Ryan Tannehill creates millions in cap space in contract restructure for Dolphins

When the month of March started, the Miami Dolphins had one of the ugliest salary-cap situations in the NFL. Not only were they $19 million over the cap, but they somehow had to get under it by March 14 at 4 p.m. 

It wasn't easy, but the Dolphins did manage to get under the cap by Wednesday's deadline and a big reason they were able to do that is because Ryan Tannehill was willing to restructure his contract. According to NFL.com, Tannehill created $11 million in salary-cap space by turning most of his $17.45 million base salary into a signing bonus. With the restructure, $16.7 million will be turned into a signing bonus and Tannehill will get the rest ($775,000) as his base salary in 2018.  

The good news for the Dolphins is that they can now spread out the new bonus of $16.7 million over the life of Tannehill's contract, which means the team will taking a $5.57 million cap hit in 2018, 2019 and 2020, instead of taking the entire $16.7 million hit in 2018. The added $5.57 million will be tacked on to the cap hit that Tannehill's already scheduled to take up in all three years. 

The one thing we can take away from this restructuring is that there's now a zero-percent chance that the Dolphins will be getting rid of Tannehill this season. Not that they were going to, but with the cap situation now, it would be nearly impossible. 

This marks the second time in 24 hours that the Dolphins have restructured a deal. Safety Reshad Jones basically did the same thing as Tannehill -- turning his base salary into a bonus -- in a move that freed up $6.6 million in cap space for the Dolphins. With both restructures combined, the Dolphins picked up $17.6 million in cap space. 

The team also released three players -- Ndamukong Suh, Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons -- in a series of moves that opened up roughly $30 million in cap space for 2018. 

Although the Dolphins needed to clear only $19 million to get under the cap, they actually needed to free up more space than that so they could squeeze in a few free-agent signings. Over the past 24 hours, the team has agreed to terms with multiple players, including Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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