Now that the season is over I decided to look back at our roster and with the help of Spotrac a website that tracks team payrolls and cap information. I will break down the Dolphins 2016 spending by position and compare it to the 1st and 32nd team in spending to see if we are getting what we are paying for, or if we are overpaying and what might be the strategy going into 2017 free agency and draft which is the reason I am doing this research.
I found some interesting facts.
Miami in 2016 is 13th in total overall cap money being spent $152,233,219 (See Here)
One thing that counts against every team is DEAD MONEY that is money on the books owed to players who have since moved on.
Miami owed $14,787,852 in dead money this year that ranks 13th in the league compare that to the top team that owed $41,158,429 the New Orleans Saints and the team that owes the least $1,338,432 the Cincinnati Bengals What is interesting to note is that some really good teams like Denver, Seattle, New England for example thatgetting their money’s worth while spending lower money overall with their cap.
If you look at the top 10 spending teams one might say it is worth it for example the Raiders a top spending team is getting their monies worth but at a high price as opposed to the Jets who is ranked #2 in spending is not getting what they are paying for.
I will start with Miami’s offense and break down the spending and compare it to the rest of the NFL and see how they compare.
The Number 1 ranked team is spending $78,491,704 on their offense this year and that is the Dallas Cowboys who is one of the hottest team in the NFL.
How does the money breakdown for the Miami Dolphins?
(To see the Graph click on the underlined QB’s below Follow the same for each position….)
At QB Miami ranks 21st in the league spending $13,040,000 for 2 QB’s on the roster. Miami’s starting QB Ryan Tannehill is getting $11,640,000 ranking 20th in the league this year.
The top spending team in the NFL for the QB position is the New York Giants who is spending $25,588,400 for 3 QB’s on their roster. Their starting QB Eli Manning ranks number 1 getting $24,200,000.
The team that is spending the least on QB’s is the Denver Bronco’s, they are spending $3,511,158 on 3 QB’s on their roster an average of $1,170,386 per QB.
The league average spending on QB’s is 16.3 Million so Miami is doing good at that position this season, that will change next year and I will address that in part II of this article about Miami’s 2017 cap projections. Grade C+
At WR Miami ranks 29th in the league spending $6,333,187 for 6 WR’s on the roster. Miami’s top paid WR is not our best playing receiver but is the one with the most potential WR DeVante Parker is getting $2,471,942 ranking 46th in the league this year. Jarvis Landry is getting $947,703 ranked 81st even less than Kenny Stills $1,671,000
The top spending team in the NFL for the WR position is the Arizona Cardinals who is spending $26,783,818 for 7 WR’s on their roster. The top paid WR is Atlanta’s Julio Jones who is getting $15,900,000. Fifty Thousand more than Larry Fitzgerald
The team that is spending the least on WR’s is the Denver Bronco’s, they are spending $5,034,758 on 6 WR’s on their roster an average of $839,126 per WR.
The league average spending on WR’s is 15.4 Million Miami is doing good in this area mostly because of the youth of the players on the roster but these young players need to understand the financial height they reach just by looking at what the top players get. Kenny Stills is up for a contract extention and he will get paid well. Hopefully he can stay in Miami. Grade B
At RB Miami ranks 31st in the league spending $1,837,186 for 3 RB’s on the roster. Miami’s starting RB Jay Ajayi is getting $580,203 ranking him 77th in the league being paid this year.
The top spending team in the NFL for the RB position is the Minnesota Vikings who is spending $13,578,750 for 3 RB’s on their roster. Their starting RB Adrian Peterson (IR) was slated to get $14,750,000, I am not sure how his injury affected his salary for 2016 but you get the point what teams are spending for a top RB in the NFL.
The Panthers Jonathan Stewart is getting $9,550,000 and is listed the top paid active RB in the league.
The team that is spending the least on RB’s is the Atlanta Falcons, they are spending $1,775,740 on 3 RB’s on their roster an average of $591,913 per RB.
The league average spending on RB’s is 6 Million Miami is getting a steal at RB, at least this season as this will change before next season most likely. As Miami needs to look at paying Jay Ajayi more money as he has out earned his contract.
At TE Miami ranks 4th in the league spending $11,217,296 for 5 TE’s on the roster. Miami’s starting TE (IR) Jordan Cameron is getting $6,000,000 ranking him 6th in the league this year. Not sure how his injury affected his pay.
The top spending team in the NFL for the TE position is the Jacksonville Jaguars who is spending $12,433,820 for 5 TE’s on their roster. The Top paid TE in the NFL is Jimmy Graham who is getting $9,000,000.
The team that is spending the least on TE’s is the Houston Texans, they are spending $2,005,496 on 3 TE’s on their roster an average of $668,499 per TE.
The league average spending on TE’s is 6.8 Million Miami lost out when they invested in a FA TE who had a history of concussions and paid him top TE money only to see him have the same issues that has plagued him for years and for that they get a failing grade.
(Definition of the 4 categories the players fall under)
- Players on the Rise: These are players who I feel can start for this Dolphin team they are playing the best on this team and are very good examples for the rest to try to live up to…Some can even be starters for any team in the NFL.
- Players stuck in Neutral: These are players who might have potential but so far have been average or unimpressive, sometimes due to injury, some are just collecting a check but is not thinking of the short life the NFL provides it’s players (an average of 4 years) if they don’t capitalize on their opportunity now they will soon be looking back at the wasted youth and say “I wish I would have done more” NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP UP! They can either do one of two things move their stock up or down but staying in neutral will eventually be deemed as falling stock.
- Players whose stock is falling: These are players who for some reason like suspensions, injuries or just not playing to the standard they need to make the team, they are not living up to their potential or pay, either way it’s not a good thing for them or the Dolphins. It’s time they crap or get off the pot. Because they will end up traded or cut if their stock continues to fall.
- Players under the Radar: These are players who can “if given the opportunity” take it to another level; they are young and full of potential and if properly coached can be special. They could also be players acquired in the off season (like free agency or trades) but have yet to play in a Dolphins uniform.
Players on the Rise:
Jay Ajayi, Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams, Dion Simms, Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, Kiko Alonso,
Andre Branch, Xavien Howard, Jordan Phillips, Matt Moore, Matt Darr .
Players stuck in Neutral:
Byron Maxwell, Ja’Wuan James, Reshad Jones,DeVante Parker,Earl Mitchell, Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, Brandon Albert, Terrence Fede, Chris McCain, Zach Vigil, Mike Pouncey, Jermon Bushrod,
Players whose stock is falling:
Dion Jordan, Mario Williams, Jakeem Grant,
Players under the Radar
If I forgot anyone or listed a player no longer on the team please let me know. Also let me know if you agree or disagree with my rankings and who you would change. I have been known to edit it if I agree.
Even though this is an early look it’s actually much later in the season then I’ve done since starting The Dolphin Seer. I’m usually talking NFL draft as early as November/December of the previous year.
With the success of the 2016 season I’ve been behind schedule in looking at the 2017 NFL draft and that my friends is great news. Once again I can’t say enough about the enjoyable 2016 season.
As I noted in my last article we had a disappointing end to our season. Not that I expected Miami to goto the Superbowl, but I wish we were able to have a better showing the last few weeks of the season and in the playoffs.
The Dolphins got exposed as the level of competition went up and that is where we need Miami to step up in order to go further in the playoffs and have a legitimate chance to win a Superbowl.
There is going to be a great deal of enthusiasm moving forward with the success that Miami had in their 2016 /17 season. Was our season a fluke and will we end up digressing next year? Or can Miami improve on last season’s succesd and go further in the playoffs?
Looking at the Dolphins throughout the season there’s been some obvious weaknesses that they need to address moving forward.
I thought I’d take this time to address those needs and I did get a chance to look at some names coming out of the draft that fit our needs.
As you may already know it’s very hard to project what will actually happen in the draft because on March 9th 2017 at 4 P.M. EST free agency begins and most teams tend to try to patch as many holes as they can in free agency so they can draft the best players available in the draft and not by needs.
Last year I felt the Dolphins should have went heavily on defense and I still think despite the success of the 2016 season it became plainly clear that the defensive side of the ball needed more help as our Defense imploded near season’s end, finally limping out of the playoffs in the first round.
I will build up to the potential draft picks in one of the articles in this series but after addressing our needs I will talk Free Agency in part two as that is the natural order of how the offseason goes.
Let’s start off breacking down what are the Dolphins needs based off of their 2016 team. I will talk both their strengths and their weaknesses, that will help us determine the priority and possible picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.
What I will do is list of positions and give you a 1 to 10 scale of the strength of that position on the team the low number represents the greater need.
- Quarterbacks 7
- Running backs 7
- Wide Receivers 9
- Tight Ends 3
- Center 4
- Guards 4
- Offensive Tackles 6
- Cornerbacks 4
- Safeties 4
- Linebackers 1
- Defensive Tackles 6
- Defensive Ends 2
So as you see looking at my list, the top priority for this team is at the linebacker position that is priority number one. The Dolphins need to get bigger, stronger, faster, young linebackers. They also need to get younger on the defensive side of the ball.
In part II of my series I will talk about free agency and who’s available to take care of the needs of our Dolphins along with any rumor’s of who they may have intrest in as we March towards the 2017 NFL Draft.
No matter how much we hoped the reality is the Dolphins were not ready for prime time. Even though it was still great that they made the playoffs. They have now set a standard to build from.
The Pittsburgh Steelers at home in their environment was able to jump on Miami early and maintain that lead throughout the game.
Miami’s defense had no answer for the Steelers top 3 players on offense and Le’Veon Bell Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown did what they do best and basically destroyed our defense.
A lot of credit must also go to the Steelers offensive line that did a good job of nullifying our pass rush.
The Dolphins on the other hand had a rough time all day they could not stop the run and they could not run the ball and that ultimately was their undoing because as much as anyone who claim Matt Moore to be something that he is not I think this game should convince any Moore backers that he is who he is a backup quarterback.
Matt Moore caused 3 turnovers two fumbles and an interception, the fumbles hurt because they could have scored and kept the game close.
Matt Moore did a good job in his role as backup but like I said at least he was able in my mind to end any controversy many may have wondered if Matt Moore was the better quarterback between he and Ryan Tannehill.
Besides the obvious where do the Dolphins go from here?
The playoffs are a one-and-done deal so the season is officially over for the Miami Dolphins the players will clean out their lockers get their final exit interview and the team will start all over trying to build on what has been a very good season.
So now is the time to start writing about the offseason and what we need to do to get the Dolphins Beyond the first game in the playoffs and actually win a playoff game for the first time in over a decade.
I will focus on the upcoming free agency and the NFL draft, hopefully the Dolphins this season will realize the importance of focusing on the defensive side of the ball throughout the draft before they are in a position to start worrying about taking the best player available no matter the position.
This team already have on the offensive side weapons sufficient enough to entertain and keep us in games but on the defensive side of the ball is where we are lacking the most.
Unfortunately many will want to blame our defensive coordinator but as was said one time by one of our former coaches you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken crap and that’s exactly what Vance Joseph had to work with on a back end of his defense throughout the season.
I don’t want to use this article as some excuse more so than just a reminder to those of us who are probably disappointed in the way Miami lost, this was a very good season for the Dolphins and the foundation had been laid to build on and I look forward to the offseason moves made by the team.
Questions need to be answered and I’m pretty sure as we begin next season this team will be looked upon to take that next step and hopefully they can prove that they are not a flash in the pan but they can provide some sustainability and continue to improve.
So my final ending note is thank you very much to the Miami Dolphins the management the owner the coaches and the players for a very enjoyable season and I’m looking forward to more next year.
First-year coach Adam Gase had the “Midas Touch”, despite a rough start to the season everything he’s done seems to have worked out well. Decisions made have Miami in the playoffs and he is in line for a long bright future in Miami.
If you think of all that he’s been able to accomplish in his first season, it is truly remarkable and beyond just luck, there has been a plan that’s come into place at the right time. Adam has brought a culture change to Miami and either the players bought in or moved on.
After a rough start to the season, the Dolphins could have tanked after the lowest point of the season when Tennessee Titans came into Miami and manhandled the Dolphins on their homefield sending them to 1-4.
Adam Gase refused to give up and after warnings and benchings he made a firm hand move that seem to finally get the attention of the players.
After countinued poor play of the offensive line, coach Gase cut linemen Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas.
Many fans have been calling for that move for well over a year as Turner and Thomas never really lived up to their potential in Miami.
After the drastic move by Adam Gase two things could have happened for our first time head coach who happens to be the youngest coach in the league.
Adam Gase could have lost some veteran players in the locker room or he would galvanize this team and by sending a clear message that they would be held accountable by their conduct and they’re play.
That was the turning point of the season along with a healthy offensive line coming together for the first time.
Ever since that Titans game and the aftermath the Dolphins were on a roll as coach Gase seemed to have the “Midas Touch” culminating in a playoff berth for the first time in 8 years.
There are other firm handed moves made by the coaching staff throughout the season that sent a clear message to the players.
All told there have been quite a few players that’s been disciplined throughout the season. Even our starting RB Jay-Ajayi was left home game one of the season as a disciplinary measure.
They also benched starting cornerback and free agent signee Byron Maxwell for his poor play early in the season.
Defensive lineman Leon Orr was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a controlled substance after a traffic stop, Adam Gase cut Orr while on the field in practice…
When you consider disciplinary actions, the outright cutting of certain players, the injuries they had to overcome, the loss of two Pro Bowl players for the season (Pouncey and Jones) and the next man up mentality to get the best out of 2nd and 3rd string players and even street free agents signed to patch in bodies.
There truly is one answer…
Adam Gase has the Midas Touch!
Despite all they’ve been through this season Adam Gase has proven that he has made the right decisions at every turn and that even with his firm handed approach he also had the Midas touch because everything that he touched turned to gold and we Dolphins fans are the benefactor of a great season and beyond because of it.
The only thing I want to know is if it is sustainable beyond this season.
From all appearances it seems we have a sustainable system in place and our time in the abyss is over.
In Gase we trust!
Even though they are the Rodney Dangerfield of the 12 teams in the NFL playoffs, this is great news for the Dolphins that they are playing this weekend regardless of the outcome after an 8 year hiatus.
From preseason projections of Miami being a 4 or 5 win team too at best 8 wins, from a 1-4 start to ending the season 10-6. The Miami Dolphins are in a no-lose situation.
Yes there’s going to be a few ungrateful fans who’s going to complain if Miami don’t win the Super Bowl. But for those of us grounded in reality we have popped the champagne bottle and toasted for more then the ushering in the new year. We also celebrate the 2016 Miami Dolphins season.
The Miami Dolphins find themselves in familiar territory just like the beginning of the regular season they are on the road in a hostile environment against one of the best teams in the AFC.
Throw out the fact that these two teams met in the regular season just at the right time when the Dolphins began there surprising surge that had them win 9 out of their last 11 games.
A closer look tells us that our Dolphins accomplished a wonderful thing but they have a lot of work to do to be a true threat in the post season.
I am not predicting a loss but the probability is high and just being honest that’s why we find the Dolphins about a 10-point underdog in this game.
Both teams are different then when they first met this year Pittsburgh got beat up an injured in the first game while the Dolphins in that game finally produced the first healthy starting lineup on the offensive line.
Now we find the opposite to be the case as Miami is limping into the playoffs with multiple starters out and a weak linebacker core. A decimated defense that has shown vulnerability in resent weeks.
The Steelers on the other hand most likely looking for Payback are healthy at home and in playoff mode. They have the edge not only in home field advantage but also in playoff experience.
Ultimately where the advantage lies the greatest is at the quarterback position as Miami is working with their backup quarterback Matt Moore who’s done an excellent job in replacement of Ryan Tannehill but is not as good as Miami’s starting quarterback. Neithers’ as good as Big Ben.
On the other hand Ben Roethlisberger has healed from his injuries suffered in the last game in Miami. The Steelers top weapons are locked loaded and ready.
It is no surprise that a Miami win would shock just about everybody but the players in that locker room because they’re just young enough and inexperienced enough to not know how big a game like this potentially could be in their career unfortunately the contrast is true as well as their youth and inexperience just might be the reason they could lose this game.
Either way I’m going to be glued to the TV hoping like hell the Dolphins pull this one out but also smiling because of the wonderful season this team has brought to a truly deserving fan base.
My prediction: I DON’T CARE
Vance Joseph Miami’s first year and first time defensive coordinator has been a hot name in the vacancies for head coaches as the annual purging of coach’s have arrived.
At last count there are six openings and word is another possible purge might be on the way.
Vance Joseph has been Miami’s defensive coordinator for one season and I have mixed reviews on his job.
What I don’t dispute is Vance has the personally to be a good head coach but I do question if this is the right time for him to take that job. I am just struggling with if it’s my selfish desire to keep him in Miami.
Some fans look at the defensive stats of the Miami Dolphins currently ranked 31st in the NFL and say good riddence let Vance go.
There have been some frustrating moments for our defense this year but to blame it all on Vance Joseph is just not correct or fair.
It goes back to the draft as I and others felt strongly that we needed to draft heavy on the Defensive side of the ball.
Management felt the best strategy was to take the best player available regardless of position.
The draft ended up being mostly offensive players. I feel the strategy to take the best player available is flawed and it would have been better to focus on NEEDS and draft the best player available based off of need.
I happen to like the 2016 draft class but would have still preferred they drafted heavily on the defensive side of the ball.
Vance Joseph had to play the hand he was delt by Management. Limited with the talent on his side of the ball adding to his problems losing pro bowl safety Reshad Jones starting OLB Koah Misi,WSL Jelani Jenkins, DT Earl Mitchell and rookie CB Xavien Howard missed quite a few games as well and free agent bust Mario Williams unimpressive season. Even the slow start and now missed games from Byron Maxwell, add to that losing back up players to the point he is dealing with the backup of the backups.
There have been the host of issues with this defense this season that Vance had to do patch work with, but one thing has been consistent is the front line Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh both pro bowlers have played extreemly well.
The development of Rookie CB Xavien Howard, 2nd year WR converted to CB Tony Lippett, also young DT Jordan Phillips game has improved. Also add in free agent Kiko Alonso’s resurrected season in Miam. FA signee Andre Branch also has excelled under Vance Joseph.
If you honestly factor in all these issues no one can dispute Vance Joseph has done a very good job with Miami’s defense. If you look throughout the season despite some failures this defense has kept us in many games allowing the offense to find its way and pull them through.
So I can understand how some owners might view Vance as a viable option as coach I just think that Vance Joseph needs to spend a few more years as a defense coordinator as his opportunities to become a head coach in the NFL will always be there and to wait for the right chance might not only be the right move but just think how much he will be in demand should he get the Dolphins defense ranked in the top of the league? It can translate to his bottom line.
I think there’s a special team that Adam Gase has put together down here in Miami that Vance Joseph is a part of and they have the possibility of making a change in the AFC East after years of dominance by the Patriots.
The last thing you want to keep in mind is the League’s Rooney Rule that says every team must interview a black head coach candidate with the goal of opening the door for more diversity in the NFL, most likely some of these owners and GM’s are looking to abide by that rule with the invitation for Vance Joseph to be interviewed for the head coach position.
Either way it’s a nice thing to see the Dolphins in the position that they are, it’s the better alternative than what we’re use too…being on the purging end or even thinking about firing our head coach.
Thank God that’s not the case but unfortunately if they’re not being purged some folks are looking to poach.