Miami defensive tackle Tim Bowens ended a four-week holdout Thursday when he accepted the Dolphins' tender offer and pledge to work on a long-term agreement.
Bowens, designated Miami's "franchise" player in February, will play for $2.88 million in 1998. Under league rules, the Dolphins had to offer Bowens the average of the five highest-paid players at his position.
"He wants to be part of the team, but now is the time to do it," coach Jimmy Johnson said.
Bowens was scheduled to arrive in camp Friday to begin conditioning. Johnson said he would not be available for Sunday's exhibition at San Francisco, but should be ready for the exhibition finale against Green Bay.
"We'll continue to negotiate as far as a long-term contract," Johnson said Thursday. "I'm confident we can get a long-term contract signed and worked out."
It was less than a week ago that the sides reported no progress in negotiations that left them some $2 million apart.
Bowens had sought a long-term deal worth about $5 million per season, putting him in the range of contracts signed by Carolina's Sean Gilbert and Minnesota's John Randle. Those deals average about $6.5 million.
The Dolphins countered with an offer worth $6.5 million over two years, with the pledge not to put the "franchise" tag on Bowens again.
Johnson said last week that he had given agent Drew Rosenhaus permission to shop Bowens to other teams in a possible trade, but there had been no takers. Rosenhaus said the Dolphins' demand of a front-line player and first-round draft pick scared off potential suitors.
Rosenhaus did not immediately return telephone message seeking comment.
Asked what he thought Bowens' mood would be when he reported Friday, Johnson said: "If somebody put in $3 million and was negotiating to put more in there, I'd be smiling, I know that."
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