The Miami Dolphins have made a strange decision to use the transition tag on defensive end Olivier Vernon, which sets up a situation in which the franchise can match any offer, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The #Dolphins have chosen to transition tag DE Olivier Vernon, which gives them the right to match any offer. Interesting choice.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2016
With so many NFL franchises flushed with cash, Miami’s decision sets up what will be an entertaining bidding war for one of the hottest young pass-rushers in the league. The transition tag number is set at $12.7 million for defensive ends, per the NFLPA.
Vernon, at the age of 25, is just starting to come into his own as a dominant player on the edge. He’s a perfect fit in any 4-3 defense in need of an impact defensive end (don’t they all?) and will likely command a high price. In four seasons with Miami, he has collected 29 sacks.
Likely, Miami doesn’t want to overpay and isn’t sure how to value Vernon at this time. Also, it’s likely Veron and his agent have been pressing for much more than what the Dolphins see as feasible.
Whatever the case, general manager Chris Grier is setting himself and the Dolphins up for a scenario in which Vernon’s value skyrockets and he ends up bolting. If this does happen, then Grier will have made a poor choice, indeed. Vernon is a key player for Miami, especially considering the team’s best pass-rusher, Cameron Wake, is 34 years old.