The Miami Dolphins are coming into the offseason with a number of major personnel issues, as players like Lamar Miller, Rishard Matthews and Olivier Vernon are hitting free agency. Miami has a tough salary cap situation heading into 2016 and that could lead to the team releasing players like Cameron Wake, Greg Jennings or Jordan Cameron.
Miami missed the playoffs last season and now they have a new head coach coming in with Adam Gase taking over. Gase is an offensive minded coach and his new scheme could be a determining factor in whether Lamar Miller returns to Miami along with how much the running back asks for in a new contract. According to James Walker at ESPN, Miller is interested in returning to the team, but said that "scheme and fit" will be important in wherever he ends up signing.
Miller was reportedly unhappy with his use for the Dolphins on offense last season, but he could see Gase's offense as a better opportunity after what the team used last season. Walker writes that he speculates that there is a "40 percent" chance that Miller comes back to Miami. The usage factor is important, but things likely will come down to money for Miami. The team has over $100 million already committed for next season and with Ndamukong Suh's cap hit coming in at over $28 million, the team will need to make some space to help bring back and sign players.
According to ESPN.com, the team is considering restructuring Suh's contract, which could save the team around $18 million by turning some of his salary into a bonus. Moving some money around could help the team try and keep Miller, but the running back is expected to be a main target on the free agent market and that could drive his price too high for Miami. Teams like the Cowboys, Giants, 49ers and Jets could be interested in signing Miller as a free agent.
Apart from restructuring Suh's deal, Miami can save money by cutting players and Omar Kelly at the Sun-Sentinel took a look at what players could potentially be on the chopping block for Miami. Cameron Wake could be let go after the defensive end missed most of last season with an injury, as his release could save over $8 million for Miami. Cameron and Jennings did not do much production-wise last season and that could lead to those players getting released this winter.
The team may let Miller and Rishard Matthews go this offseason along with Olivier Vernon, who could be too expensive to keep even if the team makes cuts. Vernon could potentially ask for a Cameron Jordan-type contract, which would likely be in the $50 million range.