IN what can only be deemed a major shock, the Miami Dolphins have franchised DT Paul Soliai. The sides had yet to agree on parameters of a new deal although discussions were being made. The major sticking point was the NFL’s 30 percent rule which prohibited a player from receiving more than a 30 percent increase in salary from one year to the next.
The franchise tag will pay Soliai the top 5 average at his NT position. When signed, Soliai will receive over 12 million guaranteed for the 2011 season while the team tries to workout a long term deal. Last year, Soliai made less than 500,000.
Earlier today, Ireland said that the team recognized the need to keep Soliai during a presser to the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Soliai was drafted 4 years ago by Randy Mueller and Cam Cameron and is one of only two players still on the roster from that poor draft. Soliai himself was said to be in the doghouse his first two seasons under Tony Sparano. He was often left off final 53 mock rosters done by fans and media alike. He plowed through and thanks in part to the uncertainty surrounding Jason Fergusons’ health, he managed to keep a roster spot open.
Last season, the Dolphins failed to land the NT they had coveted. They announced shortly after the draft, a mere hours actually, that DE Randy Starks would move to the NT spot. Soliai emerged in training camp and after the third game became the primary NT helping the Dolphins front 7 form one of the best run stopping defenses in the league on their way to a top 5 overall NFL ranking.
Many questions regarding Soliai’s worth began to circulate after the season ended when his agent made it clear that his client wanted to be paid as one of the top defenders in the league. Apparently, the Dolphins have decided that keeping him with the tag was worth the risk.
The Dolphins could still pull the tag on Soliai if he doesn’t sign it and they could also drop the tag if they sign him to a long term deal. Either way, Paul Soliai looks to be a Miami Dolphin in 2011 with a much bigger salary.
In other BREAKING NEWS: Jeremy Shockey has passed a physical for the Miami Dolphins according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Dolphins are denying that they are currently discussing a contract with the former Saint TE. Earlier this week, it was leaked that Shockey had taken a physical with an “interested NFL team”. The Dolphins apparently are it.