The big question is... What was Gardener's signing bonus... like was discussed it was never released.
But, the MAX it could be is: $8,721,600
I base that upon the 2000 bonus amount listed at USATODAY ($1,453,600) x 6 (according to the CBA in effect at the time Gardener signed his contract, signing bonus payments could only be spread over 6 years.)
It is possible it could be less than that, as it is very likely that that number includes other bonuses such as workout bonuses, roster bonuses, etc. But, we will never get those details.
If that is in fact what his true signing bonus amount was... we would have four payments of $1,453,600 left to pay. For a total of $5,814,400. Split over 2 years... $2,907,600 cap hit each year.
Meaning it would COST the Dolphins $300,000 to release him.
BUT, I'm willing to bet there were some roster bonuses included in that amount, and the original signing bonus was under $8 million. (Jason Taylor's ~$9million bonus was reported as the largest ever given to a Dolphin.)
Cap hit for Various bonus amounts...
$8 million = Break Even
$7.5 million = save $100,000
$7 million = save $260,000
$6.5 million = save $430,000
$6 million = save $600,000