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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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Mando, since you made it clear that you speak to Paul all the time I would presume your close and or friends. This article seems like nothing more then YOU getting him a high priced long term deal!
If Miami did there work and feel he stepped up in order to get paid, they would be stuck with Jake grove and that crappy safety we over paid for.
On the other hand if the game really has slowed down for Paul then he will have no problem earning his 13 million this season.
I'm wishing for the ladder so that's one less position to address!! 4 million a year for a guy who had to play well or be cut seems fair!! He's not a pro bowler. "yet"!!

We do need a little help on the Oline, especially at guard. Good news is there's a lot of starting caliber guards to be had. Check this out-


Big Paul is......Big Paul. I remember when he was drafted some defensive player in Dolphins trainig Camp said, - Paul Soliai is a beast -. Then he proceeded to not perform for the next couple of years. ???

Be patient. One day I will make a worthwhile post.

Arrrrmando, not everything is $.

There have been way too many one year wonders in this league to just throw Solia a long term deal. I don't blame the Dolphins for being cautious. I would simply sit back, and see how he plays this year early on. If he plays like he did last year, great! Sign him to a big money, long term deal knowing he is worth it and is still young. If he takes a step back or worse, on to plan B. Miami has enough money under the cap to keep his number what it is, and still get what they need. I think they've done/did what 99 percent of teams would of done in the same position.

Arrrrmando, do you know how to make Cuban pork cutlets? Delicious and crispy. I just made some. Just season 2 Lbs with Cuban Mojo, preferably overnight. Then place them in very high heat with 1 or 2 cups of H2O and 1/2 cup of dry cooking wine to cover, let them soften, discard all their grease and sautee them with a bit of Canola oil(my preference) until crispy(if you like them that way).

I like the idea of getting Bush.

the worst person on this blog is the cuban menace who kept faking mr aloco for a year now until today .



bottom only shut your mouth or i will rip your head off mthfker.

I am a sick fuh.

There is nothing this franchise does that doesn't make a normal person roll his eyes and shake his head. It is run by trio of bumbling idiots, people who sign cast offs from the Raiders and stick with a QB for years that has absolutely nothing going for him. It's a franchise where the head coach is rewarded with a contract extension for the team's miserable showing last year, and team who, when told the owner wants a more explosive offense, signs a OC from one of the few franchises worse than Miami.

FistPumps ForFieldGoals--Did you speak to Susan about this?

Maybe Ireland was waiting to find out if his mom is a whooooore!


Hugh, he didn't speak to me about it.

i'm back from vacation guys and gals..I love the Dolphins. Like Charlie Brownthe eternal optimist, I hope we will be able to kick the footbal this year...

Everything in this world is a function of money...that's the bottom line after sorting through the piles of dirty underwear...

We of course had the opportunity to look at his playw with Danby in the lineup. Danby filled a lot of holes. He made everyone better. Also the rest of the d line are no slouches.

Now I am not saying he isn't worth a raise but great players make weaker players look a lot better. If they sign him, great, if not, trade him and find another way.

What they need to do is bring back Dan!!!!

Why are you writing multiple articles about this?? Can't you find any other noteworthy Dolphin stories to investigate?






I guess if the dolphins can't see in the future the mando will critic them. Nobody would have given solia a big contract mid year last year. It would have been a huge risk

Hi friends of Mimami,

i live there in florida, come and visit me in miami! Check out this site, then you learn a lot about miami!

Dallas cast-offs can be signed soon......

Cleveland cast offs can be signed soon. Looking forward to getting some of the third stringers cheap from one of last years worst teams.


I, for one, want to congratulate ALoco for accureately predicting the end of the NFL lock-out -- and for his up-to-the-minute information on the state of the negotiations throughout this Odysseey.

It almost felt like I was sitting at the table during the negotiations. I could smell Jerry Richardson's cologne.

Cleveland cast offs can be signed soon. Looking forward to getting third stringers cheap from one of last years worst teams.

cleveland offense is happy there will be a new oc.


Interesting that Peter King had Jake Long at number TWELVE on his top 100 players list and SIX QBs in his top ten but no Matt Ryan in his top TWENTY. It's only one person's opinion obviously but I think what it does is leave open the debate of whether it should have been Ryna or Long at one a few years ago for the Dolphins. Yes, guys are always going to say you take the franchise QB any time you can but can we say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ryna was the obvious pick? I don't think we can. First of all the supporting cast in Atlanta is far better than what we have in Miami. Miami was coming off a 1-15 season and while Atlanta wasn't much better at 3-13, they had lost Vick to jail and their head quit on them. Bottom line....the Miami team was a lot closer to being a 1-15 team and the talent was bare, than Atlanta being a 3-13 pick. Are you naysayers SO convinced that Ryan would have had instant success in Miami? I'm not! While we're still searching at QB, I for one am happy to have a stalwart like Long on the roster for years to come.

Kris, you're funny

Craig M, here's a question for you: would you rather have a hall of famer on your squad, or a player whose success depends greatly on factors such as the offensive system, playcalling and skill position teammates?

I say forget Orton get Solai signed to a long term deal good NT's don't come up often its hard to get one and this will be his second year in Nolan's system. I'll be honest you have to attribute a lot of the defenses good play and development to Nolan's system. As far as QB goes forget about Orton stop sending draft picks away, take a lesson from the pats. Pick up Vince Young for next to nothing and use him in the wildcat package and as a back up let Henne have the reigns if he doesn't pan out then draft a QB in 2012. GO PHINS!!!!


I think it's too easy to second guess all the decisions this regime makes. The post I made at least keeps the discussion open. I'll say again, Matt Ryan coming to a 1-15 football team with very little talent already on the roster would have got eaten alive his first few years with this team and who knows what conversations we'd be having about him today. He may have suffered injuries and his confidence might be low. It's too easy for people to look at what he's done in Atlanta to date and say 'yep...that's what he would have done in Miami'. It's not a fair comparison.



We all know the pundits are often wrong. That being said, while they had Ryan as the top QB of the draft, none of them felt at the time he was worthy of the #1 overall pick. Even though nobody here respects Parcells, its not like the guy is clueless about football, and his words were that in hindsight maybe we should have picked Ryan, but you just never know with QB's, its always a gamble. Charged with rebuilding a team after a dismal 1-15 season, Long was the safest pick, a sure thing pick, and I believe really the right pick at the time.

I'm interested to see what kind of shape Soliai reports in. Everyone wants to hand this guy big money but let's wait and see how disciplined he's been this off-season. If he comes in ready to go, then I'm all for it. Keep in mind, the team has until September 20th to reach a long term deal with him....so they do have some time.

And one more point....when you pick #1 overall and that player goes to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, nobody can knock the pick.

I agree Craig, my post was more of a point than a question, I suppose. IMO, the powers that be make decisions that should be second guessed, as not only are they paid tons of dough because of their 'significant football prowess,' but accountability is essentially what makes any business (including a football team) successful. I do feel you provided us with an excellent post, though

Left tackles are hard to come by espcially ones like Jake Long in the long run I don't think Ryan would have been successful in the system that we had one because of the personell issues that Parcells inherited and because Dan Henning would have made Ryan look like crap. Sorry but Ryan wouldn't have been the same QB here that he is in Atlanta. They had the tools in place already we obviously didn't.

Are people still on the Jake Long - vs - Matt Ryan debate.

Jake Long is -- quite probably -- the best Offensive Lineman in football. He plays at one of footballs cornerstone positions -- and consistently dominates. The Dolphins picked him first over all -- paid him a ransom annd have gotten every penny back in value.

The issue with the Dolphins is not that they picked Long over Matt Ryan. It is that they used Second Round picks on John Beck, Patt White, Chadd Henne etc, etc.

After years, months, weeks and days of haggling over all the details of a new collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA and NFL finally came to an agreement on terms in the wee hours of Monday morning, FOXSports.com has learned.


Yeah. Give Soliai a good contract and he'll retire on the field. A good player would have performed consistently better than he has performed. Now he needs a new contract, so he played well for one year to get it and then retire. Reminds me of so many football and baseball players who did the same thing: Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez,etc.

Guys good to see voices of reason on here re: the Long vs Ryan debate. Totally agree. But here are MANY out there who just don't see it the same way. They will continue to lambaste these guys for apparently missing what they consider 'the sure-thing franchise QB', when nothing could be further from the truth.

Craig, Good post, Also remember that the year before Atlanta was a playoff team , They lost The coach there franchise QB so going 3 and 13 was'nt shocking, They had the Nucleus of a team where as the phins had no talent whats so ever, So Ryan Flourishing is'nt that shocking, Where as the fins taking a O-line man seems to be crazy, Its only crazy to people that know nothing about football.... Good pick by both teams in my opionion.

WTF.COM exactly I could have put my little nephew in at QB for Atlanta and he would have thrown some TD's. Matt Ryan is good and has all the tools but he got put in a sweet deal with the weapons on offense they have.


Great points....good deal for both teams. Guys who can't appreciate Long don't know football. We've got a great, potential Hall of Famer for years to come, at one of the most important poistions in the game. Nice problem to have!

I still think Henne is gonna do something I think his hands were really tied last year and we had no running game and our O-line was garbage at the guards. It's hard to make reads when you are running for your life. With a good running game I think he builds confidence and because a good qb not a great one but a good one. He has the tools let's just hope this OC can coach him. Nolan turned our D around in one year. LETS GO PHINS!!!


I hope you're right. Would love to see Henne have success, not because I could say 'told ya so' but because it's my team and I don't want to see them have to draft and then devlop another QB. It's been a revolving door for years and I want it to end.

Who's the first player the dolphins contact when this curtain gets lifted? Is it one of the undrafted rookies and if so who and who is the first FA they call? My money on the last part is Bradshaw or D'Angelo Williams but others will probably argue for a QB.

How Has "Matty Ice" Performed in play-offs????

Lock out officially over!!! Bring on the football

I Can only hope they dont do as they have the last three years looking for"Acorns" From the Cowboys throw aways.

I agree Craig I like Henne personally and like you said I'm tired of the unknown in drafting and developing, while the rest of the team ages. I think he finally has some solid weapons and some speed hopefully we can get the guards firgured out in free agency and let this kid go. Hell let him make some mistakes but build his damn confidence to me he looked scared like the coaches were scaring him not to make a mistake which in turn forced him to do just that! We can't put the game on his shoulders at least not just yet but eventually maybe.

Anybody know if Zach miller is an UFA or not? If he is he'd be one of the first guys I'd contact. To me TE is still one of the weakest areas on this team and it would help Henne greatly to have a pass-catching TE. I don't put Fasano in that category, I'm afraid.


Great QB's aren't scared of what the coaches might say.

Great QB's don't let others put hand cuffs on them.

Great QB's are not afraid of mistakes and know you have to take chances.

Great QB's make things happen even if it means going against what they were told.

Great QB's play great.

Let's stop defending Henne ad nauseam about the coaches and handcuffs and fear. None of that is even verified, its nothing more than hostile fan speculation. Besides, he is an NFL QB, not a boy scout.


Great QBs do what their coaches ask them to do or they find themselves sitting on the bench. No QB goes out there and does whatever he wants. Doesn't work that way. The plays are scripted and it's what they work on all week in practice. If you disagree with this premise then you really don't know anything about football.

good to see some henne support

good to see some fo support

the schedule looks tough

but the jets r gonna decline

this fo actually has a half decent record against the jets and pats

we need a running game upgrade more than anything else (yup qb,ol and passing game all help here)

fa RB (if not ronnie), bradshaw tops the list,

fa pass rusher, though misi will imp a lot this season

mankins if he wants to come over

please please no trading future picks higher than 4th and then only for a qb

expect a big surprise in fa, poss involving trading a starter of ours

10-6 or better here we come

bye bye buh bye

bill connors where r u and your no football till 2012?

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