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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Paul Soliai cashes in with Fins franchise tag

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two years ago, the Miami Dolphins twice suspended nose tackle Paul Soliai one game for an inability to stay in shape during the season.

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Thursday, the Dolphins made Soliai their franchise player.

The Dolphins gave him their franchise tag, a one-year guaranteed contract with an average salary of the five highest-paid players at his position. The franchise figure for a defensive lineman is about $12.4 million.

Soliai's base salary was $550,000 last season.

Soliai emerged as a solid 3-4 nose tackle in place of Jason Ferguson, who retired. Soliai started 13 games. He recorded 39 tackles, including eight for losses. Two of those were sacks. He recovered a fumble.

His agent, David Canter, said Soliai expected to sign the franchise tender "within a couple of days" and would like to work toward a long-term contract.

"He deserves credit for working hard," Canter said. "This is the culmination, the benefits and the reward. Some players view the franchise tag as a punitive thing, but this is a reward. Being named franchise player is something you can always hang your hat on, but with it comes the responsibility to prove you're worth it.

"That's a lot of money."