The Miami Dolphins have started their offseason roster moves in an effort to create some additional salary cap space. The first three moves included releasing defensive end Andre Branch, offensive lineman Ted Larsen, and wide receiver Danny Amendola, none of which are overly surprising moves - though I thought there was a chance the New England Patriots ties of the new coaching staff could lead to Amendola being kept for another year to help as a leader and veteran in a younger wide receiving corps.
The release of Branch adds $2 million to the Dolphins’ “dead money” pool - the money that counts against the salary cap for a released player either through still-owed guaranteed money or accelerated signing bonus pro-rated amounts - but also adds $7 million in cap savings for the team. Larsen adds $416,668 in dead money, with $1.88 million in additional cap space. And Amendola provides $6 million in cap savings with no associated dead money charge.
Miami has other moves they can make, some which will make sense, some that will not. A list of potential salary cap cuts that would save the Dolphins at least $1 million dollars is below. (And, no, I do not think they will cut someone like Howard, who should be extended this year, but by the numbers, he would create over $1 million in savings, so he is on the list.)
- Ryan Tannehill - Cap savings: $13.2 million; Dead money: $13.4 million
- Robert Quinn - Cap savings: $12.9 million; Dead money: $0
- Kenny Stills - Cap savings: $4.25 million; Dead money: $5.5 million
- DeVante Parker - Cap savings: $9.39 million; Dead money: $0
- Kiko Alonso - Cap savings: $4.75 million; Dead money: $3.53 million
- Josh Sitton - Cap savings: $5.00 million; Dead money: $2.00 million
- Akeem Spence - Cap savings: $2.50 million; Dead money: $0
- Daniel Kilgore - Cap savings: $2.40 million; Dead money: $0
- Xavien Howard - Cap savings: $1.29 million; Dead money: $664,189
- Walt Aikens - Cap savings: $1.40 million; Dead money: $0
- Nick O’Leary - Cap savings: $1.00 million; Dead money: $100,000
The Dolphins opened nearly $15 million in salary cap space with the three moves, bringing them to an estimated $22.6 million in cap space. There are still additional moves that are expected, but Miami is starting to make their offseason moves in a year where a lot of transition from veterans to younger players is anticipated.
(All salary cap numbers via OverTheCap.com.)