For the second straight year, a former No. 1 overall pick is going to be so pricey to his franchise that he could wind up leaving the team.
Because Long's salary-cap number this season is higher than the franchise number for offensive linemen, the Dolphins would have to franchise him at 120 percent of this year's salary. Thus, his franchise tag would be $15,365,952, according to league sources.
Because the number is so high, some around the league believe the Dolphins cannot afford to tag Long and that he will be able to test the free-agent market, just as Williams did last season.
The Dolphins have attempted, unsuccessfully, to sign Long before he can hit the market and leave Miami.
Long suffered a triceps injury in Sunday's loss to the Patriots. Tests will be conducted to see how long he will be out.
"He has been an excellent leader. He's a valued member of the offense. However, injuries occur with every team. Ours is no different," coach Joe Philbin said Monday.
Long has missed only two games in five NFL seasons. He was chosen a Pro Bowl starter each of the past three years and was a front-runner to be selected this year.
"He has been a good player for a long time, and he's the leader on the offense," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "So it's tough to replace him."
Even so, Long has become a less dominant blocker as his injuries accumulate. He was slowed by an ankle injury as a rookie and hurt his shoulder in 2010. Last year he battled back trouble, then missed the final game with a torn right biceps. He missed practice time this season because of a right knee injury.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.