The announcement that the NFL will raise the salary cap by five percent in 2014 is good news for many teams around the league that are struggling to fix unfavorable cap situations. The move alleviates pressure for some teams, but what does it mean for the Miami Dolphins?
The cap increase allows the Dolphins and their fans another opportunity for perspective, realization and appreciation of Dolphins’ Vice President of Executive Operations and capologist Dawn Aponte.
The Dolphins spent over $250 million in guaranteed money alone last offseason in a free agent binge that brought to the team speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, the man once thought to be Ray Lewis‘ replacement with the Baltimore Ravens, athletic tight end Dustin Keller and linebacker Philip Wheeler among many more.
Some of these free agents additions, namely the two linebackers Ellerbe and Wheeler, haven’t panned out, and the man who brought in these disappointments, the much-maligned Jeff Ireland, agreed to mutually part ways with the Dolphins in January.
Despite Ireland’s reckless spending in the 2013 offseason, the Dolphins still have over $30 million of cap room to work with this offseason. That is a testament to the work Aponte and her crew has done.
Aponte was once the next in line to be the punching bag of fans after Ireland was out of the picture. Fans painted Aponte as a the creator of the dysfunction in the Dolphins’ front office and as a puppet master who is secretly controlling the minds of Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross and head coach Joe Philbin. Clearly she is a woman who has performed her duties well and earned her respect.
Dennis Hickey, the Dolphins’ new GM, will have his hands full in the next couple of months with the NFL Scouting Combine taking place in Indianapolis, free agency in March and then the NFL Draft itself in May. Hickey’s job is much easier with a cap number that’s maneuverable as Miami’s than if he was fighting the cap like the Carolina Panthers.
The cap increase helps many teams throughout the NFL, but for the Dolphins it provides a sense of realization, recognition and gratitude towards Dawn Aponte.
Danny Williams is an NFL writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWeeumzNFL