Last week I promised to get a comment from agent David Canter on Paul Soliai's contract situation and pending free agency bid. I failed.
Today, you see, Canter did his weekly guest spot on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo and that is typically when I can corner the busy guy. Well, today he came on the show and the picture of the Soliai negotiations he painted was not necessarily grim, but certainly steeped in the possibility this isn't going to necessarily end how the Dolphins planned.
"Let me tell you this and take it however way you want," Canter said, "If the Dolphins don't pay Paul Soliai, there will be plenty of other teams lining up to sign him as a free agent, I know that ..."
That sentiment came within the context of productive, professional talks with the Dolphins, according to Canter, who was quite complimentary of Miami general manager Jeff Ireland. In fact, Canter said he spoke with Ireland earlier this week and the two plan to talk again in Indianapolis during the NFL combine late next week.
Canter did not discuss numbers or specifics of the negotiation with me. I know, however, through a Soliai family source that Miami has made the nose tackle several contract offers. The latest, interestingly, about 10 days ago was a one-year offer.
That obviously was declined as the sides don't have a deal today.
As to numbers involved in this matter, it is pretty clear the Soliai family is looking for a big payday. The numbers floated to me were $6 million per year average with (obviously) a large guaranteed bonus factoring into the math. I have no idea if that number is a starting point or the point where Soliai wants to be at.
I would not be too concerned this deal is currently not done. Frankly, the 30 percent rule limits how a deal can be written unless it includes a huge signing bonus. And the Dolphins have told Canter they aren't eager to do a deal without really knowing what the league's cap rules will be going forward.
That obviously is a reference to the uncertain labor situation between owners and players that is hovering like a fog around all 32 NFL teams now.
One thing is certain: Once the rules are agreed to and free agency begins, Soliai will be on the market to the Dolphins and everyone else. And either the Dolphins will pay or, if you agree with Canter, someone else will.
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