MOBILE, Ala. -- The Miami Dolphins need to be creative this offseason. The team is projected to be near or over the salary cap for 2016, which means several high salaries must be slashed or restructured.
But could Miami get creative financially with its top overall player and highest-priced player in Ndamukong Suh?
According to Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum, it’s an offseason possibility.
“By the time we get to the first day of the league year, we should have plenty of room to address the needs that we have,” Tannenbaum said confidently Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. “Certainly we will be looking at Suh’s contract.”
The stud defensive tackle signed for a franchise-record $114 million last year. He received a whopping $25.5 million signing bonus in 2015, which kept his base salary low at $985,000. However, with the signing bonus paid, Suh’s enormous salaries will begin to kick in this season.
Suh has a base salary of $23,485,000 and a cap charge of $28,600,000 in 2016, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System. Those numbers for one player make it tough for the Dolphins to have much flexibility to fill holes in other areas.
The most logical option is Miami could convert a large portion of Suh's salary into a bonus. It's a win for the player because he gets the money up front in a lump sum. It's also a win for the team because the bonus will be prorated over the life of Suh’s contract, instead of the full $23,485,000 counting against the cap this season. The downside is the team takes on "dead money" against the cap down the road.
Here are some other notes on the Dolphins from the Senior Bowl on Tuesday:
The Dolphins still aren’t willing to fully discuss Dion Jordan’s future with the team, in part because they don’t have enough information on the former first-round pick. Jordan is suspended for one year, and the Dolphins have had very limited contact with him during that time due to CBA rules. There is still an element of the unknown with Jordan that cannot be determined until the suspension is lifted.
Miami’s front office said it was happy with the completion of the coaching staff under rookie head coach Adam Gase. The team had nine holdovers from last season, including defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo and special teams coach Darren Rizzi, which is unusual for a new coach. “Adam did his background on them and he feels comfortable with them,” general manager Chris Grier said. “It’s good to have a little bit of continuity.”
Tannenbaum on Kathryn Smith recently becoming the NFL’s first full-time female assistant coach with the Buffalo Bills: “I’m excited for her. I had a chance to work with her with the [New York] Jets. I could always tell how much she loved football. ... She had a very curious mind and I’m really happy for her. It will be great to see how she does.”