Selected by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Soliai quickly became a cornerstone in the team's 3-4 defensive scheme, sucking up defenders and freeing up room for pass rushers like Jason Taylor and Cameron Wake.
Dolphins Re-Sign NT Soliai
Paul Soliai gets a 2-year deal from Miami after the team declined to place the franchise tag on him
By David Hill
Updated at 8:34 PM EDT on Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012
The Miami Dolphins did not make any headway in the effort to sign a new quarterback on Tuesday, but they did manage to patch up their defensive line. The team re-signed NT Paul Soliai to a two-year deal, according to Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com.
He has not amassed many tackles (just 52 with 2 sacks over the past two seasons), but that was not really his role with the Dolphins. For his efforts, he made the AFC Pro Bowl team after the 2011 season.
Miami placed a franchise tag on Soliai last season, paying him $12.47 million, but declined to do so this year in order to save money under the salary cap. That gambit appears to have paid off, as Soliai will make $12 million over the next two seasons, well below the annual cost of franchising him again.
Soliai had received interest from the Denver Broncos, and was set to visit Denver this week. He had also reportedly been a target of New England, Kansas City and San Francisco.
Miami may switch to a more traditional 4-3 defense in 2012, with Soliai playing the interior along with possibly Randy Starks.
The move leaves Miami with a lot less space against the salary cap. The team might have enough room to sign just one more big-name free agent this offseason, likely a quarterback if either of the team's overtures to Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn are successful.