The Dolphins used their franchise tag on nose tackle Paul Soliai last season, but it doesn’t look like it will happen twice.
With a $15 million salary attached to tagging Soliai again this season, the Dolphins would be giving up most of their cap room to assure themselves of another season with Soliai in the middle of their defensive line. They would still be able to sign him to a long-term deal that would free up some of the space, but Soliai might sign the tender immediately and leave the team hamstrung in their search for a quarterback. That’s too big a risk.
In comments to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Soliai’s agent David Canter said that the player’s first choice is to remain in Miami.
“I was told that the team will make a push to keep Paul. I remain confident that that will be the case. If not, they know there will be significant interest in the marketplace for Paul,” said Canter. “Soliai has said time and time again that he’d love to remain a Dolphin, but that isn’t up to us.”
Despite those wishes, the lack of a tag likely signals Soliai will hit free agency. The market for guys who can plug a hole like Soliai is always strong and it would make no sense for him to give up the chance at seeing what other teams will offer by signing a deal with the Dolphins before March 13th.