The Miami Dolphins made a splash early in free agency this year, signing players to big contracts and over-hauling the roster. Now, the team has turned their attention to a couple of remaining need areas and finding general manager Jeff Ireland's favorite, acorns. While things are slowing, here's a look at the current salary cap situation for the Dolphins, as well as some of the other NFL teams:
Currently, the Dolphins have 63 players under contract. However, two of those players, the newly signed guard Lance Louis and defensive tackle Vaughn Martin, have not had their salary cap numbers released for this year. Under the offseason/preseason rules, the NFL only calculates the salary cap for each team from the top 51 contracts, despite the team being able to carry up to 90 players on their roster during that time.
Here are the 63 players currently on Miami's roster (salary cap numbers via Spotrac.com):
Adding up the top 51 cap numbers, the Dolphins have spent $109,306,784 of their salary cap space.
Before we can get the full cap space remaining, however, we also have to calculate the Dolphins' dead money. Dead money consists of any incomplete bonuses or guaranteed money that a player is owed by a team, even if the team has cut that player. That money is counted against the current year's salary cap, or can be spread over two years if the player is cut on June 1 or later. Currently, the Dolphins have dead money tied up in:
That gives Miami a total of $3,289,282 in dead money this year.
The team started the season with the $123 million salary cap, plus $5,380,246 in roll over from last year, as well an NFL adjustment of $347,081, giving them a total of $128,727,327 to spend this year.
Taking the team's salary cap number and removing the already spent money and the dead money, we find:
|2013 Miami Dolphins Salary Cap Space:||$128,727,327|
|- Top 51 Contracts||- $109,306,784|
|- Dead Money||- $3,289,282|
|= Salary Cap Space Remaining||= $16,131,261|
The NFL, meanwhile, is tracking the Dolphins as having $15,712,667 in cap space remaining, a difference of $418,594. Where the difference is, I can't find, unless one of Louis or Martin have had their salary cap number already counted into the team's number by the NFL.
The Dolphins also have about $9 million in salary cap space that will become available on June 1, when the full contracts of Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett fall off. Most of that money will be used for the rookies (according to the website Over the Cap, the Dolphins will need approximately $7,179,874 for the rookies in 2013). The team will likely need about $12 million total for the rookies and keeping some in reserve for in season moves. That means, the Dolphins will have about $12 million to spend the remainder of this free agency period, or they can hold that money and roll it over into 2014's salary cap.
Looking at the NFL's tracking of all 32 NFL teams, the Dolphins are well about the average cap space remaining for 2013, which is $10,521,963. The Dallas Cowboys currently have the lowest remaining amount, with just $51,005. The Carolina Panthers are the second smallest remaining cap space, with $936,488, followed by the St. Louis Rams ($1,010,053), Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,573,760), and Oakland Raiders ($2,852,149).
On the other end of the spectrum, the Dolphins are currently the team with the seventh highest cap space remaining. Atop the league are the Cincinnati Bengals ($28,989,197) and the Cleveland Browns ($28,793,816), who were the top two teams with cap space when the league year started.
The teams remaining ahead of the Dolphins are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($26,888,270), Jacksonville Jaguars ($26,639,916), Philadelphia Eagles ($26,328,526), Green Bay Packers ($18,303,553), and the Buffalo Bills ($16,851,532).