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Miami Dolphins franchise tag history

Carolina Panthers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The NFL’s deadline for teams to place a franchise/transition tag on a player with an expiring contract is this Tuesday. There is some talk that the league could push that deadline back as the NFL and NFL Players Association continue to negotiate the official salary cap for 2021, but as of now it is still scheduled for Tuesday. It comes just over a week before free agency is set to begin, and, other than some last minute contract extensions, is the last real event before the new league year begins and players start moving between teams.

The Miami Dolphins are not likely to use a tag this year, but they have a history of using them. They have been placed on players to create a trade opportunity. They have been placed on players to lead to a contract extension. And they have been placed on players and then revoked.

Here is a look back at the Dolphins’ use of the franchise/transition tag since it was introduced in the 1993 collective bargaining agreement:

2020/2019 - No tag used.


2018 - Jarvis Landry, wide receiver - $16.2 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on Landry so they would be able to get compensation for him in a trade. He was coming off a season in which he led the league in receptions (112) and had been selected to his third Pro Bowl. Landry’s 400 receptions in his first four seasons were the most by a receiver in league history, demolishing the previous mark by Anquan Boldin, who caught 342 in his first four years. The Dolphins traded Landry to the Cleveland Browns a couple of weeks after the tag was placed on him, receiving a 2018 fourth-round draft pick and a 2019 seventh-round selection.

Miami used the fourth-round pick on tight end Durham Smythe and the seventh-round selection on running back Myles Gaskin.


2017 - No tag used


2016 - Olivier Vernon, defensive end - $12.7 million (transition tag)

Vernon spent his first four seasons with Miami, working his way from a rotational player his rookie year to a starter for 2017 through 2019. During his Dolphins career, he recorded 196 tackles, 29 sacks, and four forced fumbles. The Dolphins placed the transition tag on Vernon, giving them the right to match any offer he received from another team, but then rescinded it when they signed Mario Williams as a free agent. Vernon went on to sign a five-year contract with the New York Giants, then was included in a trade in 2019, sending him and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., to the Cleveland Browns.


2015 - Charles Clay, tight end - $7.07 million (transition tag)

Clay began his career with the Dolphins, playing the 2011 through 2014 seasons in Miami. He began his career primarily as an H-back for the Dolphins, working as a fullback for most of his rookie season. He took over as the starting tight end in 2013 and held the role in 2014. He recorded 161 receptions for 1,809 yards with 14 touchdowns with Miami. After the Dolphins placed the transition tag on Clay, he agreed to a five-year, $38 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins declined to match the contract, and Clay moved to the Bills, where he played from 2015 through 2018. He was released after the 2018 season, joining the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year contract for 2019.


2014 - No tag used


2013 - Randy Starks, defensive tackle - $8.45 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

Starks began his career with the Tennessee Titans before joining Miami in 2008 as a free agent. He played seven years for Miami, working all along the defensive line, including nose tackle, defensive tackle, and defensive end. He was selected to the 2010 and 2012 Pro Bowls at the end of his initial five-year deal with Miami. The team placed the franchise tag on Starks for the 2013 season, then signed him to a two-year contract before the 2014 season. The team released him after one year on that deal, with Starks signing with the Cleveland Browns, where he played the 2015 season. He recorded 253 tackles, 30.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, 16 passes defensed, and four interceptions during his time with the Dolphins.


2012 - No tag used


2011 - Paul Soliai, defensive tackle - $12.5 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

Soliai was a fourth-round pick by Miami in 2007, ultimately serving as the team’s nose tackle for seven seasons before two years with the Atlanta Falcons and a final year with the Carolina Panthers in 2016. As he was coming off his rookie contract, Soliai was a Pro Bowl selection after the 2010 season, with Miami then placing the franchise tag on him. He played 2011 on the tag before signing a two-year contract with the team for the 2012-2013 seasons. With Miami, he recorded 160 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 12 passes defensed.


2002-2010 - No tag used


2001 - Jason Taylor, defensive end - $5.39 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

Taylor joined the Dolphins in 1997 as a third-round pick. As the 2000 season ended, Taylor was coming off a one-year restricted free agent tender and was scheduled to hit free agency. Miami and Taylor were close to a new contract heading into 2001, but the franchise tag deadline arrived and they did not want to risk losing Taylor in free agency, so they applied the tag. The two sides finished the negotiations that summer and Taylor signed a new six-year contract without ever actually playing on the tag. He finished his career with 709 tackles, 131 sacks, 44 forced fumbles, 29 fumble recoveries with an NFL record six touchdowns, eight interceptions with three touchdowns, and 79 passes defensed for Miami. With Miami, he was selected to six Pro Bowls, was a three-time First-Team All-Pro, a one-time Second-Team All-Pro, led the league in sacks in 2002, was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2007. He also played two years not in South Florida, spending the 2008 season with the Washington Football Team and the 2010 season with the New York Jets. Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.


1999 and 2000 - Richmond Webb, offensive tackle - $3.45 million/$4.14 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

Webb is the only player from Miami to get the tag twice. After being a first-round draft pick in 1990, Webb locked down the left tackle spot for 11 seasons with the Dolphins, with seven-straight Pro Bowl selections to start his career. He was also a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection and a two-time Second-Team All-Pro selection. His final two seasons with Miami, 1999 and 2000, were both played on the franchise tag. He spent two seasons after that with the Cincinnati Bengals.


1998 - Tim Bowens, defensive tackle - $2.88 million (non-exclusive franchise tag)

Bowens was the first player to receive a tag from the Dolphins following the 1993 collective bargaining agreement. A first-round pick by Miami in 1994, Bowens spent his entire career with the Dolphins, playing 11 seasons. He recorded 407 tackles with 22 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and an interception, with two Pro Bowl selections and was named the 1994 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Coming into the 1998 offseason, Bowens was looking for a new long-term contract, but no agreement was reached and the Dolphins applied the tag. Bowens did not sign the tag’s tender and held out into training camp, eventually reporting as negotiations resumed on a new deal. He signed a new five-year contact (with a player option for the final two years, which he would ultimately use to get a new deal) that summer and did not play on the tag.


1993-1997 - No tag used