Exploring Potential Miami Dolphins Cap Casualties
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As the Miami Dolphins prepare to move forward under a new regime, they are also trying to find fits for their team and at solid economic value.
The old adage applies: Out with the old, in with the new.
The "old" may not be as old as you might think, and the "new" could even consist of some players from the previous regime.
Based on salary structure, which players are at the biggest risk of being cast off from Hard Knocks?
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As the Dolphins switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense, they'll be looking to move on from a lot of the bigger, two-gap defensive linemen. There could be a place for McDaniel in the 4-3 defense, but at what price?
According to Volin's article, McDaniel is currently the eighth-most expensive player on the roster at $4.1575 million against the salary cap, despite starting just two games in the past two seasons.
His production over his career hasn't warranted that kind of money, with eight sacks in his six-year career and 2.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons.
Cutting McDaniel would result in savings of around $3 million.
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The Dolphins are looking for fits in their zone-blocking scheme, which requires linemen to be quick on their feet. Murtha was a product of the previous regime, which called for plodding offensive lineman known for their strength.
If he's not a fit in the offense, cutting him wouldn't cost anything, according to Volin's article.
Paying $1.927 million to a backup right tackle seems pretty steep, but keeping him around would allow him to potentially earn the starting spot. If he's not the starter, he could restructure his deal to make it more team friendly and economic for a backup offensive lineman.
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The Dolphins safeties as a whole struggled throughout 2011. Someone has to step up at the position, but will it be Clemons? He played just 21 snaps in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus, but even when he's played, he hasn't played incredibly well.
He's scheduled to count for $1.35 million against the cap, and with just $40,625 in dead money, the Dolphins could save $1.31 million.
The Dolphins added Richard Marshall and Tyrell Johnson in free agency, so it will be up to Clemons to earn that starting job in camp and his contract during the season.
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Similar to Murtha, Garner may not be exactly the type of offensive lineman the Dolphins are looking for. At $1.65 million for 2012, with only $200,000 in dead money, getting rid of him would give the Dolphins nearly all of his salary back for the cap.
Training camp will open a lot of eyes as to which offensive linemen are best suited to be part of the new zone-blocking scheme. Garner has some versatility, having played both left and right guard, playing in all 16 games and starting eight. He missed all of 2010 with a broken foot, and he played every game once again in 2011.
That track record could be enough to earn him a roster spot, but if it's not, the Dolphins will get back nearly all of his money on the cap.