Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite spending more than $200 million in contracts during the 2013 offseason, the Miami Dolphins appear to be in decent salary cap space heading into training camp and the 2014 season.
As of July 4, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have $13 million in salary cap space that can be carried over to the 2014 season. Sportrac.com lists the total cap space at just above $18 million.
The Fins could add to that cap space by cutting cornerback Dmitri Patterson and placekicker Dan Carpenter. According to the Herald, that could clear up roughly $7.3 million in additional space if both players were cut.
Patterson could figure in to the cornerback rotation, but also carries a $4.6 million cap tag. Carpenter is in a battle for the kicking job with rookie Caleb Sturgis, who is being given every opportunity to earn the starting job.
The Dolphins will need cap space heading into next season because Mike Wallace’s contract explodes in value to $17.2 million against the cap. The Fins will also have to make a commitment to one of the team’s defensive tackles, either Randy Starks or Paul Soliai.
Starks was hit with the franchise tag and wants a long-term contract with the team after several successful seasons with the Dolphins. Soliai is a classic run-stuffing nose tackle who has excelled over the past three years and is in the final year of a deal paying him $7.3 million this season.
The Fins have set themselves up well along the defensive line. Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake is locked up long-term and the other defensive end position is expected to be manned by number three overall pick Dion Jordan.
If Jordan can fill the spot opposite Wake, it would allow the Dolphins to move Jared Odrick inside to defensive tackle full-time and pair him with either Starks or Soliai. That would allow Miami to let either Starks or Soliai move on without having to pay the, or let the Fins try to facilitate a trade.