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Dolphins salary cap reset

Miami Dolphins v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have completed the majority of their free-agent shopping for the 2017 season, signing players like linebacker Lawrence Timmons and safety Nate Allen, while trading for tight end Julius Thomas and defensive end William Hayes, and re-signing players like defensive end Andre Branch and wide receiver Kenny Stills. It was a focused free agency for Miami this season, not the huge spending sprees that became a staple of the team in the recent past. Where does the team stand in salary cap money now? Time to reset the team’s remaining money for this year.

The NFL Players Association states the team has $18.3 million in space remaining. They list Miami as having 65 players under contract, though the league and NFLPA are currently only accounting for the top 51 players in the salary cap calculations. The Dolphins currently list 66 players on their roster, so there appears to be another transaction still to be accounted for in the NFLPA calculations. (Probably the re-signing of Jermon Bushrod.)

Meanwhile, lists Miami with 64 players, with Bushrod and defensive tackle Nick Williams not included in their calculations, though they actually come in under the NFLPA number, listing Miami as having $16.5 million remaining. lists the Dolphins as having $20.4 million remaining, though they do not have Bushrod and Julius Thomas factored into their calculations.

Using a mix of numbers from the two websites, we try to find the best estimate of what the Dolphins have left in cap space this year:

2017 Miami Dolphins salary cap

Players Pos. Salary Cap Number Salary cap calculations Remarks
Players Pos. Salary Cap Number Salary cap calculations Remarks
Ryan Tannehill QB $20,300,000 $167,000,000 2017 Cap
Ndamukong Suh DT $19,100,000 $8,363,708 Carryover
Mike Pouncey C $8,975,000 $175,363,708 Dolphins cap
Byron Maxwell CB $8,500,000
Reshad Jones S $8,037,938
Cameron Wake DE $7,500,000 $150,219,662 Top 51
Julius Thomas TE $5,600,000 $8,163,588 Dead Money
Andre Branch DE $5,000,000 $158,383,250 Total allocated
Koa Misi LB $4,778,000
William Hayes DE $4,750,000
Kiko Alonso LB $3,910,000
Lawrence Timmons LB $3,775,000 $16,980,458 Cap space remaining
Kenny Stills WR $3,750,000
Nate Allen S $3,400,000
Dion Jordan DE $3,225,313
DeVante Parker WR $2,966,329
Laremy Tunsil OT $2,831,284
Anthony Fasano TE $2,750,000
Ja’Wuan James OT $2,681,763
Matt Moore QB $2,150,000
Michael Thomas S $1,797,000
Damien Williams RB $1,797,000
Ted Larsen G $1,416,666
Xavien Howard CB $1,392,736
Kraig Urbik G $1,375,000
Jordan Phillips DT $1,189,884
Jarvis Landry WR $1,105,652
Sam Young OT $1,050,000
MarQueis Gray TE $925,000
Kenyan Drake RB $800,315
Walt Aikens S $793,977
Leonte Carroo WR $735,097
Terrence Fede DE $703,988
John Denney LS $695,000
Nick Williams DT $690,000
Bobby McCain CB $672,072
Jay Ajayi RB $670,203
Tony Lippett CB $668,691
Matt Darr P $615,334
Neville Hewitt LB $615,334
Trevor Reilly LB $615,000
Andrew Franks K $615,000
Chris Pantale TE $615,000
Lamin Barrow LB $615,000
Brandon Watts LB $615,000
Mike Hull LB $615,000
Anthony Steen C $615,000
Jakeem Grant WR $575,095
Jordan Lucas S $569,991
Rashawn Scott WR $540,000
Lafayette Pitts CB $540,000
Jake Brendel C $540,000 Top 51 Cutoff
Storm Johnson RB $540,000
Senorise Perry RB $540,000
Julius Warmsley DE $540,000
Thomas Duarte TE $540,000
Deon Lacey LB $531,666
Lawrence Okoye DT $467,500
A.J. Hendy S $465,000
Daniel Davie CB $465,000
Arthur Miley DE $465,000
Jesse Davis OT $465,000
Brandon Doughty QB $465,000
Terry Poole OT $465,000
Winston Chapman LS $465,000

According to these numbers, the Dolphins have about $16.9 million in sap space. That puts the number about $1.4 million below the NFLPA number, which could be an adjustment to the cap that the NFLPA is tracking or could be a contract change that the two websites are not tracking yet. Effectively, the Dolphins seem to have between $17- and $18-million remaining in the salary cap.

The Dolphins likely need about $6 million in cap space for their 2017 draft class, which puts them around $11 million in space remaining. The team will probably look to carry $5-8 million into the season in order to make sure they have room to sign players should injuries require it.

All that leaves Miami around $3-6 million in cap space to sign a player in free agency if they still choose. They do have some more roster moves they can make to create cap space if needed, including possibly releasing linebacker Koa Misi and/or defensive end Dion Jordan. Misi, who was slated to be the team’s starting strong side linebacker last year but missed most of the season with a neck injury, would provide $4.2 million in cap savings if he were to be released, though Miami could hold on to him (assuming he is healthy, which may or may not be the case at this point) as an insurance policy until they pick up a third starting linebacker to play alongside Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons.

The Jordan situation is a little more straight forward - and confusing - at the same time. Releasing Jordan would provide $3.2 million in cap space, with no associated dead money. For a former third-overall pick who has not played since 2014, it does feel like Miami could simply cut their losses here and move on from Jordan, yet he remains on the roster. Miami could simply be waiting until the offseason program or training camp to see if Jordan comes into the team facilities in shape and able to contribute. It really costs the team nothing to wait and see what Jordan looks like before making a decision, though reports still indicate the Dolphins do not have Jordan in their long term plans.

Miami has enough money to make another signing if they feel they need to make that roster move. They also have around $7 million in reserve if/when they need it by releasing Misi and Jordan. They are currently sitting in the 17th position for most cap space remaining, slightly below the league average of $21.2 million, according to the NFLPA. The San Francisco 49ers have the most cap space still, with $75.3 million available, followed by the Cleveland Browns, with $53.1 million, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who still have $44.5 million in space. The Los Angeles Rams have the least amount of space, actually over the cap by $6.6 million as of this morning, while the Detroit Lions have $3.1 million, and the New York Giants have $3.9 million.

Things will obviously still change, including Bushrod’s contract being added to the Dolphins’ cap number, but the estimate seems to say Miami has just enough room to find players they may need, whether that is in the remainder of free agency, in the Draft, or in undrafted free agents.