The Miami Dolphins placed the transition tag on Olivier Vernon on Tuesday which will give the team a contract matching opportunity.
The tag used by Miami is the same one it used last year on Charles Clay. In the end, the Dolphins opted not to match Clay's offer from Buffalo and he was lost. Vernon is a key part of Miami's defense and the team is likely to try and match an offer if at all possible.
The move by Miami is risky, because other teams with more cap space could opt to overpay for Vernon's services. This would leave the Dolphins with little recourse and could result in being financially unable to match an offer. Miami could have avoided this scenario if it franchise tagged Vernon instead. That tag however comes at an extra cost of roughly $3 million.
If Miami does not match an offer sheet on Vernon, it would receive no compensation. The Dolphins would essentially lose one of their biggest defenders for nothing which is a scenario that is frowned upon. With a franchise tag on Vernon, the team could have opened trade discussions if it was unable to work out a long-term deal.
Since being drafted out of the University of Miami in 2012, Vernon has been heavily involved in Miami's plays. The 25-year old has already been AFC Special Teams Player of the Week and AFC Defensive Player of the Week in his young career. Losing Vernon would have an adverse and immediate effect on a team that showed progress at times in 2015.
Vernon's career totals include 29 sacks, 194 tackles and four forced fumbles. Part of the problem with losing an impact player such as Vernon is the adverse effect it has on those around him. Other players will get more focus from the opposition and the overall production of Miami's defense could decrease significantly.
Miami will have five days to match an offer that Vernon receives on the open market. It remains to be seen which teams may have an interest in Vernon now that he has been made available.