The Miami Dolphins have placed the Transition tag on defensive end Olivier Vernon, per team sources.
The tag means Vernon, who would have become a hot commodity on the open market, will cost the Dolphins $12.7 million in 2016, all of which would be applied against the salary cap.
The move will determine the team’s free agent moves going forward, as Miami doesn’t have a lot of room to maneuver without addressing several impending contracts. The Dolphins want to keep running back Lamar Miller in house, and have several holes in the defensive back seven and offensive line, but unless they are able to negotiate a long-term contract with Vernon, or restructure/cut other contracts, they may not have the room to do so.
Vernon was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, and has 29 sacks in his first four years with the team, including 7.5 in 2015. Those aren’t stellar numbers, but Vernon made the most of his opportunities in his last 10 games, after bookend defensive end Cameron Wake went down with an Achilles injury. Ironically, Wake's contract is one that the Dolphins are looking to restructure.
The Dolphins used the transition tag on tight end Charles Clay last year, who then received an offer from the Buffalo Bills that Miami deemed too steep to match. Should the same situation evolve this year with Vernon, the Dolphins would, as happened with Clay, lose a good player with no compensatory pick.
The Dolphins may be in a better situation this year however, as Vernon has informed the team that he plans to operate in good faith and give the Dolphins every chance to match any offers he receives.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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