Big Deal: Carey Signs Extension

The Dolphins didn't use the franchise tag, but they ensured they would keep one of their potential free agents on Friday when they signed offensive tackle Vernon Carey to a multi-year contract extension.

It's a significant move for the Dolphins, would have been left with a hole to fill at right tackle had they lost Carey.

The signing was expected because the Dolphins clearly had an interest in retaining Carey, who in turn clearly wanted to stay in Miami, where he was born and grew up.

No details on the contract, including the length, were released.

The Dolphins' first-round pick in 2004, Carey has started the last 59 games, including all 16 at right tackle last season.

Carey is a solid tackle with the versatility to play guard, and that combination likely would have made him a hot commodity on the free agent -- particularly after Carolina's Jordan Gross signed a new deal to remain with the Panthers.

The signing of Carey leaves seven Dolphins players who will become unrestricted free agents if they're not signed by next Friday: LB Channing Crowder, SS Yeremiah Bell, CB Andre' Goodman, FS Renaldo Hill, G/C Al Johnson, WR Tab Perry and LB Derek Smith.

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