Podcast: A Word of Caution With Miami Dolphins Set To Clear Cap Space Ahead of Free Agency

Just because the Miami Dolphins can clear some $50 million with restructures prior to free agency doesn't mean that they should.

The Miami Dolphins are a whopping $51 million over the 2024 salary cap, according to the latest independent estimates. And that doesn’t even include the $21 million additional charge they would incur by franchising Christian Wilkins ahead of free agency.

But here’s a weird, totally unrealistic scenario that’s also completely true: The Dolphins could get cap compliant ahead of the March 13 deadline without a single contract restructure.

Restructuring a Dangerous Game for Miami Dolphins

It would just take cutting like a dozen players, including a number of starters on solid contracts.

That, of course, isn’t happening. Chris Grier and Mike McDaniel are looking to improve their roster this offseason, not completely gut it.

So the Dolphins will use some combination of obvious cuts (Emmanuel Ogbah, Keion Crossen, to name two), coerced pay cuts (potentially involving Terron Armstead and Jerome Baker), and restructures (Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb) to shed the $80 million or so in cap space to run a productive offseason.

But Grier, McDaniel, and — most importantly — Stephen Ross need to be clear-eyed about their chances to win it all this year.

And if they have doubts about whether Tua Tagovailoa can get past Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and a fully healthy Joe Burrow in 2024, they should act accordingly.

What does that mean? Take some salary cap medicine this year instead of sloughing it off to 2025 and beyond.

As it stands currently, Hill, Chubb, Armstead, Jalen Ramsey, and Xavien Howard account for a combined $132 million cap charge — more than half of the entire 2024 pie.

Think that’s a lot? Get a load of what their rough combined cap charge would be in 2025 if the Dolphins restructure all five (which would create some $50 million in 2024 space): $151.5 million.

Now consider this: Their average age when the 2025 regular season begins is a ripe 31.

Plus, the Dolphins won’t be able to create space nearly as easily then without an extension or phony void years that only further add to the pain, since all five are one year closer to their contracts’ completion.

KEEP READING: What the Miami Dolphins Should Do Next With Terron Armstead

Put another way, Miami would almost certainly have to blow up their team — and start not from scratch, but not far off. There’s a fiscal cliff coming. But the Dolphins can control how steep with their actions this spring.

We discuss that and much more in our latest PFN Miami Dolphins Podcast, featuring special guest Dolphreaky.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast

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