Dolphins Sign Soliai And Marshall

Posted Mar 15, 2012

It is no secret that the Miami Dolphins front office likes to go about its business quietly, so even though other than Tuesday’s Brandon Marshall trade not much noise has come out of Davie, things are beginning to pick up.


The Dolphins signed their Pro Bowl nose tackle, Paul Soliai, to a new contract today and avoided losing him to free agency. They also added free agent cornerback Richard Marshall, who registered 78 tackles (69 solo) and intercepted three passes last season for Arizona. In fact, he has recorded three or more interceptions in five of his six NFL seasons.

But Soliai’s signing is the big news for Miami as it removed the player considered by many to be the top remaining defensive tackle from the market. He gets to stay with the team that drafted him back in 2007 in the fourth round (108th overall) and build on his 2011 season.

The 6-foot-4, 355-pound Soliai has appeared in 68 games in his career with 31 starts. Last season, he played in all 16 games for the Dolphins with 12 starts and recorded 27 tackles, including two for losses, two passes defensed and one quarterback pressure. During his five-year career in Miami, Soliai has totaled 97 tackles, five passes defensed, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while anchoring one of the NFL's most stout defensive lines against the run.

“It’s huge for us because Paul’s a huge anchor for the defense, especially the D-line,” said Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, who is entering his second season in Miami. “I think anybody watching him knows he wreaks a lot of havoc in that middle, so we definitely need a guy like him. His presence is huge up front for us and he’s a big reason why our defense was successful last year and especially with stopping the run game. I don’t want to have to run against Paul Soliai; in practice yes, but in games on Sundays, no.”

Dolphins left guard Richie Incognito shares the same sentiments as Bush.

“I’m really happy to have Paul on our side,” Incognito said. “Paul’s a great asset to our team as well as the defensive line and playing with him, that’s a guy you want on your team. He’s a really nice guy, I really like being around him and I think it’s a huge addition for our team. He’s part of the foundation of this team and better to have him with us than against us. It’s nice to get good work against Paul in practice because you know if you’re practicing against Paul you’re practicing against one of the best in the league.”

In Marshall’s six NFL seasons (one in Arizona) he has intercepted 17 passes, recovered seven fumbles while forcing three and recorded 501 tackles (435 solo). The former Fresno State star, who was selected in the second round (58th overall) by the Carolina Panthers in 2006, exceeded 80 tackles four times and has made 54 starts in 96 career games.

Marshall, who is versatile enough to play safety as well as cornerback, was a teammate of current Dolphins safety Tyrone Culver at Fresno State and started 28 of 37 games over his college career. He totaled 176 tackles, nine interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns, 22 passes defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. The 27-year-old Los Angeles native attended Locke High School, where he made 62 tackles and added three interceptions as a senior.

“It’s an up and coming team. The defense is a great, young defense that played well last year and it was about the best fit for me as far as defense and then the best move for me and my family,” Wallace said in a conference call with the South Florida media. “I haven’t talked to any of my new teammates yet other than Tyrone Culver, who I know from Fresno State, but we were talking about old college stuff and then he had to run and I had to go talk to some of the coaches.”

The NFL Network voted a play by Marshall as the “Number 1 play of the 2008 preseason”. The play involved Marshall intercepting a fake field goal flick from the holder to the kicker and running it back for a touchdown.

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