Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins roster has several holes in it, but none are bigger than the need for an impact, game-breaking wide receiver. While the Dolphins may want to build through the draft, free agency may be the best option for the Fins to make significant improvements.
As reported Wednesday, the Dolphins are widely expected to make a serious run at signing soon-to-be former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. Acquiring Wallace will easily cost the Dolphins more than $10 million per season, but adding him to the roster could completely reshape the Fins’ offense.
Even if the Dolphins were to open up the checkbook for Wallace, it wouldn’t hamstring the team’s salary cap situation this year. The NFL hasn’t released the exact salary cap number for 2013, but it’s widely believed to be around $122 million.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Fins have $82.5 million against the cap currently plus an additional $5.38 million in carryover salary cap space from last year. Therefore, if the cap is set at $122 million, the Fins would have approximately $45 million in cap space to use this season.
But, just a few players can eat up that cap space in a hurry. For example, if the Fins signed Wallace and signed free agent tackle Jake Long to a contract like he wants of more than $10 million a season; that could take up $22 million of the salary cap space on just two players.
That makes it entirely possible the Dolphins could load up with a couple of wide receivers in free agency and come back in the draft and address needs like cornerback and offensive tackle.
While an offensive lineman may not be music to the ears of Dolphins fans on draft day, but there are multiple lineman who could come in on day one and start for the Fins for less than half of what Long would cost the team.
For example, the Dolphins could have a choice of Lane Johnson, tackle from Oklahoma; Eric Fisher, tackle from Central Michigan; or Chance Warmack, guard from Alabama. Warmack is considered the best player in the draft, while Fisher has been rocketing up draft boards in recent weeks.
The Fins then could use second round picks on another wide receiver, tight end, or secondary help.
So, theoretically, the Fins could head into training camp with some combination of Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings, a starting offensive lineman, and more help across the field in the draft. That would be music to the ears of any Dolphins fan and help give a much-needed boost a fan-base too used to mediocrity.