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Sometimes expensive now is cheaper later

Today's pages of the Miami Herald include my first column since returning from vacation. It's about good news and bad news. It's about the Dolphins being lucky and yet unlucky. It's mostly about money.

My column is about the dilemma Paul Soliai will present the team when the lockout ends.

Soliai, you see, is now considered an outstanding and valuable player. No wonder he's Miami's franchise player, a designation that carries with it a $12.476 million guaranteed salary.

That's wonderful because it means somehow Soliai's value has climbed so far that he is no longer the immature kid that was probably on the roster's margins a couple of years back. He's no longer considered a player with big potential that also had brought big disappointment.

Soliai is a starting nose tackle and a behemoth of a man that would get bigtime money in free agency if he were available. I guarantee you if Soliai hit free agency the Washington Redskins would be in line to sign him. I think the Denver Broncos would be also interested because GM Brian Xanders thinks very highly of Soliai.

So the Dolphins move to put the franchise tag on their good player was wise.

But ...

It would have been more wise to simply sign Soliai to a multi-year deal. Like, back in October or November.

So why didn't that happen?

The Dolphins apparently didn't believe their own evaluations. Even as Soliai was playing well once he was thrust into the starting role, the club was apparently wary that it was a mirage. The club was not certain that Soliai's level of performance could last until the end of the season and obviously into 2011 and beyond.

So the club proceeded cautiously in negotiations. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, agents do not proceed cautiously. Soliai's price was rising quickly with each passing week. And the price that hovered around $4 million a year in early November kept rising and rising.

But the Dolphins, perhaps cautious that Soliai was on a contract push and could not be trusted long-term, didn't keep pace with an impressive contract offer that could have enticed the player to sign a long-term deal.

That cautious approach protects the team's interest if the player is indeed a one-year wonder or suddenly falls off the performance table at the end of the year. But Soliai played better as the season progressed. And he rejects the idea he's a one-year wonder. He believes the light bulb has come on and this is the player he'll be going forward, maybe even better.

And now his price tag, the neighborhood of which is mentioned in my column, is seriously expensive. What the Dolphins could have bought at a bargain in October and early November is now up to three times pricier.

The Dolphins allowed Soliai's value to outgain their offers instead of getting even or just ahead of that value. So they had to catch up with a burdensome franchise tag tender that accounts for 10 percent of their salary cap.

And, as the column says, negotiations for a multi-year deal will not be easy.

So is all this hindsight?

Of course it is! As an outsider, that's all I can offer. But the Dolphins should be better than dealing with hindsight. They had their own internal evaluations of Soliai's play. They should have known what they were seeing happen on the field.

If their evaluations were saying Soliai was playing at a very high level, their contract offers should have improved dramatically. If their evaluations were saying Soliai wasn't play at the kind of level his agent was selling, the team should have stuck to its negotiating guns.

It is obvious the former is the correct scenario because, again, the Dolphins felt Soliai was so valuable, they tagged him as their franchise player. So if he was so valuable, why didn't they just get ahead of the process and pay him in November?

He would have been much cheaper to sign then.

Please follow me on twitter. And check me out on radio M-F from 6-10 am on 640-AM in South Florida or 640sports.com streaming live on the web.


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Typical Ireland Blunder IMHO.......

Don't mean to change the subject so early in the thread, but what's up with Ricky and Ronnie?
The Dolphins have very important and unresolved issues at RB.

I agree Armando

Wow, getting out of bed before noon is STRANGE!

Hanging out with the early birds, I've learned that VY is heading for the Hall of Fame and Marc Bulger the Pro-Bowl!

I dunno, apparently, when you wake up before noon you enter into some kind of alternative universe!

VY and Bulger? Hall of Fame and Pro Bowl?

YAAAAAAAAAAWWWWN, I'm going back to bed!

Was a very good article Armando

Fat Paul really played his cards right

He must be the envy of all players when it comes to $

To go to 550,000. to over 12,000,000.

is one nice pay increase in one year


For the record Home used to call him Fat Paul

Now he has certainly worked real hard and Home believes his name should now be, ....

Phat Paul

U Get That, Huh?

Great Job Phat Paul!

Honor & a Privilege to have u on our team

*** The Dynasty Be Fins! ***



So if Vince Young earns two or three more Pro Bowl appearances and perhaps gets to the big game (maybe wins),

Why would he not be a candidate for the HOF?

I,m sure Brandon Marshall, Gates, Simply The Bess and Hartline could help VY look good

To go along w Long,Pouncey, Dirty Richie, Carey and hopefully another veteran quality O-lineman

DC.....from the last blog.....

DC....if the choice is between Orton or Young.....then I am on board with you....I think it should be Orton....for the reason's you stated.....but when I had that with actual....factual data.....he is hands down the best....choice.....I think what was lost in the VY Orton debat is this........the same thing we give give Henne a Pass for.....is the the one thing we haven't even considered when debating these 2 QBs.....


VY had the best RB in football....the dolphins don't.....they gave VY Randy MOSS.....we do have Brandon Marshall.....

Orton lost Brandon Marshall....and went on to have a carreer year....and Moreno....while he may be up and comming....he is NO CHRIS JOHNSON.....nobody is......

Orton clearly did more....with less

Question, If he cost too much, why not trade him before he becomes a free agent next year? Possibly a high draft pick. Not a bad idea, let's keep all our draft picks this year and get a second round pick for him. I just don't see the phins giving this guy a long term big contract. He has been an up and down player through out his career. So again, I say trade him for a first or second round pick. I'm cool with that, because seriously, we will be better with a new head coach and GM next year.

Vince Young 98.6 QB rating and only 3 INTs last season

Chad Henne QB rating of a 25, & 0 TDs against the Patriots (not so good defense) in 2010

Hmmmm ...

sign him to a multi year deal and be on with it.


Guys the last three years, Who has Ireland drafted that has been a top 10 player in the NFL, Besides Jake Long????

Mando, very easy answer, this front office doesn't trust it's players. You've seen that attitude with the RBs (Ronnie and Ricky), the oline and the constant tinkering, WRs (Brandon Marshall basically being a decoy in 2010) and most of all, with Chad Henne. Time after time after time, these coaches have handcuffed and micromanaged these players from enjoying any amount of success. I believe this is a losing style of play, and the latest mishap might be with Koa Misi, who had a good rookie season, and now might get displaced because he wasn't a gamechanger in year 1.

These coaches don't know anything about "development." And so if a player doesn't shine immediately, the front office starts doubting itself.

Solia was one of the stars of 2010. Then, in the offseason he trained with Ngata and some other Somoan players and is apparently in great shape. Why couldn't the front office see the change in Solia? They talked to him every day (before the lockout), they saw his progression.

I'll tell you why, they're rookies. They don't know what they're doing. They're so insecure and unsure of themselves, they question everything they do and can't pull the trigger when it counts. These "small" mistakes turn out to hurt a team for a long time, and prevent them from becoming great. This is one more incident where the front office is hurting, not helping the team.


C'mon now, I wasn't even knocking VY(yet).

I'm just saying you guys and the VY Hall of Fame talk might be just a tad PREMATURE.

U Get That, Huh-LOL?

Trade Paul for Logan Mankind and put Odrick at DT. Same amount of money with 0 risk and an amazing O-line with decent D-line. Too bad Pats already have Wilfork. (but two beast DT's never hurt anyone, talk about no gain up the middle and rare QB sneaks)

kris, I can't disagree with what you said. I see it like you do in the Orton vs. VY debate.

The only thing that makes it close to me is what Orton would cost us. If they ask for too high a pick, and VY would just cost money (and probably not much at that), AND we keep in mind this is a 1-2 yr stopgap (to sign either of them), then VY might be the better option (on the business, cap side).

But as far as play/leadership, Orton wins hands down IMO.

Cuban M,

Great point. I agree with you whole heartedly. That's why, if you read my last post, I'm all for the firing of our GM and Head coach. This Head coach has a big mouth and likes to throw his fists in the air. His inteviews after a game are hilarious LOL.

As I've said on this blog, VY is a freebie and we need to go get him. No other free agent QB sounds good to me.

That's my take.


I'm fine with how the Dolphins handled Soliai. Let's wait and see what kind of shape he's in and how he follows up last season before we get too excited about spending big bukcs on him. The 'Skins blew their bolts on Haynesworth and are kicking themselves to this day. I like Soliai but let's see how he follows things up before we annoint him the next star.

miami, Odrick at NT? Did you know he's a leper? You look at him and his body parts start falling off. Odrick is going to be the next 1st-rd bust in the NFL, that's his future.


Dude, you're just funny. I've read some of your posts and your just a different cat, that's all I can say. The wierdest thing to me is...I like it.

Thanks for the laugh.

That's my take.

Mando, I thought Type pad was a secure posting outlet, How did Lil Aloco break into it??????



Your negativity is showing early man...

There's nothing wrong with the FO being cautious in their approach. The 'Skins, Raiders and Cowboys have been overly aggressive in how they've done things. They're still paying for it. Sometimes it's not the hits that make your team but the misses you avoid. They're doing fine with the development of guys like Davis, Smith, Starks and Wake to name a few. Throw in Bess and Hartline and away we go....it's not all negative brother.

Craig, I think you're missing the point. We franchised him, so we've ALREADY committed to spending big bucks on him. He's slated to receive 12mil this year. He asked for 4mil/yr. What are you "fine with" in that scenario? Sounds like you don't think he'll continue to get better, if so, you (and the FO) are paying him 8mil more this year for your hesitance. That doesn't sound to smart to me.

They should've given him a contract, heavily incentive-laden, as little up front money as possible, and if he didn't work out, TRADED HIM so you don't have to pay the entire contract!

EVERYONE, do you people know most seasons are made before a game is ever played (or put another way, off the field)? These types of issues are what turns teams from the 70's Dolphins to the post-Marino Dolphins.

@dc dolfan

He may not be all that good but he has size/pounds on him. We already have Starks and Langford at DE with merling as backup (maybe he'll pan out...maybe) and wake as a rushing force. All Odrick would need to do is take up space/two blockers. Plus with Logan that puts him and long at qb's blindside with pouncy, incognito, and Carey to round it out. A very formidable o-line at worse. This definitely is not going to happen but I wouldn't be apposed if it did

Orton may come costly. V. Young may be cheaper. We don't know if the light bulb turns on this year for Henne. So, we really don't know what we've got or what we're getting at QB.
This Front Office gets a C. Some good, some bad. A lot of busts (P. White) and a few rare talents (Long).
I see one more year of this circus (Sparano and Ireland). Either make the play-offs or they're outta here!


Our starting QB was benched last we saw him, our Coach is only here because of a botched attempt by a rookie Owner to get rid of him, the team hovered right at or below .500 for practically the last decade.

If that makes you feel like being Mr. Sunshine, more power to you, but as a fan that's been watching everything this team has done the past 3 decades, yeah, I think I have a right to be negative.

Skins, Raiders, are a total different issue. They overpaid star free agents that were past their prime and didn't develop their rookies. Don't conflate that with this issue.

This is about a team who developed their rookie, but didn't TRUST themselves to follow through with it and believe they did a good job. That's what happened here, and that doesn't bode well for the future.


So what would YOU have done? Sign him week 2 when his value was low? Nobody knew he was going to keep it up. Nobody knew he was going to stay healthy and be impactful. He's shown very little to date. If they'd signed him long term and he fell flat on his face everyone would be criticizing that move. It's no win!! Can we wait until we see what kind of shape he's in before we annoint him? His pattern it to be lazy, inconsistent and out of shape. Previous regimes didn't trust him either. All the $12 million does is allow us to keep his rights. If we have to pay him that much this season and can't get him signed long term, then so be it. Better to be cautious than all in!

Be the way, where did you read that Misi is being phased out? He showed lots of promise last year. Also, I think it's WAY too early to be calling Odrick a first-round bust.

Good to have you back Armando. Not sure I agree with everything you said. I believe the Fins need to see how he does after he gets his 12 mill. You know as well as anyone guys like Soloai (guys who play hard sometime, have weight problems, don't show up all the time) play hard in contract year and then they're invisible the next 2-3 years, soakin up the dough.

Whats fat Pauls value on the trade market? We need a QB more then an over weight drane plug.

I've gone to twitter...


If Odrick hadn't been hurt last year there's a very good chance that Soliai wouldn't have been our starting NT. That spot was assigned to Starks. NOBODY at this point last year was saying 'Sign Soliai long term. We've got to sign Soliai long term'. Let's back of the criticism and let things play out a bit. the past is the past....new start! Let's see how things develop, see how FA plays out and how the team looks. I for one am glad that football is almost back....the negativity isn't going to ruin that.

For all the clowns on this blog bashing Jeff Ireland, why don't you go look at the roster that the trifecta got after the team went 1-15? It was a joke. Now the roster is loaded and includes the 6th best defense in the NFL (here is the link: http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/position/defense)

AND the 8th best offensive line in football over the past two years (here is the link: http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/07/13/2010-offensive-line-rankings-โ€“-part-2/)

AND Brandon Marshall (pro bowler) and Devone Bess (SI All Pro last year according to Peter King)

So if you are going to bash Jeff Ireland, why don't you come with some facts instead of just an opinion. My dog can have an opinion about football. Come with facts.

This is a great roster, and Jeff Ireland has done an outstanding job of finding talent. There is ONE reason the team won 7 games last year: Chad Henne. If you have one of the worst QBs in the NFL, you are not winning more than 7 games. That is not Ireland or Sparano's fault.

Of course it's Ireland's job to find a franchise QB, but don't fire him ONLY because he has failed to do one thing and has done EVERYTHING else correctly.

Come with facts guys, not opinions.

Craig, I would have signed Solia last season to a contract I mentioned in an earlier post (incentive laden, not much up front money). I said as much last season. Why? Because NTs (at least, the good ones) don't grow on trees. It's more of a size issue than anything else. And Solia fits that bill. The issue with him was always maturity, and now, in his what, 4th-season (last year), he wised up. There's no pattern there. He had to learn how to be a pro, and he learned. LOTS of players go through that.

The difference is, the good teams allow that process to take place. This team almost bets against it. And I'm not sure what "all in" philosophy you're talking about. This isn't 1st-round QB money. 4mil/yr for a pretty good NT isn't a stretch to me. It also isn't something that can break the bank if it doesn't work. To me it's way to get an issue off the table when you have MUCH MORE to worry about. This shouldn't even be a problem, as we don't even have an adequate replacement for the guy.

As far as Misi, it's just whispers and reading articles now, don't know how true it is or if the FO is looking, but I've heard some voices say we need another OLB to help Wake, and these articles don't seem to believe Misi is that guy. I say give the guy a chance to prove what he is, but we'll see what we do in FA.

Also, I don't think it's WAY too early to call Odrick a bust. I think he's one injury away from being just that. Doesn't sound too early to me (if that injury comes Week 1).

By the way, welcome back Armando!


Posted by: ALoco | July 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM


Posted by: ALoco | July 24, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Guys the last three years, Who has Ireland drafted that has been a top 10 player in the NFL, Besides Jake Long????

Posted by: Cuban Menace | July 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM


Posted by: Cuban Menace | July 24, 2011 at 11:20 AM


Cuban you messed with me first, so I couldn't resist pointing out how you forgot to switch your sign in name back to Aloco @ 11:20. This is eerily similar to what you did a few months back. Remeber? When you were on "vacation"(wink, wink) from the NYC Police Dept.

Typical Ireland Blunder IMHO.......

Posted by: Cuban Menace | July 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

NOPE! More like: Typical Cuban Menace Blunder.

If you know what I mean :)

Cuban gets caught here actually talking to himself/Aloco.


Mando, I thought Type pad was a secure posting outlet, How did Lil Aloco break into it??????

Posted by: Cuban Menace | July 24, 2011 at 11:25 AM


Posted by: Cuban Menace | July 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM


Remembering to change them sign in names gets tough when your under the influence.............of Elmers Glue!


Your DOG has facts about football ? Now that dog is SMART. Unlike the OWNER.

YOU would know.

Odin, Not sure how Lil Aloco does it but it can be done, Mr Soiled bottom did it last year to prove it, Again not sure how its done but apperently Aloco has figured it out..., OMG, Do you think Lil Aloco could be Soiled Bottom????


You can have your "facts" as you put them. 8th best oline past 2 years, great stat, and absolutely meaningless. Only that that matters is wins and losses. Who's to say another GM (or different choices) wouldn't have produced BETTER results?

The only fact you're right about is this roster is definitely better than what this FO inherited. I concur full-heartedly. And they have made some good decisions (Bess, keeping Ricky Williams, Wake, Dansby). But they made bad decisions too, and some we might never know the answer to (like should we have gotten Vontae Davis when we could have had Clay Matthews.

Here's how I grade front offices, what's the team outlook? Are they rising, declining, plateauing? Our record say we've plateaued, but I can see how we might be on the brink to something.

But that's very debatable, and therefore, this front office doing a good job is debatable too.


..The club had every right to move with caution when evaluating Soliai. Don't forget, the guys who make the decisions have seen big Paul prepare, practice, and play on a much different level then all of us.

If in their evaluation of him, they didn't quite believe what they were seeing, or in better words, found Soliais play a mirage. It is understandable. Soliai had shown little, if nothing like the player he was up to that point. It was a gamble that the FO took. If you want to say this is just another example of the FO looking like Amatuers. Fine, you could be exactly right. But if every time a player shows a flash, and you open your wallet. The cries of "These guys have no clue" would really ring true.


Brett Farve to the eagles ?

REALLY ??????????????


Soliai hadn't even shown he was a starter in the NFL until part way through last year. He wasn't the starter coming out of camp and it was only because of your so called 'busts' injury that he got to play. So Odrick starts since day one and your guy takes four years to show he can start. Just because a guys got the size doesn't mean he's started material. If what you said was true then Soliai would have been a first round pick. He wasn't. Why? He was inconsistent, poor work ethic, frequently out of shape. Has the light go on? Hope so! Give credit to the the Dolphins for not chopping him sooner and waiting until he showed something.

DC Dolfan,

This is a very good young team and will be a good team for the next few years. I LOVE the roster. But the QB sucks (unless he becomes good this year). This team is definitely rising, but without a QB, it is all meaningless.

The QB is holding back the whole team. Every other position (almost) is solid or very good. That's why I would trade multiple draft picks for Kyle Orton. I would trade a 2nd and a 5th for Kyle Orton in a heartbeat. I really think this team is just a QB away from being really good.

But without a QB, you win 7 games like last year.



Good to see you back on here and talking football again. You're always the voice of reason...

Darryl D,

Do you really believe Soliai is worth a big contract? Or, do you believe what I think about trading him before he becomes a free agent? This guy has had so many issues. Reports about a bad attitude. Not a good practice player. Not an every down player. Shows signs of improvement toward the end of last year. I simply believe we can't rely on him to be a dominating player. Run stuffer etc. We could get a lot for him, if we just trade him. I hear the redskins love this guy. TRADE HIM.

That's my take.

DD, then why did they franchise tag him? I mean, I see what you guys are saying, but the fact they threw the frachise tag on him also says something, it says they didn't really trust themselves not to trust Solia. If they did, they would have let him walk, and gotten someone else to play NT.

This isn't a 10-yr veteran. He's a 4th-year guy from a small school. And the HISTORY of Somoans in this league is very good (it's like Asians in school, more times than not they get it done). And for those that say Starks was the fit and Odrick at DT, how'd that work out for Starks. Here's a star in the making 2 years ago relegated to a fill-in player in 2010. Didn't work out. Solia is one of the MAIN reasons the defense had success last year. He and Wake and Dansby. Without him, I doubt Miami wins 7 games in 2010.

Doesn't sound too chancey to me. Remember, they had up until JANUARY to get this done. Didn't have to happen in Sept. They could have done it closer to the end of the season when they saw how much Solia improved.

I really don't get some fans here. I'm not saying you guys, but there were people on here who STILL wanted to give Pat White a chance THIS year. A bum, a true bust, and some STILL thought he could be a good player. But a guy who pretty much put the defense on him back at the end of last season, everyone wants to doubt him.

Yet have no qualms giving the starting position to Chad Henne, who was BENCHED in the last game, and looked like the worst QB in the league (and is still a joke to NFL insiders) the last month or 2 of the season.

How can people have those 2 positions in their head at one time? To be behind Henne wholeheartedly (Mr. Mediocre in his NFL career), yet have nothing but questions about Solia (who played like a ProBowler last year). Maybe it's me, cause I just don't get it.

Even Jason Ferguson, previous DT, kept saying about Soliai - He has all the talent in the world to be good IF he really applies himself. So, there was a major doubt on his work ethic for awhile, which is why they held off.

Remember, the insiders, inside, on the scene, see 10 times more than any of us could possibly see. I don't think Ireland is Einstein, but I don't think he is the dumbest guy walking the planet either, like some of you portray him to be.

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