Where Dolphins stand with salary cap and one likely solution. And draft pick update


A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Monday:

The Dolphins will begin this offseason with major salary cap challenges and limited draft inventory.

According to overthecap.com, the Dolphins are $10.6 million over the 2023 salary cap with just 37 players under contract. The website says that the Dolphins would be $22.3 million over the cap if you include players (on minimum deals) to bring them up to 51 players and also include contracts for their five April 2023 draft picks.

The 2023 cap is projected to be $225 million.

The Dolphins likely will restructure several contracts to create more space.

Receiver Tyreek Hill appears likely to be one of those restructures.

Hill has a $16 million base salary and a $31.4 million cap hit for 2023. If the Dolphins change his 2023 base salary to $1 million and give him the other $15 million as a signing bonus, that would lower his cap number to $20.1 million.

That’s because signing bonuses, unlike base salary, can be evenly distributed on a team’s cap over the length of a contract. So under this specific restructure scenario, instead of Hill’s $16 million counting entirely on the 2023 cap, his cap hit would be reduced by more than $11 million, but cap hits would be added in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The Dolphins originally had two first-round draft picks but now have none. One was sent to Denver in the Bradley Chubb trade, and the other was forfeited as part of the league’s punishment for the Dolphins tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

The Dolphins have their own second-round pick, two third-round picks (their own and New England’s from the DeVante Parker trade), one sixth-round pick (from Chicago in the Jakeem Grant trade) and their own seventh-round pick.

Miami traded its fourth-round pick to Denver in the Chubb deal, traded its fifth-rounder to San Francisco in the Jeff Wilson Jr. trade, and traded its sixth-rounder to Kansas City in the Hill trade.

More than half of the Dolphins roster will be free agents.

On offense, unrestricted free agents include running backs Raheem Mostert, Wilson and Myles Gaskin; tight ends Mike Gesicki and Adam Shaheen; wide receivers Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft; and offensive linemen Michael Deiter, Kendall Lamm, Greg Little, Eric Fisher and Brandon Shell; and quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Glennon.

On defense, unrestricted free agents include linebackers Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley, Andrew Van Ginkel, Melvin Ingram III and Sam Eguavoen; safeties Eric Rowe and Clayton Fejedelem; cornerbacks Nik Needham and Justin Bethel; and defensive linemen Justin Zimmer, John Jenkins and Trey Flowers.

Punter Thomas Morstead also is a free agent.

Running back Salvon Ahmed and defensive back Elijah Campbell are restricted free agent.

After Sunday’s game, Xavien Howard made clear that this season did not meet his expectations and that we will see “a different player” next season.

Asked what it will require to get back to that level, he said: “Being put in position to make plays, as I’ve been doing. That’s something you can’t stop. I am going to make plays no matter what happens. If I get put in position to make plays, I’m going to do it.”

He later said: “I get put in better positions, I still can make plays. Putting myself in better positions will help me out this year.”

Asked if coaches didn’t put him in better positions, Howard did not answer. The group interview then ended.

Asked if September groin injuries were an issue all season, he said: “I played every week so I don’t know if a groin can heal every week when you’re playing with it. But you’ve got to deal with injuries. Everybody is not 100 percent and people keep fighting, so that’s what it’s all about.”

Howard, one of the league’s best cornerbacks from 2017 through 2021, allowed a 121.1 passer rating in his coverage area this season — second worst among players targeted at least 60 times.

The numbers are stunning considering Howard’s past greatness: 54 completions in 80 targets for 826 yards (a 15.3 average), with six touchdowns and one interception. Only Minnesota’s Chandon Sullivan has allowed more reception yards. After picking off 10 passes two years ago, he had five last season and just one this season (in San Francisco).

Notable snap counts on offense from the playoff game against Buffalo: left tackle Terron Armstead left briefly with the hip injury that has been bothering him but played 66 of 71 offensive snaps…At running back, the Dolphins split snaps pretty evenly between Wilson (38) and Ahmed (35).. Tight end Durham Smythe again played more than Gesicki (41 to 28) in what was likely Gesicki’s final game with the team. Hunter Long played more offensive snaps than usual (11).. Fullback Alec Ingold played only nine snaps.

Notable snap counts on defense from the playoff game: Defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler continued with their impressive workloads, playing 70 of 74 snaps. Defensive backs Howard, Jevon Holland and Kader Kohou played all 74, and linebacker Jerome Baker played 71…. With Bradley Chubb limited by ankle and hand injuries, playing time was similar among Chubb (28 snaps), Ingram (27) and Van Ginkel (24).. Safety Rowe played 70 snaps, Campbell 14 (he sometimes spied Josh Allen) and Verone McKinley III 1.

The Jets plan to speak to Dolphins quarterback coach Darrell Bevell about their vacant offensive coordinator job, per NFL Network.



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