Dolphins enter free agency with flexibility

There is good news and bad news for the next general manager of the Miami Dolphins.

The good news is Miami has quality cap room, because the team isn’t tied into a lot of contracts. The bad news is the Dolphins’ next GM has plenty of important decisions to make.

The Dolphins have just 48 players under contract, which includes practice squad players and future contracts. That is the seventh-lowest total in the NFL.

Dolphins Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte did a good job with the team’s salary cap. Miami will enter free agency this year with some flexibility, despite spending more than $100 million in guaranteed contracts in 2013.

The Dolphins’ current cap number is about $109 million, according to the Roster Management System. That is about $17.3 million under the projected $126.3 million cap for this year.

On the flip side, Miami has more than 20 restricted and unrestricted free agents. The new GM must hit the ground running in deciding which Dolphins players they want to keep and let enter the open market. The biggest decision will be star cornerback Brent Grimes, who made his second Pro Bowl this season and won’t come cheap.

The Dolphins have well-defined needs in free agency this year on the offensive line, at running back and in the secondary.