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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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wolf,

Like everything else, everything Bill Connors says doesn't come true. Typical kiss of death from him. He was probably one of the people calling for the end of the world this year too.

Craig

Yes there are plays and scripts to follow, but there is also moxy, leadership and knowing what the heck you are doing. Do you think Montana, Marino, Brady, Peyton, Brees never change the play? Do you think they had fear to throw the ball deep? Where does all this Henne had hand cuffs talk come from really? Can you site one accurate, verifible source? Or is it just fans like you spouting unfounded hogwash? Henning had repeatedly said Henne had frequent downfield options. Fans like you assume you know what you don't know and make stuff up.

I'd like to hear from a long time finfan when they can remember when the failings of any of the QB's were blamed on the coaches. The same coaches that nobody complained about in 2008 were the same coaches in 2010. Some of you refuse to believe just maybe the coaching staff didn't have much to work with. Only players can make the plays.

Fans complained about Dom Capers too when he was our DC. He went to GB and created a SB winning defense. Players make the coaches look good, not the other way around.

Well Johnny, what we do know is that Dan Henning favours a conservativem running style of offence, based on what we've seen from him at other stops in the league. Would you like to argue that point too? On top of that, the personnel on this team to date favours that same approach. The talent level over the last few years hasn't been good enough. We also know that for whatever reason the offensive players couldn't consistently get open, despite the fact that a lot of the time Marshall was double teamed. It was obvious to most of (except you of course) that Henning didn't know what to do with Marshall. He wasn't able to isolate him enough and get hima way from double coverage. Now if he was and Henne couldn't get him the ball, then that would be something else all together but that wasn't the case. The team was AWFUL in the red zone and that falls on the OC. How do we know this? Well one guy was show the door and the other guy is still the starting QB on this team.

So obviously Johhny, you know more than everybody else. You must have been in the huddle when the plays were called and at all the meetings and practices. What we're expressing Johnny is an OPINION, no more or less than you are epxressing. It happens to be a POPULAR opinion but again you obviously know way more than the rest of us because you feel we've made stuff up while yours is factual, right?

This will be Ireland's last year with the Dolphins

One last point...any time a coach is fired it's based on the fact that the players didn't get the job done. It's how the coaching world works. It may not have been the coached fault but for whatever reason the team didn't get it done on the field. Its what these guys sign up for. It's why Brian Daboll was replaced in Cleveland last year. He had very little to work with but at the end of the day he's judged on what his offence doesn and how they perform. Nobody looks at it and says 'well Delhomme was a bust' and 'we don't have a true number one receiver', they say 'the offence was the worst in the league last year. Time to make a change'. Is it fair? Of course not but it's how thinks work.

Craig,

I see you conveniently avoided my questions - Where does all this Henne had hand cuffs talk come from really? Can you site one accurate, verifible source?

First, Henning was not fired, he walked. He signed on with the intention of staying only two years, not three. So even with a better record he was walking after last season.

You say Henning didn't know what to do with Marshall? Maybe Henne didn't know how to see he was actually open? Maybe Henne never learned to throw early and anticipate rather than thow late and force it? Why was the redzone play so bad? Um, could it be we lacked talent?

None of those questions apparently entered your mind. Your take is, what the majority of the fans believe must be true, so it all must be Hennings fault. Ingenious.

How many of you were down on Henning after 2008 division title? I will tell you, ZERO. But suddenly, instantly, he went senile and put hand cuffs on Henne and its all Hennings fault. I see. Logical.

Judging by Hennes play last year, I don't think Henning put hand cuffs on him. I think he put Henne in the Guillotine and whacked his head off. That is more likely.

Craig,

You want to know who was fired? Probably not, but I will tell you. Our new OC was fired last year for having the worst O in the league. Holgrem even spoke out against him to say how inflexible his offense was and he doesn't like to use the wide outs. Nice.

Johnny,

You're expressing an OPINION just like me. Doesn't matter. The FACT is one guy is gone and the other guy is back as the starting QB. Whatever your take on it, Dan Henning didn't get it done as OC last year. That FACT is irrefutable.

jonny - you r correct - henning was due to leave anyway (according to him, but he might have been offered another cnotract or been tempted to stay had he had more success last year)

a lot of what went wrong was partly henne's fault, a lot wasn't

it's difficult to find marshall open or otherwise when you're on the sideline and a wc play is falling apart

stat wise finding marshall and him dropping it looks like u can't find marshall

only a few good qb's r good straight out the packet and they still need a team but probably not as much training

those who do develop into a good qbs, we don't question the coach coz they r just that - good whether the coach helped or not

erratic players whose weaknesess rnt improving r either being badly coached or deaf or can't improve

the scheme and team make a huge difference to both developing a qb and minimising the weaknesses they have until they mature and the weaknesses r coached out

no-one knows what henne will do next season (as well as soliai) but i fancy henning not being there (and more importantly pennington not being there) will lead to vastly improved play from henne, (as well as run game, ol, and speedy wr x2)

go fins

Johnny U.....

Don't know where you have been....but welcome to the blog....

Craig,

You are a funny guy. Your opinions are FACTS. And everyone elses facts are opinions. Convenient.

Ask yourself, would any other OC had much more success last year with that team? Nobody knows. So your statement that Henning didn't get it done is not a fact, as much as you'd like it to be, since we have no idea if any other OC in the league could have gotten it done, in which case it was the lack of talent and not the OC's fault.

I realize that is a lot for you to comprehend but maybe something will sink in.

I'm still waiting for your verifiable evidence that Henne had hand cuffs on, or retract the statement. As far as I can tell, that idea was born on the blog which was plenty enough to brainwash you and a handful of others. My source is Hennings words, that Henne did indeed have his share of downfield options. Your source I'm guessing is fantasy land bloggers unless you care to share it with us.

Wolf....

well stated.....

wolf,

Keep in mind, Marshall did have quite a lot of catches last year. Not many touchdowns no, but 86 catches for over 1000 yards even missing a couple of games...not bad...anyone want to give Henning any credit for that?

ta

Sporano also said that they had been telling Henne.....that "marshall is the kinda guy that OPEN even when he looks like he covered"....

Or something like that.....

The gist of it was.....were not telling him not to take risk.....

J.U, My take on the "Handcuffed" Henne is there's a reason why, He Suxed in times of duress..., I think thats what it was, Just look at the last 3 games of last season as a example.

Good observation Kris.

Wolf made some good comments. My point is only that fans have gone way overboard in blamming Henning for everything but global warming.

Johnny, you're way too smart for some guys here...Shame on you...You don't know anything about football...LOL!

Amazing that football season is back and instead of guys being excited all they want to do is whine and complain more about Henne. Truly amazing!! Newsflash Johhny...he's still the starting QB....deal with it!!

It don't have to prove anything to you about Henne having the handcuffs on. If already cited some examples, namely the fact that they couldn't get the ball to Marshall more, were so bad in the Red Zone and wouldn't let Henne ad lib. Would you like to dispute those facts? How about you disprove this theory. It's not just me saying this. There are experts out there who know an awful lot more about football than you and me who feel the same way.

Anyways, Johnny go back to your miserable life. I'm going to celebrate the return of football and focus on how the Dolphins can get better this season. You can continue to lament last season and what might have been.

From Coach Tony's mouth....

“What he didn’t do was complete the deep pass more frequently,” Sparano said. “Some of that is on us for the number of opportunities. There’s just a lot of factors, but when you get the green light, you’ve got to make the play, and Chad would tell you that.”

http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedailydolphin/2011/03/22/dolphins-coach-tony-sparano-supports-chad-henne-defends-brandon-marshalls-outbursts/

Henne handcuffed...What a joke...Since when is it a capital offense to speak the truth? He sucks! Marshall spoke the truth...Hard to swallow but fact...Deal with it!

WTF

They obviously stopped trusting him in the redzone so went wildcat often down there. When he was in the game, I've seen no evidence they put fear in him or limited him in any way.

JU, I think Odin blamed Global warming on J-Lo's Back side., Come to think of it Methane gas is the leading cause of global warming., Thats a scientific fact.

jonny

i agree with , but henne threw most of those passes

problem with assessing football is that its complex with many interlinked factors, we tend to focus on one easily identified factor and discuss it in black and white

our comments on henning r opinions because he doesn't have direct measurables unless u simply assess play calling but even that's subjective

he appeared to fail at this, but he would say it was play execution

logically it appeared poor calling coz from the outside we often (henne) appeared to get drives together and then killed them with either wc play or many run plays hwne the run game was failing

for me henning was significantly responsible for lot of what went wrong last season, i'm glad he's gone, i look forward to daboll and am not unduly worried about holmgrens comments nor the browns stats last season, he's a lot to proove and i think he'll deliver, but as he's not carrying the ball himself i'm still worried about our running game

Craig

Couldn't get the ball to Marshall more? Huh? Marshall had 86 catches for over 1000 yards even while missing a couple of games. WTF are you talking about? You are living DEEP in fantasy land my friend.

Jonny, Tell me me his stats the last 3 Games.

DOLPHIN FAN IN MONTREAL................

HENNE IS MARRIED
MARSHALL IS MARRIED


HENNE WAS HANDCUFFED LAST YEAR
MARSHALL WAS NOT,BUT 2 TD IN THE WHOLE SEASON TO SHOW FOR.


HENNE'S RECORD ABOVE 500
MARSHALL'S RECORD BELOW 500 BUT HAS FEW NICE SUITE.


HENNE MAKES 600,000
MARSHALL MAKES ABOUT 9 MILLION


HENNE LOVES HIS WIFE
MARSHALL......... WE KNOW THE REST .

Craig M's philosphy:

All dropped passes, overthrows, underthrows, misreads, sacks, throw aways, fumbles and tipped balls are Hennings fault. Fact.

All completed passes and runs for postive yards are proof Henne is responsible for all the positive plays.

Oh Oh, Lets not resort to name calling gentleman, This is a blog, Lets be kind.

Craig,

At least be a man and admit Henning deserves SOME credit for Marshalls numbers and I will forgive you for your stupidity.

Craig M, cause someone doesn't agree with you he's living a miserable life? You always think you're somekind of great football genius and whatever you say (which makes no sense 90% of the time anyway) should be the voice of reason, like it's the closest thing to the bible or something... Get real bro...This is just a blog. You'll never be an ESPN NFL insider, so lighten up a little man...

jhonny units..............DO YOU WORK IN THE CIRCUS ?

Montreal,

Thanks for the words. On a day like today the last thing I need to heat from people is whining about Henne. That's LAST year....time to get into THIS year guys.

MR. Hartline to the podium

Earlier in the day, wide receiver Brian Hartline echoed the sentiments. He said the Dolphins stick to the gameplan too much and need “make some plays off schedule.”


http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/05/brandon-marshall-continues-to-bag-on-chad-henne-coaches/

Aloco(Or Cuban) Who ever you are today, Get a life.

I THINK GRIAG M POSTS ARE VERY REALISTIC AS KRIS WOULD SAY AND MONTREAL SHOULD TAKE EASY ON HIS FELLOW BLOGGERS .

So because YOU don't feel like hearing anything negative about Henne we shouldn't bring it up. OK, got'cha...

WTF,COM......... I AM ALOCO NOT THE FAKE ALOCO AKA THE CUBAN MENCE ................

Aloco, we're having a discussion about our struggling QB and you're telling me some nonsense about Henne and Marshall being married and Henne loving his wife like crazy...And you want me to take you seriously? You'll have to come up with something better than that brotha...

KRIS....... TELL MR HARTLINE TO SHUT HIS MOUTH AND CATCH THE FOOTBALL FOR A CHANGE .........


P.S...... I THINK HE'S BECOMING A TALK RADIO SHOW HOST .............TRADE HIM .

Montreal,

What's your problem today? Because you have a different opinion than me, 90 per cent of what I say doesn't make sense? I know you're in the hate-Henne camp, so good for you!! The new season hasn't started yet and that's all you and others want to focus on. Whatever floats your boat bud...going to be a long season!

I SEA THAT THE GANG IS SLOWLY WAKING UP FORM THERE DRUNKE NIGHT, SONE ODIN WIKLL BE SPUEING WHAT"HOTTIE" HE"LL BE DOING TONIGHT, HOTTIE=HIS RIGHT HAND.

If Henne is our starting QB, it will be, indeed, a very long season. That I agree with you Craig M...

I'm out guys....off to celebrate the news. The Henne haters can keep harping on about last year and all the mistakes he made...

Peace....

#1, Wolf, Kris, good feedback. I feel better now that I see some people out there actually think.

I'm off to gaze at my HOF award now. Will come by during the season.

MONTREAL.........


I POSTED ABOUT THEIR RECORD AND SALARY .................

HENNE IS MAKING 600,000
MARSHALL 9 MILLION


HENNE'S RECORD ABOVE 500 AND MARSHALL IS BELOW 500 ......WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT ME TO LIST ..............


HENNE DOESN'T HAVE A MAID.

MARSHALL HAS A MAID .

There are several aspects that hint toward or indicate the handcuffing of Henne.

One is the overall demeanor and style of Sparano. The guy is a choke artist. You can see it in how he coaches. Its really an eyeball test. If you watch Sparano's reaction's you can just tell he coaches scared and wants Henne to constantly check down so as to avoid any possible turnover.

That is just not the way to be asked to play QB. The defenses are to good for that and can read and predict the QB's who are are trying to play too conservative.

Another indicator is the statements from opposing teams about they knew many of the plays pre snap. As a QB you are handcuffed when your OC is so predictable and conservative that the opponent knows your plays pre snap. No way around that.

Only 5 step drops is in it's own way certainly handcuffing.It's absurd really and I wonder if there is another team in the league that designed all their passing plays as 5 step drops.

The other indicator is Ricky. Ricky is probably the most honest and open Dolphin player in interviews and he stated it outright that Sparano over coaches, coaches tight and it rubs off on Henne. That is pretty obvious to me.

Having a depleted and injured OL did not help. If you dont have protection and your coach is emphasizing to not take any chances then that results in a pretty conservative style of play.

Now if Henne were more Tom Brady than Jay Fiedler then perhaps he could rise above all these constraining factors, but he is not. And I say that even Tom freaking Brady would have not had success in Miami last year.

This team is not going to look good on offense until Sparano is gone. Your offense sucks and you hire Daboll!? Seriously. Henning offense was Sparanos's offense. Sparnao is the cancer here. Mr. FG is not only handcuffing Henne but the entire offense.

Unitas, you know your football my man...Keep it up! Don't be a stranger on this blog.

What the fu%?& are you trying to say Aloco? Cause one guy makes millions and has a maid and the other doesn't it's wrong? What does any of that have to do with football?? And since we're at it, 600 000$ a year is enough money to have not one maid but 4, with a few hookers and a cook...So what's your point?

MONTREAL..........


MY POINT IS WITH 600,000 AND NO SUITS AND NO MAID AND NO GIRLFRIENDS ON THE SIDE ........... HENNE HAS A BETTER RECORD THAN MARSHALL ..............................

FANFIN FROM MONTREAL, WELCOME TO THE GANG OF DEFEAT.,

Oregon....

I posted a quote from SPorono's lips....

and while Ricky did say Sporano is a "micro-manager"....he DID NOT SAY IT RUBS OFF ON HENNE....

That is an embelishment at best....a staight up lie (by you) at worst....

Lets just stick to the facts and let the poster's decide

GOOD POST KRIS @ 2;11 PM .

Better record? So that's how you evaluate players? So we should get rid of Marshall and keep Henne? Because of their records? Marshall is a Pro Bowl WR, Henne is a nobody. Marshall missed a few games and still ended up over 1000 yards despite playing in a pathetic offense...C'mon man...

THIS ARGUMENT YOU ARE USING TO JUSTFY MARSHALL'S RECORD IS PATHETIC , YOU FORGOT TO SAY,HE HAD 3 TD'S ALL YEAR AND WE NEVER SEEN THE PLAYOFFS ...............

TO HATE HENNE THIS MUCH ,YOU MUST NOT THINKING RIGH BUT I RESPECT YOU VIEWS .........


BACALA .......

Johnny Unitas, you were great in your time, but the handcuffed thing for Henne was obvious and spoken about by other players on the offense. Since you have been dead, I am sure worms have eaten your eyes and filled your ears with poop, so you are forgiven for not seeing the obvious. :)

Kris...

I wrote that these are indicators. Ricky's quote implies that Sparano is coaches tight and it rubs off on Henne and the whole offense no doubt.

Besides it goes unsaid intentionally by Ricky. For Ricky to say such a thing implies the whole situation got into Henne's head which is basically calling a teammate out and is not what Ricky wants to do IMO.

An indicator is now an embellishment to you, right.

And the from Sparano's lips business, seriously? What is he going to say, that he over coaches? What does Sparano speak clearly about anyway?

And your suggesting we 'stick to the facts', when the whole subject is subjective is simply nonsense.

Aloco, Marshall is not the problem. Get a real QB and get a real O-Line and the Dolphins will win 10 games or more. Drafting Pouncey was a good first step. Now let's see what they do about the QB position. Adding a productive RB is also high on the priority list. The entire offense needs a face lift. Marshall is the last guy you should worry about.

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