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'Franchise' Dolphin: Pro Bowl end Taylor

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

MIAMI -- The Dolphins designated defensive end Jason Taylor their franchise player, and released receiver Tony Martin and running back Thurman Thomas.

Taylor, 26, whose 14 1/2 quarterback sacks ranked him fifth in the NFL, was voted to his first Pro Bowl last season.

As a franchise player, Taylor must be paid the average of the five highest-paid players at his position or 20 percent more than he made last year, whichever is greater.

If another team offers more, the Dolphins have the right to match. If they choose not to match, the team that signs Taylor must give Miami two first-round draft picks as compensation.

The average of the five highest-paid players at his position is $5.39-million, according to the NFL players' union.

Martin, 35, caught 26 passes for 393 yards.

"I know that last season was a difficult one for Tony," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "However, he has been a productive player for the Dolphins in the past, and the door is not closed on his possible return."

Thomas, 34, who spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Buffalo Bills before joining the Dolphins in 2000, rushed 28 times for 136 yards and no scores.

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