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An insider's view of the Soliai-Dolphins negotiations

The deadline came and went on Tuesday but the Dolphins and nose tackle Paul Soliai were not able to reach agreement on an contract extension that would have effectively replaced the franchise tag number on the big fella, helped the Dolphins clear cap space, locked the player up for at least three more years, and settled an issue both sides will now have to revisit in the future.

It didn't get done.

Solia, who is making $12.476 million this season with every bit of it counting against the cap, cannot sign an extension now. He can become a free agent at the end of the season unless the Dolphins use the franchise tag on him again. Putting that tag on Soliai in 2012 would cost Miami a whopping $14.971 million -- crazy money for one year.

So why didn't the sides come together?

Well, this morning on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo on 640-AM in South Florida, agent David Canter broke what he termed as a self-imposed media silence on the matter and peeled back intricate details of the negotiation from his viewpoint. (I'd love to get it also from the Dolphins viewpoint, but I dropped my Iphone in the pool so I've been without ability to send or receive calls or texts for a week now. I also doubt the team would be much interested in exchanging either phone calls or texts on this matter with me anyway.)

But I digress.

Canter said on my show that he and the team were, "basically in completely different mindsets" as it relates to the negotiations. That's bad.

I asked him how far apart he was with the team and after asking how far Earth is from one of the outer planets, he got much more specific:

Ultimately, Canter said, the Dolphins wanted to pay Soliai "$8 million and change" per season to extend him to 2014. Their offer included $6-$8 million in "new guaranteed money." Understand Miami's thinking here. The team obviously viewed the $12.4 million this year that is guaranteed as part of the overall guaranteed money on a four-year deal.

Canter didn't see it that way. He was initially asking for $24 million in new guaranteed money before lowering that to around $18 million in new guaranteed money for three more years beyond this one. That would be on top of the $12.4 million his client is making this year.

So while the Dolphins were offering Vince Wilfork money, Canter was asking for a deal that falls above the three-year, $27 million contract extension Cleveland nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin signed on Sept. 11. Rubin got $18 million in guaranteed money for three more years and is locked up through 2014.

The problem? The Dolphins were willing to give $18-$20 million as the total guarantee for four years. Canter wanted to treat this year at the club's current structure -- with $12.4 million guaranteed --  and then get $18 million in guarantees for the next three years, just like Rubin got.

Contrary to a published report, neither side was ever talking about the Haloti Ngata deal the Pro Bowl player signed with Balitmore this week. That deal is worth a reported $61 million for five years -- over $12 million per season. That deal pays Ngata $27 million guaranteed money this year and $13 million in guaranteed money next year. Ngata is now signed through 2015.

"The Dolphins were more interested in getting us to take $40 million over five years for Paul Soliai," Canter said. "And that's a big divide, unfortunately."

Canter said the club made him the "Vince Wilfork contract" offer several weeks ago. He said he responded with a counter-offer but didn't hear back for a long time. As the deadline approached, he said he called general manager Jeff Ireland and capologist Dawn Aponte and the sides haggled back and forth.

"I made massive concessions," Canter said, "down at least $5-$7 million in guaranteed money and overall structure and they never once upped their original offer one dollar."

But ultimately the Dolphins and agent weren't able to get past the enormous gulf in guaranteed money they were discussing.

Don't ask me who is right here. Both sides obviously think they are. Both sides can make compelling cases why they are being fair and right.

The bottom line is Soliai may well be playing for another team next year or playing for nearly $15 million for Miami if the club franchises him again. If the Dolphins franchise Soliai, they clearly admit being wrong because for a mere $3 million more in guarantees they could have had him for two more years beyond 2012.

If Miami doesn't use the franchise tag again, Soliai will possibly walk.

Might Soliai get less on the open market than he's asking. "That's possible," Canter said. "We're willing to take that gamble and live with whatever happens." But Canter knows someone will sign Soliai. 

For now, meanwhile, nothing got done. And that should disappoint both sides.


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Damn it Armando quit it with being "Yeah". We know its you!

On another note. I like to file a missing person report for Paul Soliai. Cause I havent seen him this year!

Our safeties have been making all the tackles so far. Maybe they should be getting the big contracts.

this is a lose-lose situation.

Come next year, I foreshadow another kick in the nuts. Why? simple, because we are the Miami Dolphins.

Woe is me.

Columbo has been tremendous. I saw the tape.

soliai has been an mia(missing in action) again this year. not worth 12M we guaranteed him this year. i'd rather have kept frank kearse for the minimum. carolina grabbed him off our PS.

Right on schedule.

Pay should be based on plays. Soliai has not made any plays and that's why the Dolphins are using their heads for once. He is not worth Wilfork money. Wilfork makes plays.
In fact the whole defensive line looks like high school players.

What does it matter who signs and for what this year. Next year there will be all new people in place making all new decisions on players, yet AGAIN. This endless changing of regimes every few years is what makes teams live in the bottom of the NFL. I am not advocating keeping either Ireland or Sparano because there are reasons to dump both but if they keep either I say keep Ireland because at least he has brought in some talent. The debate will take place after a few more losses, but is it Sparano messing up Ireland's talent or is it Sparano not having enough talent to win. I think that he has enough talent to win.

This is actually good news. I don't trust Ireland to be handing out millions of dollars and I don't trust Soliai to earn that kind of money. Heck I don't even trust Dawn Aponte and I don't even know her. The fact that Soliai's making 10% of the entire cap this year is an unadulterated joke. He's not Vince Wilfork and he's most definitely not in the same class as Ngota.

Besides everybody already knows the Dolphins are gonna need a lot of cap room for their first round (top 5, maybe top 3) 2012 draft pick.

Columbo has been tremendous. I saw the tape.

Posted by: Spango | September 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM


All professional athletes should be sign to only 1 year delas. It amazes me how money motivates them to be great then when they get the money back to not producing.

You know what is going to really be bad, is that we are going to be just good enough to not be in the Luck/Jones sweepstakes and will be drafting ANOTHER lineman again this year. LOL. So unless the wheels totally come off we will be drasfting around #10 and miss out on the top QB's AGAIN. I can not take another lineman being drafted.

The guy hasn't done much the first couple of games. Who knows, maybe he's playing not to get inured, so that he can cash in next offseason. Regardless, he will have to step it up if he has any hope to hit the jackpot in the offseason. Jury is still out on this guy and to be honest, I don't really care what they are paying him this year. It's not going to matter. Let's see what he produces on the filed this year before the team commits to him further.

How about this. Let Soliai go. Then get two players that can suck as good as he does.


Soliai has already hit the jackpot. 12 million. That is the high life for him forever. He is set.

solia hasn't shown he's in the same class as anyone on your list this year. He's been very average at best. He's been a disappointment.

Why do we need Olshansky? We have Odrick, Merling & Baker to rotate in for Langford & Starks. Baker spells Soliai.

Mcdaniel won't be out too long which means Olshansky will eventually become the next Larry Johnson. Do we really need to be 3 deep at each end spot? What a waste of space!


Wow, again a clueless fo!

Should have gotten an extension done last season to avoid the $12 million franchise tag. Now they're trying to make Soliai pay for thier mistake.

Solia is guaranteed 12 million. So the fo only wants to make 6 million of a new 3yr extension guaranteed money. For a total including this year's franchise money of 18 million guaranteed.

Dont they realize Soliai is making 12 million guaranteed this season because of thier mistake of not giving him an extension before the deadline last season? I dont blame Soliai for not going for the shenanigans.

Interesting that would go out and sign Olshansky. Curious what that means in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, easy answer is 'he's another reject' or 'the team doesn't know what they are doing'. Fair enough. But they wouldn't make a move like that if they were satisfied with their DL play or perhaps they are looking to move one of the other guys for a pick for next season before week 6. We haven't seen much from Starks or Langford so far this year. Might me see them shopped for a pick that might help next year? In a year when we'll very likely go after a QB early it might not be a bad idea to stock up on picks.

maybe you want to file that missing persons report for everyone on the defense.

they should franchise columbo at the end of the season.

Even if Solia doesnt live up to this season's franchise tag. All fault still falls on this fo. He could have been resigned last year to a multiyear deal of $5 million per season making only $2 million per season guaranteed.

If it were a 4yr deal that means $8 million guaranteed. Even if they ended having to cut him because of performance issues. $8 million guaranteed is $4 million less than the $12 million guaranteed under the franchise tag.

Again, this fo is relatively clueless and seem to be in over thier heads!


this might be the one thing i actually agree with Jeff Ireland on. Solia doesnt deserve the kind of money his agent is asking for. he doesn't even deserve the money he is making this year. What exactly has he done in 2 games? Nothing, which is exactly what he accomplished before his "break out" season last year of 39 tackles. let him walk at the end of the season. I'm sure our new GM will find us someone serviceable.

Phat Paul has got the Dolphins by the Balls!

end of discussion

Great Job Phat Paul!

tee-hee :)

what solai is going to find out is he is going to need to play to the potential of his franchise tag money. if he fails to do so he is going to screw himself out of signing a bit fat contract with ANYONE.

This PT NT/FB spent 70% of the first 2 games standing or sitting (because he has no stamina) on the sidelines. For that, he made $1,5000,00! Who knows what Dawn Aponte and 'Ol Jeff made? Too much.

Meanwhile, teams are blasting up the middle with draws, traps and playing catch for chunk yardage...while Reshad Jones runs around with his d i c k in his hand.

Where's Dansby? Looking slower than Crowder
Where's Crowder's replacement? Engulfed by an OL on every play.
Where's the 'best tandem'? Sitting with the $12 million man. Holding their legs.

How about an 'insider's view' on why this team has by and large quit on their dead man walking HC?

If he thinks he worth all that money, then he better prove it this year. So far, I haven't seen it!

The one thing guys need to realize is a good NT is very important to a good 3-4 defence. He's important because he needs to be able to shut down a good running game. He didn't do anything in the first game is because the Pats didn't run the ball, didn't need to run the ball. Last game was a little different, as the Texans tend to run the ball a little bit more. He played better but not great. When everything is clicking as it should with this defence, good play from the NT tackle is important. Is it $8-12 million important? Well that could be debated. A lot of what happens to Soliai will depend on how he plays the rest of the year and what style of defence the coach wants to play next year.

Now that draft picks don't break the bank anymore, it seems absurd to offer Soliai even "Vince Wilfork money" just because he -finally- showed some promise last season.

If one under-achiever sucks up a huge part of the budget, it's no wonder we're lacking in talent.

Ciao! The way our defense is playing we might not even miss him when he's gone.

Chris makes a good point. If your NT is doing a good job it sure makes Dansby and Burnett's job easier. This two haven't played well in the first two games but part of that has been Soliai's inability to get the job done. Far better to judge Soliai after a few games than the two game sampling so far. He was certainly an important part of this defence last year.

Is there any ex-cowboys waiting in the wings to take his place?

Just like the bounty hunter in the Vin Diesel flick "The Chronicles of Riddick" he should have taken the money. If anything Soliai has proven that not only is he not worth 12 million but he's not worth 8 million a year either. Through the first 2 games Soliai, along with the entire defense, has not played up to his salary.

Let him go...he's not worth that type of money

We should just replace him with a World Champion Sumo Wrestler.

or The Jeff Ireland way... Just get the third string NT from the Cowboys.

Cowher is spelled with an 'h'. Get used to it.

I have to agree with Craig on this one. And I was one who said pay him before the season to shore him up. But Solia didn't play these last 2 games like a guy deserving 12mil. I say wait until the season's over, see what happens, and anyway it won't be Sparano's call, he'll be out of here.

Which brings me to the more important point, Sparano's approval rating is 16% (not a typo) on espn.com (2nd lowest in the league, only to Todd Haley). Like I said earlier, this guy is a dead man walking. He talked the talk before the Season, but he ain't walking the walk.

So, don't get used to Tony on the sidelines this year, I can't see the future, but I can pretty much guarantee Sparano's job here is OVER!

If there is anything + to bring out of this mess is whar DC said in the previous Blog entry. Who really knows how good can all these young Players be if under capable Hands?

Soliai couldn't even hold Haloti Ngatas jockstrap.

I said they should let him test the market. It's sad that I saw this coming.

Cowher and Luck 2012!!!!!

"We're willing to take that gamble and live with whatever happens."

Doing it for the team!

Thats the problem. We need pats like players here. Vince wilfork had years of production before he got that contract and accepted it with the franchise tag money. Solia doesn't want to. He could, but his agent wont let him because he sees millions more he can make.

Its screwed up what agents have done to this game

It's fixable.

Again in reference to the previos entry by Armando(just got back from work), my input on how TS coaching has declined so steeply is that, in his 1st year, Parcells was really the HC, not so much the 2nd year and very, very little the 3rd. None now and consequently, 4-12.

If he wants more money, He should also play RT in place for Colombo.

Anyone right now is better than Colombo.

worst franchise in nfl, soon to change though! come on january!

"The guy hasn't done much the first couple of games. Who knows, maybe he's playing not to get inured, so that he can cash in next offseason.

Thats what i was thinking when we put him in at fb to block at the goal line and his ideal of a block looked like he was just running drills without pads on. He just put his hands up as if he was pass blocking. It was pitiful

Im sorry, you got $12 million bro. You should be diving around the field every game

DC, the sad part is, his departure should have occured last year. It was justified then as much as it is now. People so hell bent on not changing for the sake of changing are beginning to realize how wrong they were.

As evidenced by the fact, nothing has really changed. Same team, same problems, same mess.

We could be headed in a new direction this year. Instead Wake gets a year older, Dansby & Long too. A year potentially being wasted.

Ross needs to protect his investment & see things for what they are. Not for what Sparano & Ireland told them it would be.

Not as many responses to this post........I think people are exhausted of the talk this week. We all really just need the next game.

"He didn't do anything in the first game is because the Pats didn't run the ball


Danny woodhead had almost 70 yards and averaged almost 5 yards a carry

BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged almost 5 yards a carry.

Most of them up the gut.

The texans had almost 160 yards rushing against us

He only has 4 tackles in 2 games and our defense is dead last, it all starts with the
NT doesn't it? Its why we didn't budge on the money. He hasn't even earned his $12 million this year, not even close.

yeah ross looks so dumb in this whole deal. even gave the worst coach in nfl an ext cause of how bad he looked trying to replace him. and just think all he had to do was fire the worst gm in nfl and cowher was here

i say we trade him before anyone realizes hes sucking up this year so far and before hes a fa,

good corners, just let him leave after season. soliai was never good, always been a fat lazy bum. another horrrible move by ireland

For all of Parcell's faults, when he was present, there was some discipline, accountability, and the players demonstrated effort.

When he left, all of that left with him.

What happens in the absence of authority?

Nothing good.

The majority of these players are young, in their mid twenties, and have too much time and money. If you allow them to be distracted, they will be. I know I would be.

Tweet this you punks...It's time to pull up your big boy pants and go to work.

This town needs a new Sheriff.

After a disappointing start to his career, Soliai received a huge contract and is now, well .....disappointing.

If he's now playing to impress his future employers, that might be the best thing for us. Hope he knocks himself out!

Henne is in the last year of his contract and will either get franchised or walk.

Henne is the lowest paid player on the field at any position, any team, starter or backup.

How can your starting QB be making 600k PER SEASON in his 3rd Year as starter?

Yea, and Henne is the one playing his heart out and trying the hardest to win

"How can your starting QB be making 600k PER SEASON in his 3rd Year as starter?"

Because he hasnt had 1 elite season yet, but yeah. Many fans dont realize how little henne was making. Cutting him regardless if he was our starter or not would have been a bad move. At the very very least hes a great back up. But i think hes got more in there than that, and i dont think all our issues are his fault. Hes showing promise this year, more then solia.

I'm still trying to figure out on this blog why people write to Stephen Ross. The guy in another typical millionaire who knows nothing about sports or in this case football. Just another ego maniac to one up his other millionaire friends.

I wish Dan the man could of gotten a group together to buy the team and have him run it.

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