The "Shutdown Countdown" is going full steam ahead. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Miami Dolphins.
2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $128.223 million (15th-highest in the NFL)
2013 Cap Room Remaining: $17.635 million (7th-most in the NFL, as of July 14, 2013). First-round defensive end Dion Jordan defensive end will have a first-year cap hit of $3,740,418. Once Jordan signs his rookie contract, the Dolphins will be $14.2 million under their adjusted cap number.
Best Bargain: Last May, the Dolphins signed defensive end Cameron Wake to a four-year, $33.2 million contract extension that included $20 million in guaranteed money. Wake responded with 15 sacks, the fourth-highest total in the NFL, earning a second trip to the Pro Bowl and a selection to the first-team All-Pro squad. Wake's contract has $15 million in base salary escalators tied to sacks, but those do not kick in until the 2014 season. In the meantime, Wake will earn $3.565 million in fully guaranteed base salary and has a $5.015 million cap number in 2013, both of which place the 31-year-old Wake on the outside of the Top 20 defensive end contracts.
Potential Camp Cap Casualty: Veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns late last season. Patterson started two games last season for the Dolphins, playing in 88 defensive snaps while earning $347,059 in base salary. Patterson is scheduled to earn $4.5 million in 2013, provided he makes the roster, which at this point, appears to be a long shot. With the addition of Brent Grimes, who will start opposite Richard Marshall, and the arrival of draft picks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, Patterson is competing with far less expensive options R.J. Stanford and Nolan Carroll for a reserve spot.
Looming Contract Issues: Jeff Ireland is entering the final season of his contract. Whoever the Dolphins' general manager is next season will have plenty of work to do as a pod of current Dolphins are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2014. That group is headlined by ten projected starters, including defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, linebacker Koa Misi, safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons, cornerback Brent Grimes, offensive linemen John Jerry, Richie Incognito and Tyson Clabo and tight end Dustin Keller. Kicker Dan Carpenter and long-snapper John Denney are also scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in 2014.
The Dolphins used the franchise tag this offseason on Starks, a Pro Bowler in 2012 who is scheduled to earn $8.45 million in fully guaranteed base salary. The Dolphins and Starks have until 4 p.m. ET on Monday to reach an extension on a multi-year agreement.
Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: Even with that many veterans hitting the free agent market next year, the Dolphins have over $110 million in salary cap commitments for 2014, including $3.575 million in "dead" money on linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, who were both designated as "post-June 1" releases.
Previous salary cap outlooks
32. Oakland Raiders
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Arizona Cardinals
29. Buffalo Bills
28. Cleveland Browns
27. Tennessee Titans
26. Kansas City Chiefs
25. New York Jets
24. San Diego Chargers
23. Philadelphia Eagles