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Fins Still Have $30 Million In Cap Space Despite Signings

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(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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Miami Dolphins

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have been busy in the first few days of free agency signing left tackle Branden Albert, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, and safety Louis Delmas. The Fins have also re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive tackle Randy Starks all while keeping lots of salary cap space.

Plus, the Dolphins haven’t had to restructure any contracts currently on the roster, including the $17 million cap charge for wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Fins have managed the cap well enough to have roughly $30 million in salary cap space still available after the initial wave of signings, according to overthecap.com.

Albert’s contract is officially a five-year, $47 million contract with at least $25 million of the contract guaranteed. However, based on the how the contract was written, Albert costs just $4.225 million against the salary cap this season, and will count no more than $11 million in any other season.

Plus, the Dolphins only fully guaranteed salaries of the contract for the first two seasons, meaning if Albert somehow struggles, the team can jettison him after the 2015 season and have it count just $5.1 million in dead money against the cap.

The Fins signed Mitchell to a contract of four-years for $16 million, an annual payout of $4 million. The contract gives Mitchell a $3.5 million cap hit in 2014, $4.5 million in 2015, $3.5 million in 2016, and $4.5 million in 2017.

The Delmas contract is essentially a one-year, show-me contract. What this means is based on his injury history, the Fins took a gamble on Delmas and if he plays well and stays healthy; either the Fins or another team will pay him a bigger contract.

Finally, Grimes’ contract is one of the more complex of the group. The cornerback’s cap number is $4 this season before ballooning up to $10 million in 2015. The numbers begin to drop after 2015 and the cap hit for cutting him would be approximately $3 million in 2016 and just $1.5 million in 2017.

The Dolphins have plenty of needs that still need to be addressed, specifically along the offensive line and at the cornerback position opposite Grimes. But, with $30 million in cap space remaining and the price of free agents starting to come down after the initial wave of spending; the Fins are well positioned to reshape the roster moving forward.

Plus, the salary cap is expected to greatly accelerate in the next few seasons with more television money being pumped into the system. That will give the Fins even more flexibility in the future to make more moves in the coming seasons.

If the Dolphins can put together a solid draft later this spring, the Fins may be positioning themselves to have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot in 2014.

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