Omar Kelly: Dolphins will need $13.3 million in cap space to sign large draft class

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However, only the top six selections — Miami’s three first-round picks, it’s two second-round selections a third-round pick — will count against the salary cap because of the league’s top-51 rule, which allows teams to count only the top-51 salaries on the 90-player training camp roster against the salary cap.

Based on these figures, after committing the necessary cap space to the 2020 rookie class, a little over $9.3 million in cap space would remain for Miami. And considering the Dolphins annually squirrel away $8-13 million for last-minute signings needed due to injuries — like the addition of quarterback Jay Cutler in 2017 — and to carry over cap space to next year, it is very likely that the Dolphins’ offseason spending has concluded.

Pulling off an expensive free-agent signing, like adding former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, or trading for an expensive player like Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams, who is being shopped by the Redskins and fits an area of need for the Dolphins, would require some belt tightening.

The release of receiver Albert Wilson, who counts $9.5 million against the 2020 cap and would create an identical amount of cap space if he’s released, or the structuring of a contract or two (maybe cornerback Xavien Howard or quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick) could create the necessary space to make a major move happen.

So nothing is completely out of the question, especially if the right deal is presented.

Plus, Miami wouldn’t have to worry about the salary cap until the draft class needs to be signed, which can wait until the days leading up to the start of training camp.

Also, any player signed to a inexpensive deal that uses a little more than $750,000 on the cap does Miami no harm because it would simply replace one of the lower-end salaries. However, the Dolphins only have 12 roster spots left and Miami will likely add more than a dozen rookies to the team via the draft and rookie free agents, so roster space is at a premium.


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