As Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Mike Tannenbaum addressed the media this past Tuesday; one thing was made absolutely clear, Ndamukong Suh’s contract weights heavy on the Dolphins shoulders.
“By the time we get to the first day of the league year, we should have plenty of room to address the needs that we have,” Tannenbaum told the Senior Bowl press. “Certainly we will be looking at Suh’s contract.”
After finishing 6-10 in 2015 ( Miami’s worst season since Tony Sparano) the Dolphins’ first order of business comes in the form of restructuring the $23.4 million due to the highest paid defensive player in the NFL, Ndamukong Suh. According to Sportrac, the Dolphins are already more than $7 million over the salary cap for the 2016. While that number may seem alarming, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that deep within the defensive tackle’s contract, he’s already agreed to a restructure.
Paragraph 33: “Automatic Conversions.”
“Player and Club agree that on one or more occasions and at any time during the duration of this contract, club shall have the option to convert a portion of player’s 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and/or 2020 Paragraph 5 (base salary) into signing bonus, subject to forfeiture only for the league year of such converted compensation. Player and club agree that an email an/or phone call from the club to the player or player’s certified agent shall suffice to notify player that club is exercising its rights under this paragraph and will make such a conversion, the amount thereof and the effective date of the conversion.”
Armando writes, “the way this is done is by converting up to $22.7 million of Suh’s $23.4 million base salary in 2016 into a new and guaranteed signing bonus before the start of the league year March 9. Doing that adds to the prorated portion of Suh’s cap number in 2016, ’17, ’18, ’19 and ’20. It effectively raises his cap numbers in 2017-20 by $4.5 million each year”.
Suh has always wanted the big payday, that is no secret. Even as a rookie, Suh held out of his contract with the Lions because it was rumored the DT wanted more guaranteed money than quarterback Sam Bradford. That’s why the “Automatic Conversions” clause is a win-win for both parties in the upcoming season.
For Miami, alleviating an estimated $10.5 million in cap gives them an opportunity to once again test their luck in the free agent market. It also presents them with opportunities to re-sign key contributors like Oliver Vernon or Lamar Miller.
For Ndamukong Suh, the clause is an early guaranteed payday. No matter what happens in the 2016 season Suh’s signing bonus is up front and paid in full.
So far, it seems Tannenbaum is making business savvy moves on key contracts like those of Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh in the hopes of jump starting Miami’s losing franchise.
Maybe, just maybe, Mike Tannenbaum knows what he’s doing in Miami.