The Miami Dolphins waiting approximately 24 hours before signing their first free agent. Surprisingly, the first free agent the Dolphins sign, was one of their own. On Wednesday, the Dolphins signed DT Paul Soliai to a 2 year contract worth $12 million with $6 million guaranteed. The deal will cost the Dolphins roughly $4 million against the 2012 salary cap, reducing their cap space to just about $10.4 million.
While Soliai is not a free agent Dolphins fans anticipated, his value to run support in the Dolphins defense is important. Soliai does not have huge stats, but he often occupies 2 blockers, allowing other Dolphins defenders to make plays. It was believed that Soliai would get a much larger contract and that he would not be resigned by the Dolphins because of their reported switch to the 4-3 defense. However, Soliai can play nose tackle in the 3-4 and is agile enough to play defensive tackle in the 4-3. The fact that the Dolphins got Soliai at a good price is great news. Now, the Dolphins can focus on filling other holes on their roster and potentially creating more cap space. Among the candidates for restructuring their contracts are Jake Long, Karlos Dansby, and Yeramiah Bell.
The Dolphins weren’t only concentrating on Soliai. The team hosted RT Eric Winston, DB Richard Marshall, and OL Artis Hicks. None of those players were signed by the team as of this posting. Eric Winston, who would be a solid signing, is off to visit with other teams. Sources close to the Dolphins suggest that the Dolphins ‘low-balled’ their offer to Winston, who is considered one of the best available lineman in free agency. We’ll see what happens, but if the Dolphins want Winston, they will need to raise their contract offer.
As for the 2 QBs the Dolphins are pursuing, neither has signed anywhere else….That’s the good news. The bad news? Peyton Manning visited with the Tennessee Titans and some are suggesting that the Titans are now the front-runner. In fact, Titans owner Bud Adams is reportedly offering Manning post-career benefits (perhaps partial ownership?). Anyway, the Dolphins are considered out of the race by some ‘insiders’. Yet, Jeff Darlington said on Twitter that a source close to Manning said the Dolphins weren’t out of the race ‘at all’, even if ‘they are trailing in the race’.
More bad news….While the Dolphins wait on Manning’s decision, free agency is still going on and they are missing out on other players. Wide receiver, Laurent Robinson, whom the Dolphins wanted to bring in for a meeting, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday. Matt Flynn, whom the Dolphins are interested in, if Manning turns them down, is headed to Seattle to meet with the Seahawks Thursday/Friday. Flynn’s visit to Seattle is of concern because the Seahawks other QB option, Chad Henne, signed with the Jaguars earlier on Wednesday as well. Waiting for Manning could cause the Dolphins to miss out on Flynn and other free agents that are out there. Yet, like us, they continue to wait….