Something else to consider on re-signing Starks. Soliai's contract for $6M a year expires next year, and that money could be used for Starks as well. IF you had a choice of keeping Starks to go with Odrick at DT, with maybe McD, would you do that rather than keeping Soliai?
Either way Dansby's average salary is $8.6 million and his first year cap figure was probably about $7 million which is a normal discount.
Back to the original topic...ehem...
Here are my estimates for how much money the following players will want to average in their contracts:
1. OT Jake Long - $12 million
2. CB Sean Smith - $8 million
3. DT Randy Starks - $7 million
4. RB Reggie Bush - $6 million
5. WR Brian Hartline - $5 million
6. TE Anthony Fasano - $4 million
That adds up to $42 million. You might squeeze a penny less out of one or two of them, but most of them will have already been squeezed pretty hard just to get there.
Do teams discount the first year? Yes. They do. I would estimate that first year salary cap figures will be about 80% of the average figures. But that still gets you to $34 million in cap hit to re-sign all those players, and then the other $6 million of the $40 million planned under the cap will be needed for rookies.
So yeah, unless the Dolphins start making choices about which players they're OK with losing, it does look like they won't have the money to go out there and hit free agency.
screw free agency, just draft well
The dolphins should have 6 picks in the Top 112 or whatever selections next draft.
This isn't to say the Dolphins can't make other moves. Trading Matt Moore for a 4th or 5th and parlaying that for a trade (similar to the Reggie Bush trade where a player with a high ceiling can be had due to unforeseen circumstances currently & wants to come here on a decent contract, I'm all for doing )