Mario Williams’ tenure with the Miami Dolphins is over after just one year. Per the Miami Herald, Williams was released on Thursday, along with left tackle Branden Albert, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Williams was signed last offseason to a two-year, $17 million contract that contained $11,985,000 guaranteed. He began the 2016 season as a starter along Miami’s defensive line but eventually fell out of favor amid poor play and concerns about his effort. By the end of the season, he had played a career-low 44.9 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and played just five snaps in the Dolphins’ wild-card round loss to the Steelers. His release saves the Dolphins $8.5 million against their 2017 salary cap.
Albert, the Dolphins’ starting left tackle for the last three seasons, was headed into the fourth season of a five-year, $47 million contract that he signed to come over from the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2014. He missed four games due to injury in 2016 and was generally ineffective compared to his previous level of play. His release clears $7.2 million off Miami’s books for 2017.
Mitchell arrived in Miami the same offseason as Albert, signing a four-year, $16 million deal to come over from the Texans. He played just 21 of 32 games the last two seasons and did not record a single sack during that time. He was set to count for $4.5 million against Miami’s cap in the final season of his deal, but his release knocks all but $500,000 off that charge.
Ekpre-Olomu was set for a non-guaranteed $465,000 salary in 2017 and that has been cleared off the books as well.
Combined, the Dolphins shaved $20,165,000 off their 2017 cap with the four moves. They were always going to have to take cap-clearing measures after signing Ndamukong Suh to a contract they couldn’t really afford during the 2015 offseason, and these are just the latest steps. It helps that the three big-money releases were of players whose play no longer matched their performance, but roster purges of this kind will likely be commonplace throughout Suh’s deal.