Miami has 34 signed players for 2013 and are currently slated to draft nine more in the 2013 NFL draft, including five in the first three rounds.
Should the Dolphins' general manager, Jeff Ireland, receive credit for setting Miami up with a grand opportunity to improve the team? Team owner Stephen Ross believes so and will allow Ireland to engineer this pivotal offseason.
Many Miami fans, however, feel that Ireland is the root of the Dolphins' failures over the past five years and should not be at the helm for the draft and the $50 million shopping spree.
I believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle and that 2013 is going to be anything but dull for Dolphin fans.
Let's take a look at the 2013 contracts, Miami's free agents and other items of interest.
Here are the players under contract for 2013, according to Spotrac.com.
|Player||Position||2013 Cap Hit|
The total salary for the 34 signed players is $71,883,866.
If you paid close attention to the last slide, you may have noticed that Dimitri Patterson owns the fifth-highest 2013 salary on the team at $5,600,000.
When Miami put in a waiver claim for Patterson a week ago, they took on the three-year, $16 million contract he had signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Ireland is giving Patterson an audition. The Dolphins will not owe Patterson a cent of his 2013 money, if he is not on the roster for the first regular season game. In all likelihood, Patterson will have to restructure his contract if he wants to be a Dolphin in 2013.
The 29-year-old Patterson is in his seventh NFL season and has played for the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, in addition to the Browns. He has made five career interceptions.
Jeff Ireland has done well when it comes to minimizing dead money, which is guaranteed money paid to players that have been cut. According to Spotrac, only three ex-Dolphins are owed dead money in 2013.
Dead Money |
In 2013, the Miami Dolphins will have only $469,205 in dead money.
Currently, the Miami Dolphins have $71,888,071 tied up in 2013. NFL.com claims that the 2013 cap will be around $121 million. That gives Miami about $50 million to play with. In actuality, the number may be closer to $55 million, if Dimitri Patterson is cut.
What will Jeff Ireland do with that money?
There are Dolphins to re-sign as well as Pro Bowl free agents to lure.
The following current Miami Dolphins will be free agents at the end of this season:
- Jake Long
- Reggie Bush
- Brian Hartline
- Randy Starks
- Sean Smith
- Anthony Fasano
- Tony McDaniel
- Matt Moore
- Nate Garner
- Chris Clemons
- Marlon Moore
- Tyrone Culver
- Bryan McCann
- Patrick Brown
- Jonathon Amaya
- Jeron Mastrud
- Austin Spitler
- R.J. Stanford
- Jonathan Freeny
- Pat Devlin
- Marcus Thigpen
The Dolphins will likely lose Matt Moore; some team is bound to allow him to compete for a starting job and pay him accordingly.
Ireland would love to have Long, Bush, Hartline, Starks, Smith, and Fasano back, as long as their price tag is reasonable.
The 2013 offseason will be franchise-altering for the Miami Dolphins. For Miami fans, there's a lot to be optimistic about in 2013. Ryan Tannehill looks like a franchise quarterback, and the Dolphins will be contenders next year, no matter what you may think of Jeff Ireland.
The question is how much improvement they'll make.
That responsibility lies completely on Ireland's shoulders.
Who do you think the Dolphins should re-sign? Chase in free agency?