Sorry, Miami Dolphins Fans — GM Chris Grier Hints At Limited Free Agency Action

The Miami Dolphins still need to shed tens of millions just to get cap-compliant ahead of NFL free agency, meaning their purchasing power is limited.

INDIANAPOLIS — Expect the Miami Dolphins to be ballers on a budget this offseason.

Given their upside-down salary cap situation, that was pretty apparent even before team general manager Chris Grier met with reporters here Wednesday.

Will Miami Dolphins Tighten Their Belts in Free Agency?

The Dolphins have both short and long-term budgetary constraints that are the price of success in the modern NFL.

The good players that help you win games want to be paid like good players. So if the Dolphins want to keep elite talents like soon-to-be free agent Christian Wilkins, they know they’ll have to pay for him — even if it takes the franchise tag (at $21.2 million to do it).

Handing out extensions — like the potentially record-breaking one due Tua Tagovailoa at some point this offseason — can provide relief today but at the expense of tomorrow.

If Tagovailoa’s contract comes in over $50 million annually — which most at this point expect — the Dolphins will have to make sacrifices elsewhere.

It’s a new dynamic for a Dolphins team that hasn’t given a quarterback a second contract since Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year, $77.7 million extension prior to the 2015 season.

“It is a challenge, but I think the one thing [Dolphins bookkeepers] Brandon Shore and Max Napolitano have done when we talk is we’re always looking short term and long term, in terms of having flexibility and how contacts are structured and stuff,” Grier said.

“Again, yes, every year you can’t go and make those moves that people get excited for. You’ve seen it around the league that it’s not sustainable. At some point, you have to reel it back a little bit and add some youth and influx, and then cherry pick here and there. We’ve been looking at all different ways in terms of building this thing and keeping our roster competitive.”

Translation: No blockbusters likely this offseason.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t find value in the second and third waves of free agency, particularly with more than $15 million in cap space freeing up after June 1 due to the Xavien Howard release.

KEEP READING: Why Miami Dolphins’ Chris Grier Shut Down Jaylen Waddle Trade Rumors

What’s more, the Dolphins could be playing the compensatory pick formula game, which rewards teams that lose more than they gain in free agency. Street free agent acquisitions and trades don’t count against that formula, nor do any players signed after May 1.

So while the top 100 free agents list is instructive when getting a sense of the best players expected to be available, the Dolphins likely might be shopping more on the clearance rack this spring.

“All you guys have seen around the league is when you get those [quarterbacks] on a rookie deal, it allows you to do the things that we’ve done the last few years, to go get guys, whether it was Tyreek [Hill], Bradley [Chubb], etc.,” Grier said.

“And also for us moving forward, we have had a lot of good young players come up too, like Jaylen Waddle and [Jaelan] Phillips. We have five or six guys too that we’re talking to that are going to be candidates for possible extensions.”

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Dolphins are basically going to blame their collapse at season and on injuries, and do nothing about fixing anything.

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