Lost in the media circus that is the Miami Dolphins‘ bullying saga and head coach Joe Philbin‘s scrutinized press conference at the NFL Combine was a report that each franchise will have more cap space this offseason than what was originally projected.
For the Dolphins, that is some much-needed good news. New GM Dennis Hickey faces a massive rebuilding project along the team’s offensive line that could require as many as five new starters. He will also likely attempt to retain impending free agents like cornerback Brent Grimes, free safety Chris Clemons and defensive tackle Paul Soliai.
The Dolphins were originally projected to have just under $32 million to spend on players this offseason — more than all but six other teams. With the NFL increasing the salary cap to nearly $130 million on Thursday, though, Miami will now have an estimated $36.18 million to play with.
That might seem high considering how much spending former GM Jeff Ireland did last offseason — inking Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to lucrative, multiyear deals — but in reality, the Dolphins won’t have as much flexibility as that figure indicates given how many holes must be filled.
An extra $5 million could be just what Hickey and the Dolphins need, though. It could be the difference between being able to land one of the market’s most-coveted left tackles and being forced to entrust a rookie to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s blindside next season. It could also be the difference between being able to retain a quality starter like Clemons in the secondary and settling on a cheap free agent or mid-to-late round draft pick to replace him with.
The Dolphins are in a difficult position this offseason, but the salary cap increase gives the club more capability moving forward.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.