Dolphins salary cap update – 3/2/15

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A quick look at the Miami Dolphins’ salary cap situation as of March 2, 2015.

The Miami Dolphins have begun their salary cap savings roster moves, releasing wide receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson on Friday. The moves are designed to free space for the team when free agency rolls around next week, but what do the Dolphins actually have in terms of salary cap space?

The first thing to remember is, we do not actually know what the salary cap will be for 2015. Estimates have it as high as $143 million, which is probably pretty close to accurate, but it is not guaranteed. We will figure out where the Dolphins stand in terms of money spent toward the cap this year, then see what that means against the estimated cap.

Top 51

During the offseason and through the preseason, a team’s salary cap number is calculated based on the top 51 contracts they have, not the full allocation of the 90-man roster. Once the regular season begins, that changes to the total amount the team spends on their 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad.

For the Dolphins, using numbers from OverTheCap.com, the Top 51 salaries are:

Player Cap Number
Mike Wallace $12,100,000
Branden Albert $10,725,000
Cameron Wake $10,450,000
Brent Grimes $10,000,000
Dannell Ellerbe $9,850,000
Reshad Jones $7,760,000
Mike Pouncey $7,438,000
Cortland Finnegan $6,475,000
Randy Starks $6,000,000
Dion Jordan $5,610,627
Earl Mitchell $4,500,000
Koa Misi $4,438,000
Philip Wheeler $4,400,000
Ryan Tannehill $4,030,887
Brandon Fields $3,903,000
Shelley Smith $3,000,000
Ja’Wuan James $1,915,545
Nate Garner $1,816,668
John Denney $1,180,000
Jamar Taylor $988,950
Olivier Vernon $869,520
Jarvis Landry $789,752
Lamar Miller $781,500
Dallas Thomas $761,594
Billy Turner $723,000
Will Davis $722,800
Jelani Jenkins $703,172
Dion Sims $701,888
Rishard Matthews $673,403
Mike Gillislee $625,700
Caleb Sturgis $621,140
Walt Aikens $613,977
Michael Preston $585,000
Mark Asper $585,000
Ryan Taylor $585,000
McLeod Bethel-Thompson $585,000
Don Jones $585,000
Jordan Tripp $550,700
Terrence Fede $523,988
Lowell Rose $510,000
Damien Williams $510,000
Sammy Seamster $510,000
Anthony Johnson $510,000
Deandre Coleman $510,000
Chris McCain $510,000
Matt Hazel $510,000
Gerell Robinson $510,000
Jake Stoneburner $510,000
Jake Knott $510,000
Sam Brenner $510,000
Arthur Lynch $482,825

Total:$135,261,636

Dead Money

Dead money is the guaranteed money/signing bonus still owed to players who have been released. Some of this money is from players who have been released this year (Hartline and Gibson), while some of it is money from players who were released post-June 1 last year. According to NFL rules, players who are released prior to June 1 see all of their remaining dead money accelerated into the current season’s salary cap. After June 1, the dead money for the current year remains on the books, while the rest is deferred until the following year.

The Dolphins current list of dead money is:

Name Cap Number
Brian Hartline $4,200,000
Brandon Gibson $1,000,000
Michael Egnew $147,239
Matt Hazel $79,350
Don Jones $22,948
Brock Jensen $7,334
Derrell Johnson $6,000
Tyler Larsen $4,667
Tevin Mims $3,334
Marcus Thompson $3,334
Steven Clarke $1,667
Andrew Wilson $1,334
Tariq Edwards $1,334
Rantavious Wooten $1,334
Evan Finkenberg $667

Total: $5,480,542

Totals

Total Top 51 Contracts: $135,261,636
Total Dead Money: $5,480,542

Total Salary Cap Number: $140,742,178

Rollover

Each year, a team can roll over any of their unused salary cap space from the previous year into the current year’s salary cap. The Dolphins should roll over $7,770,411 from last year into this year’s cap (via NFLPA).

Salary Cap Estimate

Assuming the $143 million salary cap, the Dolphins should have the following space available:

NFL Salary Cap (2015 estimate): $143,000,000
Team Roll Over: $7,770,411
Dolphins Salary Cap (2015 estimate): $150,770,411

Dolphins Salary Cap Number: $140,742,178

Remaining Salary Cap Space: $10,028,233

Remaining Contracts

The Dolphins currently have 57 players under contract. While only the Top 51, as listed above, count toward the salary cap right now, we still can list the remaining six contracts:

Player Cap Number
Davonte Wallace $438,333
Kamal Johnson $435,666
Zach Hocker $435,000
Shamiel Gary $435,000
Emmanuel Dieke $435,000
Tyler McDonald $435,000

Salary Cap Savings Moves:

We can also take a look at what savings are available for the Dolphins if they continue to make roster cuts:

Pre-June 1 roster cuts:

If these players are cut prior to June 1 (or without the post-June 1 designation of which every team has two), the savings (or lack there of) would be:

Player Dead Money Cap Savings
Mike Wallace $9,600,000 $2,500,000
Branden Albert $15,800,000 ($5,075,000)
Cameron Wake $2,800,000 $7,650,000
Brent Grimes $12,025,000 ($2,025,000)
Dannell Ellerbe $4,200,000 $5,650,000
Reshad Jones $3,000,000 $4,760,000
Mike Pouncey $0 $7,438,000
Cortland Finnegan $1,000,000 $5,475,000
Randy Starks $1,000,000 $5,000,000
Dion Jordan $6,670,836 ($1,060,209)
Earl Mitchell $0 $4,500,000
Koa Misi $1,734,000 $2,704,000
Philip Wheeler $4,200,000 $200,000
Ryan Tannehill $2,573,364 $1,457,523
Brandon Fields $790,000 $3,113,000
Shelley Smith $250,000 $2,750,000
Ja’Wuan James $6,895,962 ($4,980,417)
Nate Garner $166,668 $1,650,000
John Denney $200,000 $980,000
Jamar Taylor $508,600 $480,350
Olivier Vernon $159,520 $710,000
Jarvis Landry $855,406 ($65,654)
Lamar Miller $121,500 $660,000
Dallas Thomas $303,188 $458,406
Billy Turner $522,750 $200,250
Will Davis $260,600 $462,200
Jelani Jenkins $236,344 $466,828
Dion Sims $233,776 $468,112
Rishard Matthews $13,403 $660,000
Mike Gillislee $81,400 $544,300
Caleb Sturgis $72,280 $548,860
Walt Aikens $311,931 $302,046
Michael Preston $0 $585,000
Mark Asper $0 $585,000
Ryan Taylor $0 $585,000
McLeod Bethel-Thompson $0 $585,000
Don Jones $0 $585,000
Jordan Tripp $122,100 $428,600
Terrence Fede $41,964 $482,024
Lowell Rose $0 $510,000
Damien Williams $0 $510,000
Sammy Seamster $0 $510,000
Anthony Johnson $0 $510,000
Deandre Coleman $0 $510,000
Chris McCain $0 $510,000
Matt Hazel $0 $510,000
Gerell Robinson $0 $510,000
Jake Stoneburner $0 $510,000
Jake Knott $0 $510,000
Sam Brenner $0 $510,000
Arthur Lynch $143,475 $339,350
Davonte Wallace $6,667 $431,666
Kamal Johnson $1,334 $434,332
Zach Hocker $0 $435,000
Shamiel Gary $0 $435,000
Emmanuel Dieke $0 $435,000
Tyler McDonald $0 $435,000

Post-June 1 roster cuts:

If the team waits until after June 1, the following chart will show the savings the Dolphins will receive. Of note, if the team uses a post-June 1 designation, they will receive this savings, but they will not receive it until June 2. Until then, the team will continue to carry the player’s full salary cap hit as if they were still on the team.

Player Dead Money Cap Savings
Mike Wallace $5,200,000 $6,900,000
Branden Albert $10,700,000 $25,000
Cameron Wake $1,400,000 $9,050,000
Brent Grimes $9,025,000 $975,000
Dannell Ellerbe $1,400,000 $8,450,000
Reshad Jones $1,000,000 $6,760,000
Mike Pouncey $0 $7,438,000
Cortland Finnegan $1,000,000 $5,475,000
Randy Starks $1,000,000 $5,000,000
Dion Jordan $3,335,418 $2,275,209
Earl Mitchell $0 $4,500,000
Koa Misi $578,000 $3,860,000
Philip Wheeler $1,400,000 $3,000,000
Ryan Tannehill $2,573,364 $1,457,523
Brandon Fields $395,000 $3,508,000
Shelley Smith $250,000 $2,750,000
Ja’Wuan James $1,915,545 $0
Nate Garner $166,668 $1,650,000
John Denney $100,000 $1,080,000
Jamar Taylor $254,300 $734,650
Olivier Vernon $159,520 $710,000
Jarvis Landry $431,802 $357,950
Lamar Miller $121,500 $660,000
Dallas Thomas $151,594 $610,000
Billy Turner $174,250 $548,750
Will Davis $130,300 $592,500
Jelani Jenkins $118,172 $585,000
Dion Sims $116,888 $585,000
Rishard Matthews $13,403 $660,000
Mike Gillislee $40,700 $585,000
Caleb Sturgis $36,140 $585,000
Walt Aikens $103,977 $510,000
Michael Preston $0 $585,000
Mark Asper $0 $585,000
Ryan Taylor $0 $585,000
McLeod Bethel-Thompson $0 $585,000
Don Jones $0 $585,000
Jordan Tripp $40,700 $510,000
Terrence Fede $13,988 $510,000
Lowell Rose $0 $510,000
Damien Williams $0 $510,000
Sammy Seamster $0 $510,000
Anthony Johnson $0 $510,000
Deandre Coleman $0 $510,000
Chris McCain $0 $510,000
Matt Hazel $0 $510,000
Gerell Robinson $0 $510,000
Jake Stoneburner $0 $510,000
Jake Knott $0 $510,000
Sam Brenner $0 $510,000
Arthur Lynch $47,825 $435,000
Davonte Wallace $3,333 $435,000
Kamal Johnson $666 $435,000
Zach Hocker $0 $435,000
Shamiel Gary $0 $435,000
Emmanuel Dieke $0 $435,000
Tyler McDonald $0 $435,000

Summary

Assuming a $143 million salary cap, the Dolphins have already jumped up to a little over $10 million in salary cap space for this season. Some more cuts are expected, which could add even more money for the team. Right now, this money can be used to re-sign players to contract extensions, or the team can use it to target free agents when the signing period begins on March 10. The Dolphins will also need about $5.2 million in space to sign their draft picks this summer, money which could come from the post-June 1 releases/designations.

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