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2018 Dolphin Salary Cap Preview

The, Why They Can Always Afford Things, Edition

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets
Keeping Landry and Parker? No sweat.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

I am going to try and make this as pain free as possible. I promise. The point of this demonstration is to prove, no matter what the naysayers believe, Miami has been set up to work the cap extremely well. So Let’s get down to it...

Current 2017 NFL Salary Cap: 167,000,000

Dolphins Top 51: 154,652,000

Dolphins Dead Money: 9,938,000

Sub-Total: 164, 590,000

Dolphins Rollover 2016: 14,920,000 (subtract from sub-total)

Miami Cap Total 149, 670, 000

Miami Current Cap Space: 17,330,000

(NFL Cap Total - Miami Cap = 17,330,000)

The numbers I have provided above are an expression of how the Dolphins 2017 Salary Cap situation has worked out. The biggest takeaway is the current cap space that the Dolphins have. As it, in full, can be “rolled-over” into next year’s cap number. The Dolphins will probably spend about 2 million or so for in-season signings. So it is a safe guess that Miami will roll over somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 million in cap space to 2018. Now, let’s look at 2018’s financial commitments.

Dolphins Contracts on books for 2018: 163,750,000

Estimated Rollover: 15,000,000

Sub-total: 148, 750

Estimated Cap Space with no change in NFL Cap: 18,250,000

Miami already has about 164 million on the cap. So with out roll-over money (which sites like Over The Cap aren’t counting yet for obvious reason), and with no change in the salary cap it would appear Miami has about 18 million in cap space for 2018. But the NFL salary cap has been going up consistently since its inception. By increasingly larger quantities since the introduction of TV advertisement money to cap equation. From 2016-2017 the cap rose 12 million. From 2015-2016 the cap rose 12 million. From 2014-2015 the cap rose 11 million. From 2013-2014 the cap rose 10 million. You have to all the way back to the pre-TV money days of 2012-2013 for the last time the cap rose by less than 10 million per season. With that said, we can expect at least a 10 million dollar cap jump heading into 2018 season, meaning...

New Estimated 2018 Cap Space: 28,250,000

And this is without Miami making a single move yet. Not one. The two biggest moves to be made in order to provide more space would signing Ja’wuan James to a long term deal and possibly shedding about 4 million. Then there is Byron Maxwell who could be cut or traded for 10 million off the cap. Or he could be restructured to say 7 million and save the team 3 million. So that is somewhere between 7-14 million more the dolphins can free up at any given moment coming into 2018. At that point you’re looking at 35-42 million in cap space. And I haven’t even considered Mike Pouncey and his contract...

You can pay Jarvis Landry whatever you want to pay him. You can even go out after Landry and sign another player like Timmons as still carry about 10 mill into the next season. Not to mention the numbers can be arranged so Landry is payed less in any given year to make up for the signing bonus. As Miami tends to do. We could sign a few guys and really make the push for a Super Bowl in 2018 or 2019 if all goes well.

The Dolphins have a few highly paid players, this is true, but they are also one of the younger franchises in the NFL. Isn’t this what we have all been waiting to see? Strategic low-key off-season signings and paying our own developed and drafted players. So what if Landry gets paid 12...13...14 million per season? Miami can pay the money. They can do that and still keep on eye on having to sign Parker and Tunsil and Hayes down the road. The salary cap is a growing and fluid thing. There is an inflation in the market at all times. Only maximized by the relatively cheap rookie contracts.

Bottom Line:

I am never worried about the Salary Cap as a restrictive measure in Miami. Tannenbaum, Grier and Brandon Shore (Aponte replacement) have shown they can mange the cap like adults even without the legendary Dawn Aponte over their shoulders. Miami’s salary cap is in good hands.