MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins need help at several key positions, but unlike some NFL franchises, the Dolphins don't have the salary cap space to make many moves that could make a major impact.
Currently, the Dolphins have roughly $126 million committed to the 2012 salary cap which is set at $130 million. With only $4 million in cap space, the Dolphins are limited in what they can do to make the current roster much better.
Part of the problem for the Dolphins is the so-called "dead money" that counts against the cap for players that are no longer with the team.
For example, former Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall counts $5.55 million against the 2012 salary cap. Former offensive lineman Vernon Carey, who isn't even in the NFL anymore, counts $4.8 million against the cap.
Former cornerback Vontae Davis, who is now an Indianapolis Colt, counts $1.1 million against the cap and current New York Jets safety Yeremiah Bell counts $1.85 million against the 2012 cap.
It's a problem the Dolphins are going to have to deal with going forward as well. The 2013 salary cap isn't expected to increase much, if any, over the current $130 million level and the Dolphins have several players looking for new contracts.
All-pro offensive lineman Jake Long will be looking for a new contract next season and given the pay of other elite left tackles, will likely cost the team at least $10 million per season. Reggie Bush will be looking to cash in as well if he has another breakout season in 2012.
The Dolphins will get some cap relief from linebacker Karlos Dansby, whose contract will count roughly $3 million less against the 2013 salary cap. But, nose tackle Paul Soliai's contract will go from roughly $4.125 million against the cap to more than $7 million against the cap.
The biggest problem for the Dolphins is that despite the massive investment through player salaries, the returns have been non-existent. The Fins haven't sniffed the playoffs since 2008 and have been going the wrong way in recent years.
The blame for this can also be spread around to the prior regime, but in the end it still ends up at one person's desk, general manager Jeff Ireland.
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