Kdawg's Extremely Early 2018 Dolphins Roster/Cap Projections

Kdawg954

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I am going to attempt to throw a little something (or a lot of something) together to give an idea of what the team might be doing in the offseason and maybe more importantly, how will they get it done. Obviously many of these are subjective but I will try and be realistic as possible while putting this together.

With that said, lets get it started:

Initial Housekeeping:

The salary cap in 2017 came in at around $167 million dollars. Every year since 2012 the salary cap has jumped at least $10 million dollars. With reports suggesting the cap could go as high as $178 million dollars for 2018 . . . that is a number that I will roll with here.

With a projected cap of $178 million for 2018, that currently puts the Miami Dolphins at roughly $15 million below the cap entering the offseason.

Pre Free Agency Roster:

Clearly $15 million under the cap is nothing, especially in comparison to some teams at well over $60 and $70 million. So Miami will have some critical roster managing to do prior to FA and the draft.

Free Agents

Jarvis Landry
Jay Cutler
Matt Moore
Williams Hayes
Nate Allen
Koa Misi (retiring?)
Jermon Bushrod
Anthony Fasano
Michael Thomas
Damian Williams
John Denney
Alterraun Verner
Sam Young
Cody Parkey
David Fales
Walt Aikens
Terrence Fede

Signed Players that potentially have cuttable contracts to gain cap space

Juwan James - 5th year Option rescinded at $9.341 million saved with $0 in dead cap
Cameron Wake - $8.125 million saved with $500K in dead cap
Mike Pouncey - $7 million saved with $2 million in dead cap
Julius Thomas - $6.6 million saved with $0 in dead Cap
Lawrence Timmons - $5.475 million saved with $2.75 million in dead cap

Signed Players who may restructure and/or extend to help the team get 2018 cap relief

Ryan Tannehill - 3 years left with $60.5 million left in cap hits and only $4.6 million of that from guaranteed signing bonus dead cap hits. That is roughly $56 million dollars just floating out there unguaranteed (Ryan does have a 5th day kicker this year that would fully guarantee his 2018 base). This contract is BEGGING to be restructured if Miami needs cap relief. Obviously how they feel about Ryan, his role on this team going forward and his injury history will ultimately decided what happens but I personally would be pretty shocked if Miami didn't touch this contract in some way or form. If you are comfortable staking him as your QB of this team for the next 5 years . . . an extension, guaranteed money with injury provisions and a restructure of the first 3 years makes all the sense in the world. This is your year to bargain, because if he has a killer 2018, that price will skyrocket.

Ndamukong Suh - On paper, this contract looks awful and obviously needs restructuring. But once you dig deeper you realize there is no legit way to restructure this thing. While most restructures are essentially "kicking the cap hit can down the road" . . . this is the true definition of it on a extremely large scale. Where Ryan currently sits with more than 90% of the rest of his deal in unguaranteed base on the cap . . . Suh has 3 years and $76.5 million in cap hits remaining with $22.2 million of that as guaranteed signing bonus dead cap hits. That is nearly a whopping 30% on a contract that averages more than $25 million a year towards the cap. Pretty crazy for a non QB.

I do get what Miami was somewhat thinking. They restructured and planned to rollover that $10 million dollars for 2018/2019, so the average would of settled in around $20 million those 2 years and have an easy out in 2020 with an only $4 million dollar cap hit that could be split.

Ultimately you can desperately restructure which would pretty much make Suh a guaranteed Dolphin player for the next 3 years but this same conversation will exist next year and in 2020 . I don't think they do it but at least with Suh you are getting a true competitor on the field and a guy who will still likely be a top player at DT through the 2020 season.

Free Agency Roster Management:

So here is where the fun begins

Contracts staying the same

Mike Pouncey - I am fine with the deal the way it is and I am not interested in opening up a hole at Center. Gase likes Pouncey, the money at $7 million is not crazy and no guaranteed money is left on this deal so we can still monitor the health and get rid of this contract at any time.

Cam Wake - The man had 10.5 sacks and never commanded a huge deal in Miami. A paycut is not happening. The most I could see is them extending Cam a year if they got desperate, converting half of his 2018 base into signing bonus a relieving a little more than $2 million from this years cap but I think both Cam and Miami will be content to let this ride out in 2018 and outside of Cam having some sort of crazy good season and wanting to play, he retires a Fin.

Ndamukong Suh - I ain't touching this thing. Pay the piper now and keep your 2020 leverage.

Contract Cuts

I am cutting Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons. That immediately saves us $12 million in cap space and bumps our overall cap space to $27 million.

Restructures/Extensions

Juwan James - The $9.341 million dollar 5th year option gets torn up and he signs a deal for 5 years/33 million - 7.5 million in signing bonus - 15 million in guarantees (2018/2019 base guaranteed)

2018 - $2.5 million in guaranteed base salary - $1.5 million signing bonus - Total Cap hit is $4 million
2019 - $5 million in guaranteed base salary - $1.5 million signing bonus - Total Cap hit is $6.5 million
2020 - $5.5 million in base salary - $1.5 million signing bonus - Total Cap hit is $7 million
2021 - $6 million in base salary - $1.5 million signing bonus - Total Cap hit is $7.5 million
2022 - $6.5 million in base salary - $1.5 million signing bonus - Total Cap hit is $8 million

This year we seemed to get the depth in order on the offensive line, Miami now has Tunsil/James/Pouncey/Davis in the fold for the next 3 years while also having guys like Sterup/Smith/Brendal/Asiata continuting to grow and compete.

Our 2018 cap hit has now added $5.341 million in cap space from this deal and we stand at $32.341 million.

Ryan Tannehill
- There will be injury provisions regarding the knee, but the Dolphins and Tannehill rip up the current deal and Ryan signs a new 5 year deal worth $110 million. Signing Bonus will be 20 million and guaranteed base salaries in 2018 and 2019.

2018 - $6.5 million in guaranteed base salary - $6.3 million in signing bonus ($2.3 from previous deal) - Total Cap hit is $12.8 million

2019 - $15 million in guaranteed base salary - $6.3 million in signing bonus ($2.3 from previous deal) - Total Cap hit is $21.3 million

2020 - $20 million in base salary - $4 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $24 million

2021 - $23 million in base salary - $4 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $27 million

2022 - $25.5 million in base salary - $4 million in signing bonus - Total cap Hit is $29.5 million

It's a lot of money . . . welcome to average QB money as the cap continues to rise and new deals are being made. All Miami essentially did was give Ryan a piece of mind the next 2 years and pay him what they would of while saving $7 million on the cap for 2018. The last 2 years, hell 3 years are workable. Miami can reevaluate the deal in 2 years if necessary.

Miami now has roughly $40 million to work with heading into Free Agency.

Resigns

Really not going to go into detail with all the contracts here as they are all smaller deals . . . except for 1.

Jarvis Landry (this deal could happen after being franchised but it will eventually happen) - 5 years, $62.5 million. Signing Bonus is $15 million. Guaranteed Base salaries in 2018 and 2019.

2018 - $7.5 million in guaranteed base - $3 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $10.5 million
2019 - $8.5 million in guaranteed base - $3 million in signing bonus - Total Cap HIt is $11.5 million
2020 - $9.5 million base - $3 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $12.5 million
2021 - $10.5 million base - $3 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $13.5 million
2022 - $11.5 million base - $3 million in signing bonus - Total Cap Hit is $14.5 million

Jay Cutler -
1 year - $5 million - can make up to $10 million based on incentives regarding games started, touchdowns, pro bowl and playoff games started.. Gase wants a proper contingency plan and he still feels his best option for the short term is Jay Cutler with a full offseason program. (2018 cap hit $5 million)

Cody Parkey -
3 years - $8 million (2018 cap hit $2 million)

Anthony Fasano - 1 year - $2.5 million (2018 cap hit $2.5 million)

John Denney - 1 year - $1 million (2018 cap hit $1 million)

I am going to leave out free agent special teamers like Thomas, Aikens and Fede for now. We have some young guys on rookie contracts that have done well this year on them. But I think Fede will check out his options in FA and the other 2 will be replaced by the likes of Lucas and Smith at safety. I'd say William Hayes is the one guy I haven't mentioned that Miami could bring back because of his ability to kick inside and stop the run. There will be money for him if need be.

After Free Agency, Miami will have roughly $19 million in cap space heading into the draft. Obviously I have us bringing in nobody, that of course could change but I like the youth approach we have taken and we need to buy a year on the cap and this is the best way to do it.


Draft (analysis first 3 rounds)

Miami will need roughly $7 million dollars to sign its draft class in 2018

11. Quenton Nelson - OG - Notre Dame - Miami was targeting Roquan Smith, but he goes right before their pick and they happily swoop in and get this mammoth guard out of Notre Dame who slid a bit due to Quarterbacks being pushed up the board (5 taken in the top 10). While Adam Gase normally doesn't look for using high resources at guard, Nelson fills the largest hole on the team at LG and is the BPA on the Miami board. Ted Larsen becomes the primary backup at guard and center.

42. Malik Jefferson - LB - Texas - Miami gets a developing stud LB in round 2 to continue their intent of adding athleticism to that middle third of the defense. With Alonso (not in the mood for cut Kiko talk), McMillan and Anthony as well, the Dolphins feel they are as athletic as they have been in years at the LB position after this pick.

73. Dallas Goedert - TE - South Dakota State - Miami could get fancy and trade up for this kid but the TE's in general fall in this draft and Miami gets the most athletic one of the group. Small school kid but instantly provides the seam threat that Gase and Dolfans have been clamoring for over the years. Fasano back will help mentor this kid to become a weapon as the season progresses.

107. Chad Thomas - DE - Miami

128. Raashad Penny - RB - SDSU

169. Kurt Benkert - QB - Virginia

197. Damon Webb - FS - Ohio State

Final Roster

QB -
Tannehill/Cutler (Benkert to the PS)
RB - Drake/Penny/Smith/Perry
WR - Parker/Stills/Landry/Carroo/Grant
TE - Goedert/Fasano/Gray/Derby
LT - Tunsil/Sterup
LG - Nelson/Larsen
OC - Pouncey/Brendal
RT - Davis/Asiata
RG - James/Smith

DE -
Branch/Wake/Harris/Thomas/Malveaux
DT - Suh/Phillips/Godchaux/Taylor
LB - Alonso/McMillan/Jefferson/Anthony/Allen/Hull
CB - Howard/Tankersley/McCain/Lippett/McTyer
S - Jones/Mcdonald/Smith/Webb/Lucas

K
- Parkey
P - Haack (can change)
LS - Denney

Wrap Up

After Free Agency, small little resigns/tenders/etc and Draft I expect Miami to settle in around $10 million in free cap space throughout the season . . . a number they would sure love to keep in tact for a potential roll over in 2019.

Miami will hope for bounce years from guys like Kiko Alonso and Andre Branch, in addition to continued growth from the secondary and DT position to help improve a defense that ultimately I think were mentally worn out by watching an anemic offense early on in the season. Excited to see this athletic LB group.

On offense it is all about the return of Ryan Tannehill. He will have what should be his best offensive line by far during his tenure, seasoned skilled playmakers all over the field and another year in the offense despite not playing in 2017.

Big year for Adam Gase obviously . . . it's his time. That penalty BS we saw this year needs to stop.

Prediction: 11-5

















 

Kdawg954

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Very well done and thought out Kdawg

Personally, I’d rather role with Fales (or whoever we may draft) instead of Cutler/Moore
Yea I mean I factored in Gase's thought process here as well. I still think in his mind if he can work with Jay and Ryan all offseason, it gives Miami the best situation at QB for him.

I just didn't like the drop in QBs to take anybody in the middle rounds and Benkert is a project with a lot of arm talent. Definitely more of a workable project than Doughty or even Fales. I toyed with Fales as the primary backup for half a second and said nahhhh.

Certainly one of the more controversial decisions in this mock up offseason projection.
 

NorthernFin

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Very nice write up. You really think they bring back Cutler? Jay wants to start, and I don't see that happening with a healthy Tannehill. Moore is gone as I don't think Gase has confidence in him. I see us drafting a QB in 3rd or 4th. I'm also concerned about your numbers for Landry. I think he will demand more $$.

Good job and appreciate the detailed work!
 

Kdawg954

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Very nice write up. You really think they bring back Cutler? Jay wants to start, and I don't see that happening with a healthy Tannehill. Moore is gone as I don't think Gase has confidence in him. I see us drafting a QB in 3rd or 4th. I'm also concerned about your numbers for Landry. I think he will demand more $$.

Good job and appreciate the detailed work!
No problem, I wanted to get something out there before I started getting busy in the next few days and really won't have the time to do something like this in the next few months.

It is not starter money but if he became the starter via a Tannehill setback it could escalate into what he made this year. That could be enticing enough for Jay to not have to just find any old situation and be in familiar surroundings. He could just retire again as well but I think if Gase pushes for it, I could see it happening. I know it won't be popular but I think its the best insurance we have for 2018.

Landry I could be a little off on the AAV, but it isn't by much. Keep in mind Miami has the franchise tag in its pocket and that could be used as leverage here to get Juice to sign long term. Juice is getting $15 million for just signing his name and he is guaranteed another $7.5 million. That is $22.5 million in one year for a guy who didn't make $4 million over the last 4 seasons.
 

uk_dolfan

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You say
Gase wants a proper contingency plan
then suggest Jay Cutler (at the crazy price of 5 million!!!) as a solution to this?



You cant seriously think Gase was satisfied with Cutler this year?
 

Kdawg954

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You say then suggest Jay Cutler (at the crazy price of 5 million!!!) as a solution to this?



You cant seriously think Gase was satisfied with Cutler this year?
We are talking about a backup plan in case Ryan Tannehill has any setbacks. If you wanna penny pinch and think there is a better solution to run Adam Gase's offense for a million or two less behind Ryan . . . by all means name him. I know you said "you were an option" in chat, but I don't think Adam Gase feels that way.

And honestly, of course Adam Gase wasn't satisfied with his offense as a whole and that includes Jay Cutler, but Adam Gase will be the first one to tell you that Jay Cutler isn't the only reason this offense struggled.

It's a contingency plan, and I was critical as hell of Jay, especially in that first Buffalo game. He missed a lot of throws, but I'd be lying if I think Fales or a rookie on day 3 will be a better option. I just don't believe that. I think the best option is Jay Cutler with a full offseason. It wasn't meant to be universally accepted . . . especially by you uk lol.
 

fininpsl

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Great write up K-Dawg. Will respond in depth more later, but I'd LOVE that draft. Goedert Thomas, and Penny all probably go about a round earlier IMHO though.
 

Kdawg954

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Great write up K-Dawg. Will respond in depth more later, but I'd LOVE that draft. Goedert Thomas, and Penny all probably go about a round earlier IMHO though.
Yea I really wasn't sure to be honest. I know I'm probably less than 20 picks off on those picks so I said hell with it. . a .05 slower here, a bad combine there and they are there lol

I do think the TE class will falter a bit and the RB is so deep that if Penny runs 4.6 something the mid to late 4th round is not a stretch but Thomas is the one where I'm like damn that seems late round 3ish to me.

Penny would be such a good compliment to Drake tho.
 

uk_dolfan

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Aside from the Cutler madness:

I like bringing back Fasano, though I think he may decide to hang it up. I like not giving Suh a restructure (hell, I would listen to trade offers) that contract is already bad enough. I love that Denney got a mention.

Agree with cutting Timmons and Thomas, both should already be gone - we got very lucky that Timmons voided those guarantees. I would be open to extending James.

Happy to keep Parkey but i don't think I would ever give any kicker a contract longer than 2 years...well unless Justin Tucker wants to live closer to the beach

How much of that 62 (gulp!) are you guaranteeing? I assume he will want a lot, Adams got 31million in guarantees.

I am still firmly in the Tannehill fan club, but I would be hesitant to give him a new deal until this time next year

I think letting Hayes walk would be a mistake.

Personally I think that any draft that doesn't take a defensive player (preferably a DE) in the first round is flawed
 

Geordie

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Thank you so much for doing this Kdawg, being English I don't understand the whole salary cap thing, it's way too complex but I've learned a lot about where we stand reading your summary, so that's much appreciated.
 

Kdawg954

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Aside from the Cutler madness:

I like bringing back Fasano, though I think he may decide to hang it up. I like not giving Suh a restructure (hell, I would listen to trade offers) that contract is already bad enough. I love that Denney got a mention.

Agree with cutting Timmons and Thomas, both should already be gone - we got very lucky that Timmons voided those guarantees. I would be open to extending James.

Happy to keep Parkey but i don't think I would ever give any kicker a contract longer than 2 years...well unless Justin Tucker wants to live closer to the beach

How much of that 62 (gulp!) are you guaranteeing? I assume he will want a lot, Adams got 31million in guarantees.

I am still firmly in the Tannehill fan club, but I would be hesitant to give him a new deal until this time next year

I think letting Hayes walk would be a mistake.

Personally I think that any draft that doesn't take a defensive player (preferably a DE) in the first round is flawed
So no QB for you in round 1?

Hayes is the one guy where I feel I could be wrong when it comes to FA, but now 33 coming off injured reserve and he asked to be let out of a contract that was already giving him $5 million. Miami shouldn't offer that at all, it should be less all things considered. He will be rotational. No sure if his humility will see him take it.

I am gambling with Tannehill but this new contract is also gotta be laced with knee injury provisions that get Miami out of the deal. Miami benefits greatly if they get a fully healthy Tannehill and truthfully it looks huge . . . it's not that much different from what he is already making.

The Parkey deal is easily cuttable after 1 year, let alone 3. Stop looking at the years, its all about the guarantees and at most how it affects the cap for the next 2 years.

Juice's total guaranteed money would be $31 million as well . . . roughly 50% of the deal. It's a very good deal for him if he isn't worried about AAV. A good agent will let him know that.
 

ANUFan

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Man thanks for putting the time to write this up OP. Unless I missed it I didn't notice that you included any FA players/position that we could possibly tackle and add to the roster.

Also, I seriously doubt 5 QBs go in the top 10. Has that happen in recent years? I'm banking teams will think the position is deep and they can get someone in the 2nd/3rd rounds.
 
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