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The Dolphins have roughly $78 million tied up in 34 players and dead money.
With the 2013 salary cap projected at $121 million, and $5.4 million rolled over from this season's unused cap space, the Dolphins presently have about $48.4 million to spend this offseason re-signing players, luring big-ticket free agents, and signing draft picks, CFL imports and training camp bodies.
The last time the Dolphins had that much money to spend was Ireland's second offseason with the team. That spring the Dolphins used a large chunk of the team's cap space re-signing a number of their own free agents, guys like Vernon Carey, Channing Crowder and Yeremiah Bell.
Miami invested $82 million into those three starters, and coincidentally, or not, all three were cut and replaced before they could finish their contracts.
The Dolphins also spent big money on center Jake Grove and safety Gibril Wilson that offseason, and both turned out to be busts. Wilson, whose locker room and on-field presence was toxic, was cut the very next offseason. Grove started 10 games in 2009 before getting cut during an injury-plagued camp the next year.
The Dolphins guaranteed Grove $14.5 million on a five-year, $29 million deal. Wilson was guaranteed $8 million on a five-year, $27.5 million deal.
So in one offseason, as a result of two bad deals, the Dolphins' decision makers flushed $22.5 million of owner Steve Ross' money down the drain.
Ireland and company signed five players to contracts worth $138.5 million and all the Dolphins were left with was buyer's remorse.
Ross' hope is that Ireland, who was riding shotgun on all those contracts negotiated by former team czar Bill Parcells, learned a valuable lesson from the organization's past mistakes.
He'll have a do-over to prove it because the Dolphins have tough decisions to make with offensive tackles Jake Long and Nate Garner, defensive end Randy Starks, cornerback Sean Smith, tailback Reggie Bush, receiver Brian Hartline, tight end Anthony Fasano and safety Chris Clemons, starters who are all impending free agents.