With Free Agency just around the corner, the Miami Dolphins will have a few tough decisions to make. Yesterday, we looked at the defensive side of the ball but what about offense? There are numerous players the Dolphins can look at cutting to free up some money.
On February 8, the waiver system began for the 2016 season and some teams have made a few minor moves. For the Miami Dolphins, they have only released offensive tackle Jason Fox. However, as we get closer to the free agency period that begins on March 9, we will see more and more transactions being processed. Yesterday, I looked at the defensive side of the ball for money-saving measures the Dolphins could take. Today, we look at the offensive side.
It may be shocking to see his name first on the list but the fact is that he carries a high cap number of $10.15 million Dollars and everything will be taken into consideration. Albert is a very talented player but he hasn't played a full season since 2011. Can the Dolphins and the new coaching staff rely on him to stay healthy? If they can't, do they have a viable backup in place to hold down the fort? Remember in 2015 that the Dolphins tried to use Jason Fox and that was a disaster. This cannot happen again.
Releasing him before June 1 wouldn't help much - it would essentially be an even swap of Dead Money and cap savings. However, releasing him after June 1 would save $8.5 million dollars while incurring $1.7 million dollars in dead money.
Recommendation: The Dolphins should keep Albert. He is simply too good to let go and the Dolphins don't need to open another hole where they can't afford to. Yes, Laremy Tunsil and/or Ronnie Staley may fall to them at the top of the draft, but by drafting one of those players, the Dolphins aren't addressing other positions of need where there are dynamite players. Sure, if their plan is to attack those positions in free agency, then this pick would make sense. One caveat though - if the Dolphins can land Kelechi Osemele from the Baltimore Ravens in free agency - they should sign him and release Albert.
There has been talk about re-structuring Ryan Tannehill's contract to free up some money in free agency. However, just like it would be a bad idea to re-structure Ndamukong Suh, it would be a bad idea for Tannehill as well. The book is still out on Tannehill and no one - not even head coach Adam Gase - knows if he is the long-term answer to the franchise. This year is the test and he will have every opportunity to prove it. If he doesn't, the Dolphins can easily get out of his contract next season, where they would only have $2.3 million dollars of dead money while getting a cap savings of $18 million dollars.
Recommendation: Keep the contract as is for Tannehill and make him prove himself this coming season. THe last thing the Dolphins need to do is re-structure the contract and kick the can down the road, which would make it harder to cut him if he falls on his face in 2016. Watch careful though - if they do re-structure, it means that Gase and his staff are buying into the fact that Tannehill is the quarterback of the Dolphins franchise.
Tight end Jordan Cameron signed a two-year contract worth $15 million dollars last offseason. It's been awhile since Cameron had a great season. His best one came in 2013 when he had 80 receptions for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2011, he had 6 receptions for 33 yards. In 2012 he had 20 receptions 226 yards. In 2014, he had 24 receptions for 424 yards and this past season, he had 35 receptions for 386 yards. One great season out of five screams that it was a fluke and not the norm for Cameron.
He has a cap number of $9.5 million dollars. If they release him, they will have $2 million dollars of dead money but a cap savings of $7.5 million dollars.
Recommendation: Cut Cameron. He is nothing special and failed to form chemistry with Tannehill last season. I would argue that Dion Sims is a better tight end than him. The Dolphins can easily pick up another in free agency or grab one in the draft that can put out the same kind of numbers that Cameron did this past season.
Wide Receiver Greg Jennings had a very minimal impact during the 2015 season. After thriving in Green Bay for seven seasons, he went to the Minnesota Vikings from 2013-2014, where we noticed that he just wasn't the same without Aaron Rodgers. In Miami, he had 19 receptions on 36 targets for 208 yards and one touchdown. The fact is that he was brought in more as a favor to former head coach Joe Philbin for someone who can be on his side and help support his message in the locker room.
He has a cap number of $5.5 million dollars. If Miami were to release him, they would have $1.5 million dollars of dead money but a cap savings of $4 million dollars.
Recommendation: This one is easy - the Dolphins should release him. While he is a great presence in the locker room, it doesn't make a ton of sense to pay him $5.5 million to have that calming effect. With DeVante Parker healthy along with Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, the Dolphins can work to develop Matt Hazel and anyone else they may bring in for a cheaper amount of money.
Every offseason, we are told that offensive tackle Dallas Thomas has the potential to be a good player. We are told that he has had a great camp and has shown improvement. Then, when the games begin, he looks completely lost. Some make excuses, saying he isn't a natural guard or that he would be better suited somewhere else on the line. The fact is that Thomas has had his fair of chances and it's time for the Dolphins to move on from him.
His cap number is $1.79 million dollars - not a ton. By cutting him, the Dolphins will incur $151,000 of dead money but save $1.65 million.
Recommendation: While some say that Thomas will be able to provide depth on the line, remember that he will be learning a completely new system. Thomas was a big reason for the decline of the offensive line over the past several years and it's just simply time to move on. Again, it's nothing that will help the Dolphins go crazy where they want to but the little things add up.
If the Dolphins were to take my advice and cut Cameron, Jennings and Thomas, that would free up $13.15 million dollars, which could help sign a key free agent and also some money to help lure Osemele to Miami. That would of course allow them to cut Albert as a post-June 1 designation and save even more money. The fact is that there aren't many moves the Dolphins could/should make on offense. Instead, the real savings will be on the defensive side of the ball.
This column was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter! Follow @FinsInsider