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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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Mando is there any talk about playing some 4-3? Mix it in a little at least. I mean I'm in agreement with the board here that Solai has been run over. Haloti Ngata? Vince Wilfork? Those guys make plays- Solia looks like the backup on this team right now. If he thinks he is going to make even starter money next year he better be playing with his hair on fire. Back to the 4-3 argument-we got about twenty DE that could play 4-3 DT and certainly neither Dansby or the other ILB are making any plays.


Jonny, do you put new tires on your car

Post got cut off Jonny! As usual!

or used tires? This team keeps replacing bad tires with those that should retire! This is not against you, but directed to management!

That's the rest of the post Jonny!

I want to know why Columbo hasn't gotten the ax yet...I bet we have someone who can do at the least better that his sorry azzz can do. Columbo is nothing more than an old rusty screen door that lets anyone through without a problem...


I've called him Marc Revolving Door Colombo, or our Oline is like a screen door on a submarine! I agree....

Also...the jury is still out on this one... My question to my fellow night-owls is this... While our new offense appears to be more attack style, is Daboll's scheme really thy much better that what we used to have in old man henning's play vault? We are 0-2 as we all know..Daboll was involved with a permanently horrible team before us..is his system really that much better here...or are we seeing more of the same loosing traditions he was used to at his previous team? Now I realize Henne is no Marino, and Sparano is no Shula, and our players seem to not be playing well or in good game shape but? ...so what gives with this issue guys?



I'm tired of getting cut off

good night!

Read the Greg Cote article, Ross' affirmation that "the team is not holding up their end of the bargain"; in other places, read about the slack of practice intensity placed by Tony on the Team this year. And other things. I will NOT pass judgment on Tony Sparano's actions, for obvious reasons; but it is what I feared most.

From this new perspective(for me), then, for the benefit of all concerned, he should be fired if we lose at Cleveland this weekend.

Dolfdan13 | September 21, 2011 at 11:53 AM

LOL @ Kick in the nuts! gave me a visual I saw in a movie once LOL

Edible is the inevitable.

Here is a stat for those that want to stick with Sparano a few more years:

Dolphins D is dead last in the NFL. They've given up almost 1,000 yards in two games, a little over 30 points a game.

That's funny Freddie, last year all you clowns were on here saying how good our Defense was because of Nolan's coaching and Sparano stayed out of the way. Now we are struggling it's Tonys fault??? Can't have it both ways Bozo

The head coach has to be responsible for the ENTIRE team. If he does not have adequate coordinators, its up to him to replace them. Bozo.

This Paul discussion is ridiculous, we made a huge mistake in paying him 12 mill, he's worth half that, didn't even start the beginning of last year, and has done nothing good for us this year.....

If we best Cleveland, do we really have anything to cheer about? 1-11 at home, sparano and Ireland have created this crap team (especially nfls worst secondary), and after two games we are already two games back....OF EVERYBODY IN OUR DIVISION. not many teams can say that.

How there are still Sparano supporters on this blog is truly mind boggling. The guy is clueless. The results say so and now you have the players like JT coming out and saying practices are a joke.

Sparano can't evaluate talent and never seems to know who should play when and where. Did he really think he would draw Houston offsides on 4th down deep in his own territory? He is an embarrassment.

In April we get Luck with the first pick and a DT in the second round. Problems sovled and you save a ton of cash to be used in free agency.

grudin for coach are you crazy did you not watch the fins pats game grudin has such a man crush on bradey he wold probaly pull our defence so he wouldnt get hurt LOL.

GO DOLPHINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Soliai s a decent player by overall NFL standards, not more than that. He isn't a game changer (as seen in the first two weeks of 2011). The Dolphins need game changers to improve this team; I would argue that they have AT MOST 3 of those types of players (Long, healthy Dansby and B Marshall). Unfortunately, for all of his ability, Marshall has been inconsistent this year (dropping an easy TD in for him in Houst.). Let Big Paul walk after this year, unless they can agree on a longer deal (i.e. no franchise), they cannot afford to sink all of that guaranteed $$ into one position, much less an above average NT.

Larry u r crazy if u think we r going to be worse than kc. They will get luck. We will get nothing, because the qb draft this year is worse than I have ever seen.

And one more thing: I am
Sick and tired of all the haterade thrown marshalls way. He fights, he claws, his yac is the best in the league because he works hard at it, he is hamstringed by three things: a weak supporting cast of receivers, henne, and daboll, and he's still putting up numbers. The more yards u get the more drops u have. Back off, or nothing u say will be of any value.

We will be 7-9, a constant 8-8 team with an 8-8 coach. Because he coaches not to lose. And we will go either 1-4 or 0-5, maybe if we are lucky 2-3 first few games. Again, we are already two games bak of everybody in our division. Pathetic.

F--- Solai!
'Nuff Said.


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