The salary cap has officially increased by $10 million from $123 million in 2013 to $133 million in 2014. This is the highest the salary cap has ever been in the NFL, surpassing the $127.997 million from 2009.
Does this increase help or hurt the Miami Dolphins?
On paper it helps as the Dolphins and new GM Dennis Hickey gain some extra cap space to sign their 12 unrestricted in-house free agents as well as extra money to offer to big name free agents.
The reality of the situation is the cap increase allows other teams, such as the Baltimore Ravens, to retain their key internal free agents. The Ravens have already been able to re-sign TE Dennis Pitta since the salary cap increase was announced. This is terrible news for the Dolphins and other free agency buyers.
The free agent market, which was to be flooded with talent from teams who had to dump big contracts or couldn’t re-sign their playmakers, is instantly thinner as teams now can afford to keep a big contract or retain a key free agent.
The latter is what kills the Dolphins. Miami is praying that Ravens LT Eugene Monroe reaches the open market and that they get a chance to speak with him before the Ravens close a deal. If Monroe reaches South Beach it is likely that management won’t let him leave without a new deal.
Monroe is at the top of the Ravens’ list of priorities now that Pitta has been re-signed. With the cap increase, Baltimore may now be able keep both of these talented players.
A player like Monroe would solidify the Dolphins’ offensive line and allow Hickey and the rest of the Dolphins front office to focus on an area other than LT in the NFL Draft. Monroe would save the Dolphins the picks they would need to use to trade up in this year’s NFL Draft to select one of the three elite LT prospects.
Not to mention Monroe would provide Ryan Tannehill with the blindside protection that he couldn’t always rely on last season. Next year is Tannehill’s “do or die” year and having protection to throw behind will give us an accurate picture of what Tannehill is as an NFL quarterback.
Unfortunately, with the cap increase, the Dolphins may never get a chance to talk to the man who would do so much for this franchise.