Tag Time Over

The deadline for teams to use their franchise tag in advance of the 2012 free agency period arrived on Monday at 4 p.m., and perhaps the biggest surprises came when six kicking specialists were tagged. When it came to the Dolphins, though, everything was as expected.

As was predicted as almost a certainty, the Dolphins did not use their franchise tag on any of their scheduled unrestricted free agents.

That means that all of them will be free to sign with any other team as of March 13 unless they have re-signed with the Dolphins before then.

The biggest name among the Dolphins free agents clearly is nose tackle Paul Soliai, who has become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

But tagging Soliai would have cost the Dolphins $15 million for next season, and that's just too much to pay for a player who's not going to be on the field that much as more and more offenses line up with three or four wide receivers.

The other Dolphins free agents come March 13 will be, in alphabetical order, LB Ikaika Alama-Francis, CB Will Allen, G Vernon Carey, T Marc Colombo, QB Chad Henne, DE Kendall Langford, QB J.P. Losman, LB Marvin Mitchell and RB Steve Slaton.

Jason Taylor technically also will be a free agent, but he announced his retirement prior to the 2011 season finale against the Jets.

The Dolphins also will have five restricted free agents — DE Ryan Baker, RB Lex Hilliard, TE Jeron Mastrud, DE Phillip Merling and T Lydon Murtha — but they'll be able to match any offer made to those players.

Around the league, the significant news as it pertains to the Dolphins involved the Green Bay Packers also not using their tag.

That means that quarterback Matt Flynn will be free to sign with any team come March 13.

It's no secret that Flynn might draw a lot of interest from the Dolphins if they can't land Peyton Manning once/if he gets released by the Colts.

There was some thought at one point that the Packers would tag Flynn with the idea of then trading him, but there was a big risk involved there in the event they hadn't been successful in consummating a deal involving the quarterback.