The Miami Dolphins still have money to spend this offseason, a year in which the team has been fiscally responsible thus far, setting a price point for which they are willing to pay a player and, if the asking price exceeds that mark, they pass on signing him. It has been an offseason in which the Dolphins have managed to sign a big name, trade for a starting cornerback and a starting linebacker, and pick up some depth players who could find their way into the starting lineup. The Dolphins have taken a more fiscally responsible approach to this season's free agency period as compared to the last few years when it seemed every high-dollar free agent was heading to Miami.
Slowing down the spending, and making sure the team is shopping smartly, sticking to the list, rather than buying every impulse item they see, has Miami set up well to continue to search for help as the frenzy of the first few days of free agency begins to slow down. Exactly how well? According to the NFL Players Association, the Dolphins have $27,325,074 remaining in salary cap space this year. The team's eight draft picks will cost around $6.5 million, meaning the team has about $20.8 million they can spend on free agents this year, or roll into the season for injury coverage and, potentially, roll into the 2017 salary cap.
That $27.3 million makes Miami the 14th highest team in terms of cap space. The Jacksonville Jaguars still pace the league with $66.7 million in space, while the San Francisco 49ers are not far behind at $61.9 million. As for Miami's AFC East division rivals, the New England Patriots are 21st in the league with $17.8 million, the New York Jets are 29th with $7.44 million and the Buffalo Bills are 30th, with $7.41 million.
Also of note, the Denver Broncos, who must find a starting quarterback this offseason after the retirement of Peyton Manning and the move of Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans in free agency, do not have much flexibility remaining, with just $15.1 million in cap space. They currently rank 25th in the league in space, and they have until Tuesday to decide if they are going to match the offer sheet Miami signed with running back C.J. Anderson. The Broncos have the first right of refusal on Anderson, a restricted free agent whom they tendered with the lowest possible tender this year ($1.671 million), but Miami's four-year, $18 million ($10 million guaranteed), with a salary cap number of around $7 million in 2016 will make it difficult for the Broncos to keep Anderson.
If the Broncos match the Dolphins' offer sheet to Anderson, they could lose about half of their remaining salary cap space, and still need to find a way to sign a quarterback. The team did trade for Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles, but they seem to want to find at least someone to compete for the starting job, if not outright win the position.
It seems, despite not having made a decision yet, the Broncos would struggle if the choose to keep Anderson.
The salary cap space remaining for all 32 teams, as per the NFL Players Association, is:
|2||San Francisco 49ers||$61,874,891|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$53,322,803|
|5||New York Giants||$47,607,925|
|8||Los Angeles Rams||$35,570,599|
|12||San Diego Chargers||$30,897,790|
|19||Green Bay Packers||$19,482,816|
|21||New England Patriots||$17,771,080|
|28||Kansas City Chiefs||$10,991,975|
|29||New York Jets||$7,447,980|
|31||New Orleans Saints||$5,306,548|