The Miami Dolphins have a big problem on their hand come the 2012 off-season. It comes in the form of one Paul Soliai. The big NT that is making over 12 million guaranteed this year. The Dolphins have no options now. They can’t restructure until the season is over. Why? Because the deadline to lock up franchise players came and went with no deal being done.
According to agent Paul Canter, via an interview with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the big NT and the Dolphins brass were so far apart that even an offer that topped Vince Wilfork’s contract was declined by the player and his agent. The Dolphins offered more than Wilfork and in essence wanted to pay Soliai in the arena of 8 million a year over the next four years with around 18 total guaranteed. Canter however wanted that 18 to be in addition to the 12 million he is earning this year.
I may be a fool but considering that Soliai has had one good year under his belt makes me question what advice he is getting from his agent. An injury this year and he won’t make anywhere near what he would have in a deal with the Dolphins. On the other hand, if the Dolphins end up losing Soliai next season and are unable to find a replacement, it will be the fault of Jeff Ireland and Ireland alone.
Ireland has had plenty of time to discuss a contract extension with the NT but opted instead to re-negotiate other deals instead leaving Soliai and Canter turning in the wind while negotiations didn’t exist. Perhaps if Ireland would have approached Soliai once the lockout ended, the two sides could have worked out a deal. Instead, the Phins will be on the hook for the full 12 million this year and should they decide to tag him again next year, he will cost the team 14 million and change.
Of course if this team doesn’t start winning, Paul Soliai’s contract will be somebody else’s problem.