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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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I want Cowher. He took over a 7-9 team & instantly turned it to 11-5. His WORST losing season was 6-10 & only 2 losing seasons on his resume.

Perennial playoff teams
Outstanding regular season teams
Disciplined teams

Yes, it took him awhile to win a ring but he was always in contention. Let's not forget, the team that went to the Superbowl last year & the one that went a few years ago was essentially built under his watch.

Tomlin, a very good coach, inherited a Superbowl quality team. We could do alot worse than Cowher!

henne franchised,looooooooooooooooool. no team, i repeat NO TEAM would ever sign henne to start for them. after this season u will never hear from henne again. he will be holding a clipboard somewhere

I dont know Dusty,

With all of the injuries in the league I could see him getting a chance on one of the lesser teams. Especially with his arm.

That's something Gruden will have to deal with next Jan. when the new Fins HC is sorting through the player roster while watching the Jets & Pats in the playoffs.

That's a lot of dough for a "so/so" player... The front office finally got one right!

Surprise....a player sucks after signing a multi- year multi-million dollar contract.

Every player is in the NFL for the MONEY!

They don't care about how they're portrayed by the press. SHOW ME THE MONEY is a fact in every professional sport today.

...It is a sin that Henne is making $600K while Soliai is making $12M and never touches the football.

For those of you wondering how Yeah! gets his posts in so quick...

He probably has a post bot running. It's basically a program that checks the site for a new blog article every few seconds and then automatically posts the message.

Am I 100% sure? No. But I'm a senior level programmer and I can tell you it's easy to write. The fact that the message is always identical and the fact that he's almost always first (no matter what time in the day or night it it) is a clear indicator to me. The Herald should look into this. They should easily be able to see an outside connection refreshing that page over and over and then ban the IP.

BILL COWHER OR GRUDEN,Which one would you go for?

If Soliai gets $30,000,000 for 4 years, that $29,900,000 more than he's worth.

Henne will be holding a clipboard all right, at his new job on a loading dock or as a purchaser for Staples. The guy is a bum. Matt Barkley or Landry Jones in 2012. We will not blow bad enough to get Luck.

Easily Cowher

Ohio Dolfan

"With all of the injuries in the league I could see him getting a chance on one of the lesser teams."

Rex Grossman is starting for the Redskins, backed up by John Beck, and Collins is playing for the Colts- all three are old. So, yes, Henne would easily play for another team.

Or...we steal Rob Ryan away from the Cowboys and set up a Ryan/Ryan rivalry in the AFC East that will last a decade!

Yeah, Henne will play for another team, the team at Wendy's or McDonalds. His cadence will be: "....would you like to supersize that?"

I'm not saying soliai is worth what he was asking for, I am really not qualified to judge either way. However, this FO signs guys like Bush, Dandby and Burnett to contracts they aren't worthy of and let $3 mil stop them from tying up an important part of their D. Ireland is really lost. This franchise is so backwards, I can't see them ever getting out of the hole they are in. Not only are Sparano and Ireland screwing up this season, they are destroying whatever fragile foundation is left for the franchise. They may be a bad team for the next decade unless Ross steps in now and ends this circus. Sad.


Don't agree that they should let TS finish this Season. We now KNOW that 80% of this Team's present misfortunes lie in Sparano's lack of good coaching. You let this thing go, all hope for us Phinfans will vanish. Besides, players will also regress and be exposed to injury. Fire him now? Not at all. In the bye week.


I think its just Armando doing it, well Im not a nerd so I wouldn't know about bot or what not.

With all the rumors swirling about Ross moving to Dolphins to Los Angeles it makes sense not to sign Soli. New coach, new city, new players. Just makes sense.

When Spumoni gets fired, we should hire Dom DeLoise to coach this team. His football knowledge is probably the equivilant of our "genius" and they actually talk alike. As a matter of fact, I wonder if DeLoise is'nt already coaching this team and nobody was able to tell the difference.

Considering the importance of the NT in a 3-4 defense, I agree that they should have signed him to an extension last year before his value started to rise. Like it or not, Miami will have to overpay him to retain his services and we have no viable replacement.

for 12 millions wh should have had 4 years from this guy...
Ben Tate runs 6ypc against us and we should give him Wilfork's money?
Give us a break, and free us from Ireland please


Who exactly is "swirling" rumors about Ross moving this team to LA, besides a few nitwits on this blog? They are'nt going anywhere. The only thing swirling is me in the coache's toilet boil. Enough with this movement crap.

Of course, Ross is being scrutinized just as TS was.

jake, you're the only one who keeps going on and on about the move to LA. You're becoming a bit of an annoying bore.

Yeah...in order for the team to move to LA, it requires a unanimous vote by all the owners...I don't see it happening anytime soon.

It just occurred to me who Coach Spumoni reminds me of. He is a dead ringer for the show clown in Scarface who gets shot up in that night club scene when Tony Montana gets ambushed by the two Columbians. Think about it. LOL.....LOL. He was probably a stunt double for that guy in the movie. LOl....LOL.

In all fairness to Sparano, Cowher looks and sounds like an inbred village idiot and no one complains about him. C'mon man!

do not resign the lazy fat bum. and henne will hold a clipboard nothing more. call cowher and try to mend fences and tell him how dumb u were not to fire ireland

one minor detail...Cowher wins.


Correction, there are people who complain about Cowher. The other inbred idiots who were not able to breed with him to create more inbred idiots. Check your sources.

I want Jeff Fischer anyway. Heck, I would even take Mike Singletary over the current juggling clown we have.

I like the way Cowher spits when he yells...that would be incentivizing for a player...I would think.

The only name the Dolphins should be contracting is BILL COWHER !!!

We all have seen Vince Wilfork and Paul Soliai played, and Soliai is not Vince Wilfork

The way the NFL is fast becoming the outdoor version of Arena Ball, I would not invest alot of money in players such as Paul Soleai. Running the football is now 1/3 of the offense. When it is run, most of them are draw plays or other plays based of a passing formation. The Nose tackel like the FB will be a thing of the past. Look at New England moving Woolfork to DE and so did Baltimore with their guy. Paying a NT like Soleai much more than a couple of million is crazy. The way the game is played it wont be long where you will have four pass rushers and seven DB before long.

albert...you are correct.
The NFL is becoming an outdoor based arena ball game.
When you put it into that context, and see what Brady has done in the past two weeks I would agree.

Running the ball will always be part of the offensive game planning, but the spread is here to stay and the most important position in the spread is the TRIGGER MAN.

The Triggerman is to the spread offense, what the Pivotman is to a circle jerk, which is what a coach's meeting with the front office for this team must resemble.

If the next head coach decides to go a different direction on defence, we may be playing a 4-3 instead of a 3-4. It's a copycat league! Notice that a lot of teams are scrapping the 3-4 for a 4-3 (New England comes to mind).

why does Mary(aka Mondo) think this guy is so great, we should have let him go and drafted a new nose tackle 2 years ago. He had one good year on a contract year and like his first couple years he's fallen right back to earth. He's an average tackle at best and will be picked up as a second team NT next year and ride the pine for maybe $1.5 million. His agent needs to come back to earth too and be happy he got the franchise tag to begin with.

I wonder who our Pivotman is? Coach Spumoni or Ireland? hmmmmmm.

The only reason the NFL is becoming like the "Arena Ball" some of you guys call it is because the weather is still good. Once the weather changes to 30 degrees with wind or lots of snow you will need a running game.

Plus the only offence that are doing exceptionals are the ones that played together in the same system for a while.

HOME is registered and posting on the Boston Herald
NFL & the Patriots

"Koppen headed to IR" blog

"The Dynasty Be HOME"

Go Dolphins!

See Ya on the Boston Herald Patriots blog

Go Dolphins !!!

It's really a joke that these people make this much money. Who do they think they are the Wall Street Welfare Queens. No one in the NFL should make more than 1 mil. a year if that.


I have been watching Soliai specifically. Seems like a lot of you have been watching the ball more.

What I've been seeing this season is a guy that is getting handled by SINGLE blocks. He's supposed to eat up TWO blockers but many times they OLine can send in ONE guy at him and thats enough.

HE'S JUST NOT THAT GOOD. Seriously. The whole deal of keeping him around was done out of desperation.

I thought I'd see him destroy OLines this year being that he's playing for possibly his biggest contract and so far he's pretty much been as average as you can get. I am sorry, but you dont pay even 7-8 million for 'JUST AVERAGE', and this guy wants more than what Wilfork makes?


Whats Soliai done for the team lately? havent seen him do much, he broke through and stumbled on his feet vs txns.

albert & nhfinsfan:

You are both right on the money. The spread offense is here to stay. The only way you win in this league is with an elite starting QB who can make all the throws and a batch of reliable pass catchers. The feature running back is now pretty much extinct. The position is manned by multiple interchangable backs who rotate in and out.

I would trade the bulk of our draft to get Luck and if not him, make sure we get one of the other elite prospects next year. If whomever we get flames out, you continue drafting or aquiring QBs until you finally hit on one. That is the blueprint in today's game.

The only thing Solai is good at is getting kicked out of all you can eat buffet lines. The guy is barely mediocre.

out of the gates, soliai isnt earning what he's making now. So now he has to go out and prove to the rest of the world he is worth what they are asking.

This is not a lose-lose. The burden of proof is on soliai now.

Let him walk next year. He was a one hit wonder and isn't worth that kind of money. If he'll sign for less, great.....if not...no big loss. He hasn't done @#$% this year. Our run defense up the middle has been horrendous. NT is supposed to the key to that. There are plenty of other NTs that suck and cost less.


I sounds like I'm picking on you....I'm really not. No way this team franchises Henne come next season. Isn't the franchise tag on a QB something like $15 million bucks. Not going to happen. They'll either decide to extend him for a year or two or they'll draft his replacement and let him walk. Chad Henne on his best of days isn't worth $15 million a year. I'm still one of his biggest supporters and even I know that.

what is the front office waiting for? Another ex-Cowboy is available! Sign Bryan McCann!

All you Dolphins fan can go eat a dick!

solia is as good as gone. We'll draft our next nose tackle in the 2nd round next year after we draft our QB in the 1st round. And I hope the man doing the picking is cowher.

Soliai's agent is hoping other teams won't notice how much Soliai's sucking this season.

Wow. Typical Jet fan, commanding others to eat dick.

According to espn.com, Miami, Seattle, KC, and Minn. are realistic contenders for the Luck sweepstake.

I can't believe I'm saying this (so don't hold me to it), but perhaps the best thing Sparano can do now is fall on his sword. Throw the season away, take the heat, set us up for Luck, and walk away with a nice paycheck. Of course, with our luck, we'll go 4-12 and draft an OLineman instead.

Are guys STILL clamouring for Braylon Edwards and Plaxico Burress? I mean Ireland is an idiot for not signing these guys, right? How could he let these guys get away!!...they were going to take us to the promised land...

Braylon Edwards, undergoing knee surgery, out for a while. Plaxico Burress, a big ZERO catches for the Jets last week in there 32-3 win over the Jaguars. He's had 4 catches in one quarter and ZERO in the other seven. Damn!!...we missed out again!

How's Bryant the WR with the Cowboys doing? You know that sure-fired answer to our dreams. What's that?....he didn't play last week? And he was hurt in week 1? How come he keeps getting hurt? Is that on top of his off the field stuff? Ahh....I see.

Guys!! News flash!!! QB is not our problem!!! Forget Andrew Luck!!

They haven't signed him because he's not worth Vince Wilfork money and really has not dominated the position, the way Wilfork does. If anything I would rather pay big money for Starks ... who has proven to be the defensive line's most valuable asset.

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