MIAMI DOLPHINS TRANSITION TAG DE OLIVIER VERNON
Today the Miami Dolphins applied the transition tag to defensive end Olivier Vernon. This means that the Dolphins will have the opportunity to match any offer Vernon receives to retain him, but if they lose him they will get nothing in return. Miami used the same tag last year on tight end Charles Clay, but lost out when the team would not match the Buffalo Bills offer.
So what does this mean for the Miami Dolphins this offseason? Well a great deal depends on what happens with Vernon. Vernon came on strong the last eight games of the season and established himself as one of the top pass rushers in the league. However, the Dolphins must have felt that there was cause for some hesitation because they did not place the franchise tag on him. Perhaps it may be they are giving credit to Ndomukong Suh for some of his success as many times Vernon was matched up one one while the opposing guards helped out on double teaming Suh. Or it may be the fact that in four of the last eight games that Vernon played so well in he was matched up against tackles who were back-ups. Then there is always the aspect of dumb penalties, and mistakes on the field that seem to flare up and hurt the team. Put it all together and the team probably got it right. They value the guy, want to keep him, but want to make sure they are not overextending on yet one more contract.
If Vernon leaves, then that changes the offseason agenda somewhat. The team still has to make defensive back, linebacker and offensive line a priority. But now a pass rushing defensive end has to come from somewhere. Maybe free agency? Later draft rounds? Perhaps. Or maybe the team just sits pat with Cam Wake and Derrick Shelby. There is still plenty of time to see how this plays out, but expect there to be plenty of interest in Olivia Vernon. Pass rushers are at a premium in today's NFL and there are some teams on the upswing that would love to add his production. To keep him Miami will have to pay. Question is how much?