Dolphins won't use franchise tag

Updated: February 19, 2009, 2:49 PM ET
By Tim Graham | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Miami Dolphins will not place the franchise tag on any of their five free agents, head coach Tony Sparano said Thursday.

Changing the culture

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Tony Sparano feels that the 2008 Dolphins have successfully changed the football culture in Miami.

The Dolphins went to the NFL scouting combine with several significant free agents to address. The top two candidates to receive the franchise tag were safety Yeremiah Bell and right tackle Vernon Carey.

Franchise tags are for one year at an average guaranteed salary of the top five highest-paid players at that position. Bell's tag would have been $6.34 million, while Carey's would have been $8.45 million.

Scouts Inc. ranks Bell and Carey the second-best players at their positions in this year's free-agent class.

Bell led the Dolphins with 120 tackles. He also had a sack, three forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.

Carey started all 16 games at right tackle after being switched from the left side to make way for No. 1 pick Jake Long, who went to the Pro Bowl.

Tim Graham covers the AFC East for ESPN.com.

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