As we said earlier today, the Dolphins were very likely going to franchise Randy Starks. Well, moments ago, the Dolphins made it official when they officially placed the franchise tag on Randy Starks. Our story earlier talked about how this move could impact Sean Smith and Jake Long. Both are probably now finished in Miami.
Starks will earn about $8.4 million in 2013 and will return to the ‘teeth’ of the Dolphins defense. It is not ideal for the Dolphins to use $8.4 million on Starks in 2013 because they already have about $6 million devoted to Paul Soliai. That means the Dolphins defensive tackles will account for just over $14 million next season. With the NFL salary cap about to be set at $123 million, that means the Dolphins will have almost 12% of their salary cap space tied up in 2 guys that don’t score touchdowns.
Don’t get me wrong, I was hoping Starks would return. However, the Dolphins must use their new found leverage in this situation to lock him up to a longer term deal, lowering his 2013 cap number. Starks and Soliai are stout on the defensive line and have helped the Dolphins against the run. But, I’d like to see his cap number come down a bit so the Dolphins can sign more weapons on offense…..or even a pass rushing defensive end opposite Cameron Wake.
The Dolphins now have the leverage, with what is sure to be an unhappy Starks, as he can not test free agency now. He”ll be on the Dolphins roster for 2013. Now, it’s time for both sides to come together on a longer term deal that helps both Randy and the Dolphins.