Miami Dolphins’ 5 worst salary cap values of 2017 season

Whatever this was, the Dolphins sure could’ve used more of it from Julius Thomas. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

The Dolphins had some excellent values on their roster this season, led by Jarvis Landry putting up a Pro Bowl year for about $1 million. It’s hard to beat that.

But they also did their fair share of overspending. Some of last spring’s free agent deals didn’t look so great once the season came around, and part of Miami’s road ahead will be mitigating those expenses as much as possible.

With the Dolphins pondering how to fix a 6-10 team over the next several months, here are their five worst values from this season:

5. LT Laremy Tunsil
This one wasn’t a killer by any means at a $2.8 salary cap hit, but nobody in Davie would claim that Laremy Tunsil lived up to expectations in his first year at left tackle. He was solid at left guard in 2016, and all sides agreed it’d be an easy transition for him back to the position he’s played all his life. Adam Gase and Tunsil said during the season his practice habits needed to improve, and the Dolphins want him to play with far more tenacity next year. He has two seasons left on a rookie deal that makes him a $3.4 million cap hit next year, and that’ll be a tremendous value if he plays up to his potential.

4. DE Andre Branch
Andre Branch impressed the Dolphins with 5.5 sacks and 49 tackles last season, and they were sold enough to sign him to a three-year, $24 million contract in March. This season came with a $5 million cap number, which eases the pain of a tough year for him. To Branch’s credit, this has more to do with his health than anything else. He pushed through multiple injuries for at least half the season and finished with 4.5 sacks and 23 tackles while playing 53.6 percent of the defensive snaps. He’ll be back for a $10 million salary cap hit next season and there’s nothing crazy about that if he’s healthy. If not, the Dolphins can get out of Year 3 for a minimal penalty.

3. LB Lawrence Timmons
Any amount of money for Lawrence Timmons seemed too high when the team was scrambling to locate him the night before its season opener. Desperate for linebacker help, the Dolphins gave him a two-year, $12 million deal last spring with nearly all of it guaranteed. The silver lining of his AWOL incident, though, is that it allowed them to make the second season of his contract nonguaranteed. After taking a $3.7 million cap hit for a guy who Pro Football Focus ranked the 68th-best linebacker in the NFL, Miami can move on from him this offseason.

2. TE Julius Thomas
This is another certain one-and-done for the Dolphins. They gave up a seventh-round pick to Jacksonville for Julius Thomas and renegotiated his contract to make it a two-year deal they can escape after the first season. They’ll surely want to do so. Thomas had three catches or fewer in all but three games. For a $5.6 million cap hit this year, they got 41 catches, 388 yards and three touchdowns out of Thomas. While those totals are more than what Miami got out of its dreadful tight end corps the year before, it wasn’t the answer and they must draft a tight end high this year.

1. QB Jay Cutler
It’s not crazy to pay $10 million for a starting quarterback, but that amount stings after watching what Jay Cutler did this season. One-year rentals Josh McCown ($6.5 million) and Ryan Fitzpatrick ($3 million), just for starters, looked at least as good as Smokin’ Jay. Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor earned slightly less than him this year, and the Dolphins could have just rolled with Matt Moore at a $2.2 million cap hit. The reason Cutler’s contract matters so much is that the Dolphins are extremely tight on cap space and could’ve rolled over that $10 million for next season.

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