The NFL has not yet informed teams of the official 2016 salary cap, a little over three weeks before the start of free agency. The estimates for the cap started in the $147 million range, then moved up to $150 million and on to $153 million, and now, as we predicted in December, the estimate is moving toward "at least" $155 million:
I'm told the NFL's salary cap is expected to jump to at least $155M this year. Nearly $12M more than last year's ($143.28M).— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) February 15, 2016
That is obviously good news for the Miami Dolphins, who came into the offseason expected to be over the salary cap. The higher the cap rises, the easier an offseason it will be for the Dolphins, who are expected to shed some $40 million in cap space to ensure they have the ability to sign free agents and their draft picks, as well as re-sign key players who are currently headed for free agency.
Miami will roll-over, at least, $9 million that they did not spend last season, meaning they will be allowed to spend $164 million this year. That number could change some as there are some incentives that were built into last year's contracts that were not met and the Dolphins should get that space back, but, for now, $164 million seems to be the best estimate.
The Dolphins have 53 players under contract, but the league will only count the top 51 salaries for salary cap purposes through training camp and the preseason. The Dolphins have $150.2. million in contracts, according to OverTheCap.com along with $5.3 million in dead money, giving them a current salary cap number of $155.5 million. That gives Miami about $8.5 million in cap space as of right now.
That puts Miami with the sixth-least amount of cap space right now. There are still plenty of moves the team can, and will, make before the March 9 start of the new league year and free agency including the possible re-working on the contracts of Ndamukong Suh, Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey, Cameron Wake, and Brent Grimes. The team can also create space with either re-working the contracts of or releasing Jordan Cameron, Dion Jordan, Greg Jennings, Koa Misi, and Earl Mitchell. There is salary cap space to be had for the Dolphins.
Obviously, an increasing salary cap space will help the Dolphins, just like every other NFL team, but more money being available means Miami has more options this offseason. It means the team should be able to better address the holes on the roster, they should be able to find free agents that they want, and they should be in a better position to re-sign their own free agents.