The Miami Dolphins were a pleasant surprise in the 2020 NFL season. While they missed the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons, the Dolphins still ended the campaign with a 10-6 record and will look to improve on that success in 2021.
However, the Dolphins are entering the 2021 NFL Draft with eight draft picks and that number could grow if they move back in the first round. With potentially eight or more players joining the roster, the team may not have the salary cap to sign them all. According to Spotrac, the Dolphins have an estimated $7.9 million in cap space remaining.
Keeping that in mind, the Dolphins could wind up cutting players to make room for their eventual draftees. So, here's a list of three players the Dolphins could cut to make cap space.
1. Jakeem Grant
Jakeem Grant might have three years left on his contract, but his recent play does not justify his $4.6 million cap hit this season. In 2020, Grant made 36 receptions in 14 games for the Dolphins, recording just 373 receiving yards and a touchdown. He's mostly used for kick and punt returns, meaning the team can replace him easily. He's also had injury issues, missing 14 games in the last three seasons. If the Dolphins cut ties with him soon, his dead cap hit is just $1.8 million in 2021.
2. Durham Smythe
Durham Smythe has spent his last three seasons with the Dolphins, with his best season happening in 2020. The tight end played in 15 games where he recorded 208 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 receptions. While that seems impressive, he's also one of four Dolphins tight ends who have at least a $2 million cap hit next season. If the Dolphins cut him today, he'd only have a $158,061 cap hit, meaning the team would save over $2 million.
3. Patrick Laird
Fortunately for the Dolphins, this year's draft class is loaded with running back talent, which means they can afford to release Patrick Laird. He rushed for 72 yards on 13 attempts last season and doesn't look like a long-term piece. Miami is basically set with Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahemd and could nab an upgrade over Laird in the draft. His dead cap hit is just $3K and would save the Dolphins nearly $850K in space.
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