clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Deal or No Deal: 10 of the Miami Dolphins Biggest Offseason Questions (Part 1 of 2)

Who should the Miami Dolphins want to keep or let go going into the 2024 season?

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are heading into the offseason approximately $51.89 million over the estimated $240 million salary cap for the 2024 season. Some, spearheaded by longtime Dolphins reporter Omar Kelly are calling it a “capocalypse,” and I can’t disagree. Like my guy Marty Huggins used to say, bring your brooms because it’s a mess.

Kicking the can down the road was great when the Dolphins were acquiring talent, but it seems that for the 2024-2025 season, the chickens have come home to roost. Most people believe that the salary cap isn’t real, including myself, because if the owner has deep enough pockets, you can convert a huge amount of the cap hit into bonuses that aren’t held against the cap itself.

Even with that being true, I don’t see Stephen Ross just handing out $100+ in bonuses to keep a team together that was decimated with injuries and got smacked out of the first round of the playoffs just to run it back. General Manager Chris Grier has to make some easy and some tough choices because it’s time to pay the piper, and the piper always gets paid.

Let’s review the ten players who’ll need answers in 2024 and decide whether they’re worth keeping, cutting, or trading. It’s deal or no deal time.

1. Terron Armstead: $14.25 Million 2024 Salary - NO DEAL

I was all aboard when the Dolphins signed Armstead back in the 2022 offseason to one of the highest tackle contracts in the league. The Dolphins needed someone to anchor the offensive line, and Armstead has done just that... when he’s healthy.

“Last year, Terron Armstead played 66.8% of the team’s snaps. This year, 50.5%. A lot of snaps he did play, but he’d accumulated so many injuries he was working on 1 or 2 out of 4 healthy limbs and didn’t look himself. He’s owed $14.25 million in 2024. I don’t think you can do that.” - Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot on X)

That’s just the problem. Armstead is on the wrong side of 30, and has been battling injuries for years. Don’t get me wrong, Armstead is a trooper and played through injuries, but he’s rarely ever close to 100%, and every year that goes on, he becomes more of an injury risk.

He’s still got some juice left, and if he’s healthy, he deserves all that money, but I wouldn’t be willing to roll the dice on his health. If he doesn’t want to retire, I would put him on the trade block and get the best you can for him. I’d lock up Kendall Lamm and have him on that left side, with Austin Jackson anchoring Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside.

2. Christian Wilkins: Projected $20-22 Million Per Year - DEAL

Christian Wilkins is one of the best defensive tackles in the league but also one of the best locker room guys around. He is the anchor of the defense and one of the best run-stoppers in the league.

The only real question about his game going into the 2023 season was his lack of sack production. He answered that by doubling his career high in sacks (9), and nearly tripled his total from 2022 (3.5).

To play devils advocate, Wilkins got most of those sacks in the first half of the season and only had 1.5 sacks in the last four games, including the playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He didn’t feel as dominant when the team needed him most, but that could be attributed to more double teams with all the Dolphins top pass rushers being injuried.

Christian Wilkins has the leverage to command a $20+ million a year deal, but the Dolphins could franchise tag him, which would be around $19.5 million for this year, and then run it back, negotiating on a new contract for next year. Either way, Wilkins is a pillar of the defense. If he tests free agency, he’s gone.

3. Emmanuel Ogbah: $17.7 Million 2024 - NO DEAL

No disrespect to Emmanuel Ogbah because I was a supporter of the deal the Dolphins gave him, but this is an easy no-deal, cut-type situation.

The Dolphins are loaded at edge rusher, and Obgah is fourth in the rotation. When he got his extension, he was the guy, and since then has been outplayed by Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, and Andrew Van Ginkel, who’s looking for a new deal of his own.

When he did get his snaps, he wasn’t a difference-maker. He’s not done in the league, and I’m sure will find a new team in no time for solid money, but it won’t be with the Dolphins, and it may not be double-digit millions either.

The $17.7 million cap hit, compared to the $4 million dead cap hit if you were to cut him is the only evidence you need to justify cutting him, especially when you’re a team that needs to desperately shed money off the books. Save the $13.7 million, and call it a day.

4. Andrew Van Ginkel: Projected Salary $15-17 Million Per Year - DEAL

I just got done praising how loaded the Dolphins edge rusher spot is, but it’s not healthy at all. Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb aren’t expected to start the season in 2024, but Phillips is reportedly eyeing an earlier-than-expected return.

With that being said, Andrew Van Ginkel will be your top pass rusher going into training camp, and his stock is hot. He showcased himself in all of the Dolphins prime-time games and was an unexpected star in Hard Knocks. There will be interest out there.

Van Ginkel’s stats aren’t pretty, but his game tape is the only selling point he needs. This man is a relentless worker and ball magnet on the field. He makes big plays and in big moments.

With Emmanuel Ogbah out the door, the Dolphins will need to secure Van Ginkel so someone can hold down the fort and not force the Dolphins to blitz to get pressure. We all saw how that went. I’m expecting closer to $15 million, and I’d take that in a heartbeat.

5. Xavien Howard: $26 Million 2024 Salary - NO DEAL

Xavien Howard has been the best cornerback on the Miami Dolphins for the last decade. He’s been the top defensive playmaker and was a shutdown corner that was constantly overlooked. I would take the last five years of Xavien Howard over 90% of the corners in the league, but he’s not a $26 million dollar corner today. That makes this deal one of the easier trades or restructures coming up.

The $26 million cap hit would be one of the highest at the position, and no team in their right mind pays that to their CB2. The Dolphins spent a second-round draft pick in 2023 on Cam Smith, and it’s time for him to see the field.

It seems like the most logical scenario, and the Dolphins would probably have to throw in a sweetener to get a team to take Howard’s contract. Reality is that the Dolphins are in the middle of a capocalypse, and a tough decision needs to be made.

To put it in perspective, when Howard signed that deal heading into the 2022 season, he came off 15 interceptions between those last two years and followed that up with only two interceptions between the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

The only shot at Howard staying on board is with a restructured contract. The Dolphins ask him to take a bit of a pay cut and throw him a bonus, but he’s most likely not going for that, and you can’t blame him. When you have the power to make the money guaranteed to you for your play, you don’t have an obligation to take a pay cut. He’ll make his money and all power to him, but it won’t be in Miami.

Let us know in the comments if you agree with the list and who you keep or let go. Part two coming soon!