Of Miami's five unrestricted free agents, Carey and safety Yeremiah Bell were the most significant. The Dolphins on Thursday opted not to place the franchise tag on either of them, increasing the likelihood they would hit the open market on Feb. 27.
But the Dolphins locked up Carey less than 24 hours later.
Carey, the 19th overall selection in the 2004 draft, has started 59 straight games for the Dolphins.
He started at right tackle for two years and was moved to the left side for 2007. The Dolphins switched him back last year to make room for No. 1 pick Jake Long, who made the Pro Bowl.
Tim Graham covers the AFC East for ESPN.com.