbe $7,425,000.00
3 Cameron Wake $7,285,000.00
4 Richard Marshall $6,516,667.00
5 Philip Wheeler $6,400,000.00
6 Brian Hartline $6,210,000.00
7 Matt Moore $5,500,000.00
8 Dimitri Patterson $5,400,000.00
9 Brandon Gibson $3,735,000.00
10 Brandon Fields $3,661,116.00
11 Ryan Tannehill $3,454,182.00
12 Mike Pouncey $2,946,266.00
13 Jared Odrick $2,004,868.00
14 Jonathan Martin $1,304,800.00
15 Jason Trusnik $1,055,000.00
16 Daniel Thomas $1,029,821.00
17 Olivier Vernon $759,520.00
18 Michael Egnew $742,239.00
19 Lamar Miller $691,500.00
20 Charles Clay $673,250.00
21 Jimmy Wilson $656,475.00
22 Kheeston Randall $585,612.00
23 Rishard Matthews $583,403.00
24 Derrick Shelby $573,334.00
25 Kelcie McCray $573,334.00
26 Marcus Thigpen $572,500.00
27 Josh Samuda $570,000.00
28 Lee Robinson $570,000.00
29 Kyle Miller $570,000.00
30 De'Andre Presely $570,000.00
31 Jorvorskie Lane $570,000.00
32 Jonas Gray $570,000.00
33 Jeff Adams $495,000.00
34 Chandler Burden $495,000.00
35 Brian Tyms $495,000.00
36 Jeff Fuller $495,000.00
37 Andrew McDonald $495,000.00
38 Chas Alecxih $495,000.00


Adding up the 38 salaries on the books for 2014, we find:

2014 Dolphins Salary Cap (Est) $123,000,000
2014 Top 51 Salaries $93,928,887

Before we continue building the salary cap space for 2014, here's a look at the free agents the Dolphins will have next offseason, if no extensions are worked out this year:

1 Davone Bess
2 Armon Binns
3 Dan Carpenter
4 Nolan Carroll
5 Chris Clemons
6 John Denney
7 Pat Devlin
8 Jonathan Freeny
9 Richie Incognito
10 John Jerry
11 Reshad Jones
12 Josh Kaddu
13 Dustin Keller
14 Ryan Mahaffey
15 Koa Misi
16 Paul Soliai
17 Austin Spitler
18 R.J. Stanford
19 Randy Starks
20 Will Yeatman


Going back to the salary cap number, currently, the Dolphins have two dead money contracts, Dansby and Burnett, in 2014:

Player Dead Money
1 Karlos Dansby $2,325,000.00
2 Kevin Burnett $1,300,000.00

Now, we can calculate the Dolphins' remaining salary cap space for 2014:

2014 Dolphins Salary Cap (Est.) $123,000,000
2014 Top 51 Salaries $93,928,887
2014 Dead Money $3,625,000
Remaining Salary Cap Space $25,446,113


As it currently stands, the Dolphins will have nearly $25.5 million next offseason. Of course, this doesn't account for the rookie contracts from this year, and the team will likely rework or release players scheduled to have high cap numbers next year (Matt Moore, Dimitri Patterson), so the number will change drastically. But, at least as of now, the team still has a decent amount under the salary cap for next year.

Somehow, the Dolphins are working the salary cap well enough to keep space next season, even with the spending spree going on right now.

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