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Dolphins designate Olivier Vernon with transition tag

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On tag deadline day in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins have made their play with defensive end Olivier Vernon.

The Dolphins placed the transition tag on Vernon on Tuesday. NFL Media Insider Rand Getlin first reported the news. The tag is worth $12.734 million.

The transition tag is a one-year tender offer that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another team. The original club does not receive compensation if they do not choose to match an outside offer.

Vernon is ranked No. 2 on Around The NFL's Top 99 Free Agents list.

This is the second consecutive year the Dolphins have used the transition tag. The team placed the designation on tight end Charles Clay last year, then watched him sign a lucrative offer sheet with the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins decided not to match Buffalo's offer.

The Bills vastly overpaid for Clay's services, and the Dolphins' decision on Tuesday presents the possibility that the same thing can happen with Vernon. Of course, the Dolphins could also just end up having another team do their work for them, matching any offer for Vernon and keeping the talented pass rusher in-house.

Still, it's a surprising move for the Dolphins, who are leaving the door open for a key defection. Maybe these are just the types of hard decisions a team has to make when it gives all of its damn money to Ndamukong Suh.

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