Three on the bubble
But that doesn't mean they won't make moves for football, rather than financial reasons.
Three players with relatively high cap numbers or coming roster bonuses will, in all likelihood, either have to take a pay cut or be cut by the Dolphins in the coming weeks. Among those players are guard Seth McKinney, defensive end Kevin Carter and quarterback Joey Harrington.
Harrington, as you've read here in the past, has a $1 million roster bonus coming in March that the Dolphins simply are not going to pay. His play in 2006 simply does not warrant the team paying him that kind of bonus or carrying the $3.48 million cap figure that would bring for 2007.
So he must either restructure with a pay cut, or he's gone.
McKinney, on injured reserve all of 2006, also has a roster bonus coming due next month. With Bennie Anderson and Joe Toledo already on the roster as well as Jeno James and Rex Hadnot, the Dolphins already have a large contingent of interior linemen. So they will not guarantee McKinney any roster bonus monies that will drive up his cap number to the scheduled $4 million mark.
McKinney is a great guy and has been a fine player for Miami. But his bonus and the fact he was hurt all of last year will conspire to get him cut.
Another cut to watch is Kevin Carter. He's a team leader, a great guy for the media, and did OK on the field in 2006. But he has a whopping $6.48 million cap number for 2007. Soo.
Carter told me at the end of the season that he would be quite willing to restructure his contract to relieve the Dolphins cap situation. But he added that he probably wasn't going to take a pay cut per se.
The problem is the Dolphins aren't looking at him because of his huge cap number (although it doesn't help). They're looking at him because he really didn't play at the level they expected in 2006. His 5 1/2 sacks were nice, but not $6.48 million nice.
In a year that Buffalo, New England and the New York Jets all have more cap space than Miami, the Dolphins cannot afford to carry that figure on the books for a good, but not great player.