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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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Marshall is part of the problem, every player is part of the problem including Henne, but If you want to Blame the offense for bad performance it can not be pinned on Henne only, sorry to burst your bubble. Marshall had a big part of the poor performance on MANY days. Even he would tell you that.





Poizen, I'll put my $$ on Marshall over Henne any day. Look at Marshall's track record versus Henne. Henne is awful. Can't read a defense, has zero mobility, and has become an interception machine. As soon as he feels the heat, he chokes. Marshall could of been more productive, but his body language and the way he feels about Henne has a lot to do with it. He simply doesn't believe in him. And neither do I.

Oregon...I agree....without opinions...this site is nothing....opinions make this ite what it is....

but when dealing with staments or quotes from players/coaches/pundints.....then I say opinion doesn't really play a part in that....

but again...thats my opinion....

Montreal... All I can say is I fully disagree with your evaluation of Henne. Completly off base. that being said the argument has happened 100 times at least in this forum, so I am not drudging it up. I have full and complete faith that Henne can and will be a VERY GOOD starter in the NFL. for the sake of OUR team, let us hope I am right. I am willing to take the heat IF Im wrong. I just do not believe I am. Talk to D. Bess about the workout with Henne this year they did on their own. totally different player, man, and leader. I just hope all the bashers will take their medicine when they are wrong about Henne, IF that happens.

Poizen....in the end we all hope your right.....unless we land a Proven vet...with a NFL track record as a starter....then Henne is the man.....and as he goes....the Miami Dolphins go...

Poizen, I hope I'm wrong as well...Cause I'm first and foremost a Miami Dolphins fan...All of my life...I just don't see it...We'll see I guess...

Well now that there is going to be football we can go back to watching Ireland and co. driving this franchise even further into the ground.

I wonder what tricks he has up his sleeve now?

More backstabbing of the HC? Perhaps more questions about player's moms?

Maybe some brilliant signings of guys like Wilford or Gibril Wilson. Maybe more cbs like Eric Green (ya you forgot about him didn't you?). Perhaps some more stellar drafting of Pat White etc. Maybe they will continue to spend money on OL who can't get the job done.

Henne will continue to stink up the joint in 2011. Throwing check down passes with < 1 min to go. Missing wide open receivers on throws that a grade 12 qb could make. Not connecting on deep routes. Marshall will become disinterested as he will understand that his best years will have been in Denver where they had a competent although not great qb.

Dolphin Stadium will continue to be an NFL destination city for fans of opposition teams looking for a nice Nov / Dec getaway. Pathetic.

Rinse. Repeat.

Oh .... and this will be the last year of Nolan in Miami as he, like many before him, will go running for the doors the moment his contract expires.


that's fair enough for me. The direct quotes are a window into the mentality happening inside the organization.
It's hard to get a clear picture of what that mentality is exactly.
Sparano has that media coachspeak thing down where he does not give anything away.

I'm of the opinion that Sparano is a major problem for the Dolphins. That he is going to strangle any QB they have really. I think it's pretty hard to gauge how good/bad Henne is under the circumstances.
Hopefully Sparano is learning and we see something entirety different in the offense this year.
But what I have seen so far is bad. Id call it putrid. I say you cure the stink of the fish by cutting the head off and hiring a better coach.

See ya later, CBA battle.

Helloooooo Football!

Agreed to all, We are Phins fans, and we want what is best. Like I said though. If you want a light at the end of the tunnel to believe in D.Bess, is very accessible in the Davie/Miami ares. He is a cool guy. Ask him about the changes with Henne. If you don't have a mic, he will be a little more "real". I am excited to see Henne this year. I hope it all works out in the end.

Poizen...Hope you're right about Henne...But he's not even garanteed to be the starter...He'll have to win the job. But having said that, Ireland will probably end up signing a stiff to make sure Henne does indeed become the starter...This front office does not have a very good track record with free agents.


I'm of similar mind about Henne and have defended him in here many times.

I think Henne could turn into a serviceable QB.

However, Henne does not have the star power or the ability of a VY.

To my mind the franchise is at a critical moment for the future of the QB position.

A rare opportunity exists to dramatically increase the talent level at QB for the next 5-10 years on the cheap.

Signing VY is a great economy move. Major talent at a discount.

Then when you look at T Pryor it's the same thing. #1 collegiate recruited player in the country for a 3rd round pick?

By signing VY and drafting T Pryor you have brought the QB position into the modern era. The 6’5, physically gifted QB is the future for the NFL.

Ireland lacks the vision to see the moment for what it is and the Soprano regime is to fragile apparently to bring in VY or even sign Pryor to be the 3rd QB for a while, grow up and learn to be a pro.

Both these moves offer an extraordinarily low risk to reward ratio for the Dolphins. Young is coming cheap for what he does on the field. Pryor was the #1 college recruit in the country for a reason. He is tainted right now which results in his being able to be picked up for probably a 3rd round pick.

3rd round picks turn out half the time anyway, right? 3 years from now I’d give it a 50/50 chance that Pryor will be a monster talent at QB. Pryor appears to me to be an extremely good risk to reward pick.

From a business stand point by adding VY and putting the physical freak Pryor into the incubator for the future the team adds much needed star power at QB. The Dolphins need that star power to put fans in those empty seats.

The other aspect is from a team standpoint adding Young makes the Dolphins a better team. Young’s 10 TD’s, 3 INT’s, 98.6 passer rating and 5 yards a carry from last year make the Dolphins a better team. Young wins games (30-18 all time).

Enough hatred and fighting fellas. How about some excitement about the possibilities we have as dolphin fans. This could be our year. It seems like everyone from the gm to the coach to the nose tackle is under pressure to prove themselves this year.

As for the gm lets look at what he may do to make us giddy as a school girl. Im with the majority bring in vince to fight for a job leading this team. A change of scenery and new teammates may help his overall outlook on the game. Give me Noel Devine....speed speed speed. I see where bush could be a nice help but devine would do the same job but cheaper. I like Bradshaw as our featured back with thomas and devine let the old corps go...its time. Cut crowder to give us more cap room to go after defensive speed and playmakers...Paul Posluzny....my sleeper FA pick this year....we need him he is a beast that is underutilized in the frigid abyss that is buffalo.

As far as the coach.....let loose baby....let it fly....you got one year to prove yourself...make it happen. Of course we want to run the ball but not on the downs they expect us to lets go five wide on first and second throw in some draws and screens something to get people free to make plays not line up chest to chest and bump boobs...lets open it up tony....You Can Do it!!!! I hope Daboll has a great year i hope he exercises his demons from last year he has potential lets get behind him and enjoy this year.

Now the players....this is where it gets serious. We need players to step up and make plays. Not just cam and paul, but everybody on our team needs to want to be on a highlight reel on every play. I want big hits...cheap hits...flagrant fouls...15 yard facemasks that are worth the penalty...85 yrd touchdowns....Sean smith to catch a friggn ball, vontae to step up and be the player he has the ability to be. I want other teams to look forward to us leaving their town as quickly as possible.......

I am so excited its almost here thank god for the miami dolphins. What a glorious franchise that mark my words will make some folks stand up and pay attention this year and if not......theres always the draft

Oregon, maybe you lack vision and Ireland knows what the heck he is doing. Have you ever met, interviewed or studied hundreds of hours of tape on and of these players? You know nothing, zilch, beyond media reports.


totally true. I'm writing up what I'd like to see and why. This is complete speculation on my part.

Knute... It is a blog to talk about stuff like that, no need to bash someone for their opinion or evaluation.

Oregon, Vince Young would come cheap, and by the numbers he "may" be a good solution.

I just personally do not think so at all. I never want to see a quitter on my teams when I played, or even coached. One time a quitter, it seems that is always in your heart. When times get tough, quit, run, blame others. We just do not need that kind of attitude, especially to try and build around. which would be what VY would be. He is not a stop gap.

so my personal opinion is no to VY. If it happens, so be it. I think Henne can beat him out for the job anyway. But we will see... Love to be talking football again!!! :)

Poizen, Oregon bashed Ireland, so I just took the other side. Sayng someone lacks vision when likely that person spends 100 times more time studying the subject is a bit of a stretch to me. I realize I am in the minority, but I think Ireland is doing well and will only get better. Yes, its a blog, opinion, debate.

oregon fin fan,

are you a duck fan? if so i know you will appreciate the fact that i wanted legarret blount so badly last year what a steal for the bucs........

One intriguing option at QB is Matt Moore...

I know what you mean about the difference between playing with someone who will dig deep in the battle vs giving up.

I'm inclined to give VY the benefit of the doubt. We dont know what the HC, QB relationship was like and VY certainly is not the 1st guy to get into the dog house with a HC.

VY has had some problems and needs a fresh start. Are his problems as bad as punching your pregnant girlfriend? I don't know that they are.

The big thing to me is I want to see the Dolphins win.

This is a parody league and talent makes the difference. Bring in talent and figure it out is the way I look at it.

VY makes the Dolphins a better team. Pryor could be huge for the franchise long term. Sign Young, draft Pryor.

i like matt moore.....

Agreed on VY Poizen. Sometimes a second chance can help a player. Thats where teams that have a very solid foundation in place i.e. New England come into play.

Miami has too many internal issues to work out right now and they don't have to take the risk on VY. Plus VY had several "second chances" in Ten and continued to blow it.

I agree though whatever happens. If for some reason VY ends up in Miami then I will be pulling for him ... and holding my breath it doesn't blow up in their face.

Looking forward to seeing how Odrick looks after his injury.

Blount is another guy who fits what Im talking about. Blount's size and ability had pro written all over him coming coming out yet didnt even get drafted?

Tampa took a chance and brought in a 'potential bad character guy' and they are reaping the rewards. I'd like to see the Dolphin organization take a similar approach.

Instead they take the 'most cohesive 53 over the best 53' approach, which i do not agree with.


i know it man it kills me too....so many great playmakers have just slipped by that we could have jumped on.....but i guess thats hind sight...i cant lie i wanted spiller last year...i just knew he was gonna be great, watched him kill the noles so many times but lookey there i was wrong.....i just want some excitement

RB Noel Devine, 5-8/179, West Virginia, or Derrick Locke, RB Kentucky look like a couple of speed RB's that Ireland could bring in if he's on it.

I dont see the need to break the bank for another RB. The team just spent the early portion of the draft on RB's.

I'd like to just see Ricky get brought back, give Lex a legit opportunity, look at Sheets and sign Devine of Locke.

Lineman make running lanes and I'd prefer to see the Dolphins spend cap money toward signing FA OL talent like Justin Blalock G Atlanta or Davin Joseph G Atlanta.

Also it would be nice to see Ireland land a OL rookie FA like C Jake Kirkpatrick, 6-3/305, TCU, Chris O’Dowd, C USC, or
G/T David Mims 6-8/331, Virginia Union.


You are totally right and both those atl boys would be nice to sure up our line.....if atl looses those guys they are in trouble especially with norwood leaving and turner gettin too big in the rear end to get it done...(im a lil partial he was on my fantasy team and didnt produce)...and im an sec guy and ive seen locke alot and he is the truth. as for the rookie ol you mentioned Kirkpatrick is , in my opinion, the most suited for nfl football...tcu puts out smart tough kids

Oregon is definately one of the bright spots on this blog....kudos my friend.

what you think about posluzny?? im so ready to move forward with our lb corp im diggin misi and cant wait to see if we let crowder go and make some improvements there

A kiss for Oregon!

that wasnt me but nice try......who does that kind of stuff.......douchbag

Screw the jets and their shirts

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