Paul Soliai cashes in with Fins franchise tag

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.

lastnameSoliaiThursday, 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."