Dolphins rule the roost on salary cap space
Well, I can report they can do just about anything they want.
That's because the Dolphins have the most cap space of any NFL team, according to figures acquired from the NFL Players Association and other sources. The Dolphins are a whopping $44 million under the salary cap as of this writing. The salary cap is set at $116 when the new league year starts Feb. 29.
Only one other team -- Jacksonville -- is even close. The Jaguars are $41.995 million under the cap.
Obviously, the Dolphins have been helped by the fact they cleared between $13-$15 million in cap space last week. And some of that space will be eaten up when the team starts re-signing its own free agents.
For example the signing of cornerback Michael Lehan on Wednesday will take a nibble out of that $44 million once the contract is reported to the NFLPA. But the biggest item the Dolphins must budget for their cap is the signing of their first overall draft pick.
The first overall selection, if the Dolphins keep the pick, will get a contract anywhere in the neighborhood of $33-$35 guaranteed. Of course, it will be less if the Dolphins trade the pick, which they will try to do. And whatever they do the first pick will be expensive because it's doubtful the Dolphins will drop out of the top 10 even if they do trade.
But the fact Miami has more room than anyone else is interesting. Do the Dolphins go out and spend to the cap? Do they sign a bunch of veterans? They do have to spend pretty close to the cap because the collective bargaining agreement stipulates teams can no longer spend just 60 or 70 percent of the cap as happened in the past.
So you heard it here first (actually I wrote this months ago and am going to repeat it): The Dolphins will very likely chase Pittsburgh guard Alan Faneca. Faneca is a Pro Bowl player and a winner. He is also the guy Bill Parcells told the New York Jets they should sign when he talked to that team's braintrust at times during the 2007 season.
Parcells told the Jets that taking Faneca would bring stability to their offensive line and help turn young tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and young center Nick Mangold into better players. So now I think Parcells will take his own advice because the Dolphins need a fine guard to bring stability to their young center Samson Satele and their left tackle (whoever that will be).
So Alan Faneca is on Miami's radar for sure.
The Buffalo Bills (39.4 million), Tennessee Titans (39.24 million), and New Orleans Saints (39.2 million), round out the top five teams with the most cap space.
By the way, this is my second post today. Check back often because this is a busy time of year around the league and I will try to bring you the latest, which sometimes means multiple updates on the same day. Yeah, it also helps increase the number of hits on the blog, which I know you guys hate when I mention it.