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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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Andrew Luck is going to come here, of all places, hoist the team on his shoulders, and produce an instant super bowl winner.
Just like Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez have all done.
And let's not forget Romo, Rivers, Orton, Cutler, Schaub. All super bowl winners. They're all going to come here also because they're not under contract and we have such a talented team and wonderful fans.
And there comes the money and salary cap into play again.


Let's just romp on the Brown Stains this Sunday!

Dd

Pittsburgh (the organization) did more for Cowher than he did for them. Getting a job there was the best thing that ever happened to Cowher, and they don't really even miss him.

Bobby, Kinda think that a Regime change might be in order, I Think Sparono is in over his head and Irland is too, Everone needs to know that a new coach(Unless its a promotion from with-in) Will be another 3 or 4 year rebuilding project..., Maybe The Fins coul get Federal money and make this a Reprocloaton project, Maybe they can ask the EPA to disegnate the Davie pratice field as a Super dump, This getting a boatload of $$$$ from The Obama Admin., I mean he's giving away money, so why not???LOL

Bobby D, Ray is frustrated and his comments indicate that. Besides, you're talking about 5 years, we haven't had a consistent winning team since the Shula days, how many years is THAT sir?

Test

Whooohooo!!! Can't wait for Cowher to sprinkle on the magic fairy dust on Luck and produce SuperBowl after SuperBowl!!! It's incredible that some people actually have the ballz to call themselves fans.

Dd

Cuban, YES, another Obama shovel ready project! The Dolphins, you're a genius!

You know I don't usually agree with Greg Cote but his article about Sparano being on the hot seat is right on. The best thing about it was that it was the first article seriously calling Sparano out. Haven't read any articles on that up until now. Most reporters are probably giving him some room because of the tough opening schedule and the new offense but I say he's had enough time. Ross already tried to replace him because he just wasn't good enough. What has changed? He's actually been worse and deserves notice. He went from micromanaging and practicing the guys hard to riding around in a cart and letting the players do their own thing. He listened to the criticisms from Ricky and JT and actually changed but it was for the worse. He should have held his ground and stuck with his plan. He didn't because of a few stories and a few players meaning he allowed other people to change his way of thinking. Leaders stick to their guns. Gotta go. He HAS to win 2 out of the next 3 games to even have a shot at keeping his job through the season.

I been bashing the 3 stooges in here for 4 years so I don't say this lightly.

But with the 1st and 2nd round picks of 2010 and 2011 Ireland got Marshall, Pouncey, Thomas & Odrick. If it turns out that Pouncey leading Thomas up the middle is a legitimate NFL quality offensive weapon then Ireland deserves credit.

BobbyD, it ain't fairy dust, it's LEADERSHIP! TS ain't got it! When you say you don't know it's time to go!!!

Well, I'm hoping for the Dolphins to win, week in and week out, not LOSE so we can go into another rebuild because honestly, this is it for me. I would rather buy Season tickets to the Giants or Broncos and fly up there for 8 games then go through another year of rebuilds. Enough is enough. We are 2 weeks into the season, it's not time for hoping we lose every week so we get a rebuild and some rookie QB who may or may not pan out

Anyway like I said I expect us to run up the score on the Browns.
They're not NE or Houston.

Redsky, if you think the Stadium is empty now, watch what happens if this team goes into another "rebuild". People are not going to renew knowing it will be another 4. -5 year project. I know I won't

If we want to practice the red zone offense we need to practice it often during the game Sunday and get proficient at it so that we can use it in the San Diego game.

Been saying for 3 years now that Tony is not a good coach, Just look at his clock management and his pentance to kick FGs, I became so POd about him kicking the FG being down 21 to 14 I almost lost my mind thinking " Why would this guy be kicking a FG at the 1 when you know it's the Pats and TDs Must be scored..., Sad IMHO..

bobbyd12, I don't agree that there will be another 5 years of rebuilding. IMO this team has the pieces in place to make a few necessary tweaks and become an immediate playoff team. Don't forget they went 1-15 to 11-5 with a coaching change. What could a new coach do with a 7-9 team? Could be better. But I do know that Tony Sparano is not getting better. The evidence is too numerous to write. I'm with you, I understand the want to stick with the same regime for a while and let them build but these guys don't get it. It's not just the guys in here who think that, it's everyone in the league that also questions this guys coaching ability and "nice guy but in over his head has been muttered by players and analysts alike. There's no more hiding it. He has to produce a winning record this season or he should be gone. The players don't even look prepared and seem mentally checked out. Enough already, NO ONE will blame the Dolphins when they fire Sparano.

Redsky thank you

This team havnt done s h it for more than a decade and so what if this team get dismantle, Maybe a real coach and GM might see things this current regime can't see and that is talent!! Some of these players are not impact players... Some are just backup players starting on this team because TS JI think they are starters ( colombo ). Not to mention others! Do you guys think Soliai worth 12 mil a year and 40 mil contract?? TS don't develop players JI don't know how to negotiate contracts over pays average players, just look at the last 4 years! How many impact players have JI brought in that are probowlers Come on how many have made the probowl, Players they sign as free agents, I'm talking about brought here and made the probowl... It looks like they sign free agent players on the down side of there careers! So yes if it takes to dismantle this team to get it right starting with the top to the bottom so be it.... Enough is enough !!!

bobbyd12 Coughlin took over for Fassell who was the Giants 'Sparano'. He brought the team to the playoffs every year and won the superbowl in his 4th season. The Giants didn't "stick" with him in the sense you are talking about. There was constant criticisms from players and reporters. Sound familiar? Sounds just like Tonys time here except we've only been to the playoffs once and have got worse every year since. And now Tony is in his 4th year and there's no way in hell they are even sniffing the playoffs let alone go to a superbowl like Coughlin did. He was on a one year extension that year, tons of pressure, young qb, new RB, and still got the team to the superbowl. Sparano and Coughlin are nothing alike and shouldn't be compared in any way imo.

Th new nfl

Draft and spend all your money on offense. A mediocre defense is all you need because no defense can stop todays offenses if led by a great qb.the name of the game is points so get used to it.

Another one bites the dust

I'll tell you what, Lose in Cleveland and the oven goes from 350 Degrees to Broil, Week after that is San Diago, The fins record on the west coast is not very good, Then it's the Bye-Weekthen It's the Jets.... Dont know about you but 0 and 5 is a possiblility... just saying

Bobby why do you keep saying re-build? Do you think these players are as bad as the 1-15 team that forced Parcells to rebuild when he said he only had two players worth keeping and one of them was the punter? If you do think these players are that bad surely you don't want to keep the guys who picked them do you?

he has to rise his level, cause the way he´s performing, he won´t see that kind of money next year in FA

BobbyD, I know you're a GREAT fan! But we have been rebuilding since Shula/Marino! Let's do it right, these stopgap tweaks don't work!!!!

Sorry Coughlin actually missed the playoffs the year he sat Kurt Warner and let ELI play the rest of the way. He went 1-7 but it payed off because Eli did really well the following year helping to bring the team to a superbowl AND WIN.

Big Paul isn't even worth wilfork money. Can't blame the team here. I'd let him walk too.

Seems to me that the Fins played 2 really good teams, Brady torched em and Shaub burned them too, the big thing is there #2 RB still gained over a 100 yards, Sorry but this Defense isnt that good either.... Again JMHO..I still think 3 and 13 is going to be the record at the end of the year,cant stop the pass, cant stop the run, Still only manage FGs while in the red zone and have a almost non extistance running game..., Did I miss anything????

Devils Advocate, Pittsburg stuck with Cowher for 14 years before he produced a SuperBowl, so I guess they are losers and idiots for sticking with him, huh??

Posted by: bobbyd12 | September 21, 2011 at 08:56 PM

First let me say, I am not a fan of bringing Cowher. However there is no comparison. Cowher had is team in the playoffs for most of his tenure.

The question I have for you is...Can you not see how utterly plain stupid Sparano is? They guy is a total dunce? Your argument for consistency holds no water when you are being led by shear incompetence. We have the dumbest coach in the division, probably the NFL. It makes no sense to stick with him. None. Anybody is worth a try that to stick with someone not remotely qualified for the position.

Canter is an idiot for not accepting the deal.. If Soliai gets injured this year, he would be worth less than what the Dolphins were giving him.

I've always had faith on Soliai, and have been a fan since they drafted him from Utah, but he's not worth all that money.. Not even Wilfork's money... The dude lacks a lot to be making that much money. He's just taking advantage because of the market.

We'll get a cheaper NT, and proven leader and player in next year's free agency.

You'll see, Soliai will regret not convincing his agent to sign that contract..

IN other otes, Soliai should change his name to Waldo.. Have you guys seen Waldo lately?

Soliai is going to bank 12 million dollars this year. Regret is not something Soliai will ever have for as long as he lives.

excuse me, but what has soliai done this year besides miss a block at fullback in the goal line package?

DevilsA, thanks, I appreciate your backing! My feelings as well!!!!

Advocate, Calling Sporono stupid is a insult to stupid people on this blog.... Please use a "PC" Term... Thank you..

Soliai should be gone! But his money is guaranteed! So work his A s s off, then dump him in FA!

Now going back to Bobby

Last year we had a old fart for a offense play caller and so far still the same result in the red zone!! So is it played or coaches??? You see we have talent but not great impact player talents... Right now offensively Marshall when he wants to Reggie at times not a impact player, he was consider a bust in N.O. The other player is big Jake and he is not 100% healthy and not yet in football shape!! So right now who are the other impact players!! Not the ones that might turn into impact players I'm talking about right now!! My point is our chances of being a real good offensive team this year is very low percentage!! Especially OL Right side even worst!!! So who is to blame TS JI
And that's why they have to go!!

the vaunted defensive line has been a sieve.

Sparano has severe and permanent mental deficiencies.

That PC enough?

In other words, he has the intellectual capacity of a can of peas.

Cuban, it's Sparanus! Please get the spelling correct!

Well done Advocate, Sky, The Empress Says "Kneel down, next time you speak her name", Any hooo, Gotta run.., Have a great Nite...

Cuban, wait! Tell the Empress I kneel when thinking of her landing strip! Have a safe night brother!

I think the fins will improve as the year progresses...IMO

100 percent falso bobbyd. u bring in a cowher and a first rd qb that stadium wont be empty next year or even close

This stupid board always cuts off my messages

Sky, BTW, She shaved the entire landing strip...............It's Barren down there.... Peace guys..

if ur team is run by a bunch of retards than it doesnt matter how long u keep them it isnt gonna turn around.

Cuban, you and the Empress are killing me! I kneel and bow to you both, a landing strip should be free of vegetation!

I just read Greg Cote's column

It's right on!

Bkaczor1, I get cut off too, sucks!

Franchise of clowns.


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From Cote:

Sparano did himself no favors after Sunday’s loss when asked how he might explain an NFL worst 1-11 slump in home games.

“I don’t have any answers for it,” he said.

Lil Jimmy = odinseye

Empress, I speak your name at will!!! I kneel to NO man! But occasionally to the right woman, at the appropriate time, with the properly groomed landing strip!

Can't resign one of best players , can't win at home, sign yet more Cowboys cast off rubbish, stadium 2/3'rds empty......
If this isnt time for the useless Sparano and Ireland to go (and stop wrecking the Fins) then when is???????
Show u have some 'balls' Ross... Fire them!!!

Agreed, Soliai has not done anything this year. The defense is giving up huge yardage on the ground and through the air. He got his money this year. Time to produce. For that kind of money he should be haunting QB's and stuffing the run. Neither has happened!

This team is so disfuntional right now it's difficult to tell where the main problems are. The right side of the O line is terrible for sure, but a decent coach could correct alot of the other problems. If the O line keeps playing this lousy, it will be difficult to determine if Henne is improving or not. He's getting hit so much and having dropped balls so its difficult to judge. BTW wasn't ou HC supposed to be an O Line expert?

Tony, just to remind you, if we go 0-3, you will have to come in for your appointment first thing Monday morning. Good luck.

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