In their contract negotiations with Olivier Vernon, the Dolphins really have only one bit of leverage — but it’s a big one: the franchise tag.
The real power is in the threat of using the tag, which would be a one-year, $15 million tender that would keep Vernon from hitting the open market on March 9.
So not surprisingly, Mike Tannenbaum didn’t seem inclined to give away that bargaining chip when meeting with reporters on Wednesday.
“We have options and so does he,” Tannenbaum said. “We haven't made any decisions. We have a deadline coming up in another handful of days. We haven't made any decisions. We're just looking at options.”
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The deadline for using the tag on a player is March 1. When asked if he expects Vernon to even be available to other teams in free agency, Tannenbaum responded:
“Again, we'll see. We have a few more days. We haven't finalized anything. We'll keep kicking around things. I'm sure we'll see his agent [David Canter] at some point and go from there.”
The Dolphins have also expressed interest in keeping running back Lamar Miller, also due to hit free agency.
Is Tannenbaum optimistic about getting a deal done?
“I'm an optimistic person by nature,” he responded. “... We'll see what happens. We've done a lot of deals with his agent over the years. Lamar is another homegrown talent. A great guy off the field. We'll see what happens.
▪ Tannenbaum had praise for defensive end Derrick Shelby, whom Tannenbaum said “played hurt, played the whole year.”