Hours after GM Jeff Ireland said NT Paul Soliai is a "big need," the Dolphins put the franchise tag on the fourth-year player.
The tag comes just as the window to tag players closes on Thursday. Soliai had a career year in 2010, starting 14 games for the Dolphins. As the nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme, Soliai had 39 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Soliai will get paid $12.5 million for the 2011 season, the average of the five highest-paid players at the position. His salary in 2010 was $467,000.
"Hopefully this leads to the long-term extension we want," Soliai's agent, David Canter, said on his Twitter.
The way we see it
With all of the depth on the defensive line, it didn't appear Soliai would be worthy of the franchise tag. But he is exactly what the team needs in a 3-4 nose tackle, helping the team's seventh-ranked rushing defense. Soliai wanted to stay in Miami but was willing to go elsewhere if they didn't pay up. It's a big move by Ireland but shows the team respects what Soliai brings to that defensive line.
Also, with RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams likely going elsewhere, Soliai became the team's top priority in free agency. The tag keeps him in Miami and gives him a giant pay raise. With Soliai getting the tag, DL Tony McDaniel will likely have a new team in 2011.