Dolphins Lose $8MM In Cap Space

Although the Dolphins have not signed a single player to a standard 2021 contract this month, the club has still lost about $8MM in cap space, as Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report. That’s because a few players hit incentives in their contracts that increased their 2021 cap charges.

For instance, WR DeVante Parker‘s 2021 cap number increased from $11MM to $12MM, while safety Eric Rowe‘s number grew from $5.05MM to $6.05MM. As such, Miami now has $25.4MM of cap space, assuming the cap floor of $180MM does not increase.

That’s not an insignificant amount of wiggle room, but the Dolphins do have a number of high-value draft picks, including the Nos. 3 and 18 overall selections and two second-round choices. If they keep all of those picks, Miami would need to allocate about $11.9MM for its draft class, per Jackson and Beasley. That doesn’t leave a ton of space for the team to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

After all, the ‘Fins will need to sign a wide receiver, a backup QB, and several linebackers, and they will also need to re-sign C Ted Karras or acquire a new center (though Jackson and Beasley say the club is high on Wisconsin-Whitewater OL Quinn Meinerz, Miami is not going to deploy a D-III rookie as its starting pivot).

The Dolphins do have plenty of options to create additional room, including cutting safety Bobby McCain or restructuring the contract of linebacker Kyle Van Noy. And the situation would be completely altered if the club were to trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, which appears to be a legitimate possibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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18 comments on “Dolphins Lose $8MM In Cap Space

  1. jbordis

    Why do these articles keep calling it a “cap floor?” Do you guys know what a floor is? This is a ceiling.

    • Rory Parks

      We’re familiar with the difference. The league has set the “floor” at $180MM. Meaning it won’t go below that mark, but it could go above it.

    • frank858

      That’s right Rory the floor is $180MM and it sounds like the ceiling will be about $188MM

    • CoachWe

      Cap floor increased from 175m to 180 mil. The “estimated” actual Cap should be around 188mill to 190mill.

  2. MileHighFan

    I would think pretty much every team has people that met some or all of their incentive clauses.

  3. CoachWe

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this limits Miami. I suspect they are interested in landing a big QB (i.e. Watson). The Dolphins have an estimated 22 mill in Cap space and this 8 mill cuts into it.

    BTW,…Everyone is high on Quin Mienerz. That guy will be gone in round 3.

    • Jcool90

      Right lol sometimes these reporters are ahhh the fans don’t know. Lmao we hmmm most likely know more than them. Whoever writes the bs stuff.

  4. CoachWe

    I like this article bc it addresses real world concerns ($$$ v. FA availability) Shocking to read other articles totally ignoring the Cap when evaluating FA needs.

  5. nentwigs

    Due to the reduced cap space, the Dolphins are considering just wrapping their head with a bandanna.

  6. dmarcus15

    The phins honestly needs trade one of their first round picks collect 2nd and 3rds and draft Dickerson from Alabama.

  7. CoachWe

    Looks like we were all a bit optimistic. Now it looks like Cap will be more like 183 mil. Buyers market. Teams that have 30+ mill will get players on the cheap. Many teams will perhaps release quality players.

  8. JJOP

    I love how they “lost” it as if the Miami front office is SHOCKED that they don’t have that money anymore. They didn’t lose a thing. Their devoted money is what it is, it’s the same as it was the second their 2020 season ended.

    While I agree that Miami needs to find a backup QB, who says they need to spend a penny on WR FAs? I would be perfectly happy of they only drafted WRs or picked up a surprise cut later in the off-season. They will most definitely restructure some contracts. They have plenty of options. And they have almost no dead money. AND the vast majority of teams are strapped and will be letting go of players. Miami doesn’t have to let go of anyone.

    And unless they are drafting Sewell, they are trading out of #3. Personally, i think they should drop to #8-10 and also drop down from #18 unless there is undeniable talent there. Maybe have 8-10 and 25-31 and add very high picks for next year and an extra 2nd and/or 3rd this year.

    Bottom line, Miami has the draft capital to not only highly control what they want to do in the draft, but also use it to help their salary cap structure. This was a poorly thought out article…

    • Brownsbacker9

      If they picked up a surprised WR cut, they’d still be paying a penny for them

        • Brownsbacker9

          They would be free agents just like any other free agent. You’re still going to have to pay the going rate. I don’t get your point of saving money

  9. stretch123

    I don’t think Deshaun Watson is going anywhere… Miami needs to focus on bringing in a tier two receiver like Marvin Jones to pair with Devonta Smith/Chase (they’re going to draft one of the two, whether they trade down or stay where they are at). Could also seeing them drafting Najee Harris and they should use their remaining cap space to bring in someone like Lavonte David to help their defense.

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