Soliai signs franchise tender

To little surprise, Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai has opted to accept his franchise tender offer.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Soliai has inked the offer, according to his agent, David Canter.  Soliai will earn $12.381 million guaranteed in 2011.

Soliai has only four years of service.  A year ago, the Dolphins easily could have squatted on Soliai’s rights with a considerably lower — by roughly 75 percent — restricted free agency tender, since the rules of the uncapped year prevented players with four or five years of service from becoming unrestricted free agents.

This year, plenty of teams will apply RFA tenders, if for no reason other than to force the union to make a concession in order to dial the threshold for unrestricted free agency back to its pre-2010 number of four years.  If the union ultimately makes that concession, however, the RFA tenders for players with four or five years of service would likely be invalidated, making the players unrestricted free agents.

Though the union plans to challenge the legitimacy of franchise tenders applied for 2011 in the final days of a labor agreement that doesn’t cover 2011, Soliai had every right to accept the offer, just as other four-year players have done.  In the end, the franchise player salary provides a nice haul, especially since four-year players whose contracts expired in 2010 got far less money via restricted free agency.

UPDATE:  Canter has confirmed to PFT  that the tender has been signed.  He says that the exact amount is $12.476 million.