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Sunday, February 27, 2011
Paul Soliai richest Dolphins defender ever

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- If money is the best way to measure the worth of a player, then nose tackle Paul Soliai is better than Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Sam Madison and Nick Buoniconti in Miami Dolphins history.

Soliai has signed his franchise tag. That means he's guaranteed about $12.5 million for next season, the average of the five highest-paid NFL defensive linemen.

No Dolphins defensive player has come close to making that much money for one season of work.

Soliai's agent, David Canter, tweeted the signing Saturday night.

Soliai is important to the Dolphins' defense because he's a solid 3-4 nose tackle, one of the more premium positions in the game.

But he hasn't been to so much as a Pro Bowl.

Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro this past season. Defensive lineman Randy Starks was a Pro Bowler, too.

Strong safety Yeremiah Bell went to the Pro Bowl two seasons go. The Dolphins made Karlos Dansby the highest-paid inside linebacker at an average of about $8 million a year.

So you have to ask: Where does Soliai rank as the best defender on the Dolphins' current roster?