NFL Miami Dolphins

Looking To The Future: 5 Dolphins Who Won’t See The Promised Land

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Owner: Steven Ross, GM: Jeff Ireland

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins faced a major overhaul over the past two offseasons. Usually, that comes with at least one season of suffering, but they managed to put up a less painful 7-9 season in 2012. That’s not bad when you factor in the fact that the team installed a completely new offensive and defensive philosophy with a rookie quarterback under center.

For the overall good of the transition and the team, some key talent had to go of course. Brandon Marshall left during the 2011 offseason. Vontae Davis was traded to the Indianapolis Colts during the 2012 preseason, and Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Sean Smith and Anthony Fasano are the key names that left via free agency. Linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett were cut this offseason. The message has been sent. The team has a vision and the front office is carefully identifying which players do and don’t fit in.

The upcoming 2013 season may be the last as a Dolphin for a few others. There are more changes to come. Player salaries will continue to be the driving force behind these changes, but age and projected production will factor in as well.

Don’t interpret this as the Dolphins being a team that has salary cap trouble. In reality, the team is in a favorable position with $13.7 million in cap space that could jump up to over $20 million by the time the season starts.

So right now, there are players on the team who just don’t factor into the teams long term plans. It’s so hard to predict exactly what would happen but some things just make sense. We are gonna take a look at five players who don’t factor into the Dolphins long term plans.

Tony Graham is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @TonyPhintalk, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Dan Carpenter - Kicker, Cap Hit: $3,012,500

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The drafting of Caleb Sturgis was the writing on the wall for K Dan Carpenter and his $3M 2013 cap hit.

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Dimitri Patterson - CB, Cap Hit: $4,600,000

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Dimitri Patterson is the first name that jumps out at me. He may go before the 2013 season even gets underway. The team signed a corner and drafted two more. His 4.6M salary may be looked at as a problem.

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Richard Marshall - CB, Cap Hit: $5,766,666

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tramon Williams, cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, is the 10th highest paid cornerback in the NFL and deservedly so. He earns $5.9M. Richard Marshall? Not so much. He earns 5.7M. What’s wrong with this picture? Look for the Dolphins to do something about it sooner than later.

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Paul Soliai - DT, Cap Hit: $7,375,000

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Soliai will be the highest paid Dolphin in 2013 after Randy Starks negotiates a deal to replace his tag as expected. Although he’s a solid-to-above-average player, the Dolphins are strong on the defensive line. Don’t look for Soliai to be resigned. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014

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Richie Incognito - OG, Cap Hit: $5,383,334

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

I bet the team would love to move Dallas Thomas into Richie Incognito’s guard position. Incognito scheduled to put a $5.3M dent in the 2013 cap. Despite his pro bowl appearance, he is not an ideal fit for the team.