USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins today utilized the franchise tag, keeping Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks with the team through 2013. The tag will pay Starks $8.45 million guaranteed for the season.
The Dolphins have franchised DL Randy Starks, as expected.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 4, 2013
The Miami Dolphins, for just the second time under General Manager Jeff Ireland, have used the franchise tag, locking in one of their own potential free agents for one season. After using the tag on defensive tackle Paul Soliai in 2011, the Dolphins again use it on a defensive tackle, this time on Randy Starks.
The tag means the Dolphins will pay Starks a fully guaranteed $8.45 million for this season, unless a long term deal can be reached. The two sides have until July 15 to come to terms on that long term contract, or else Starks will play the year under the franchise tender.
Starks joined the Dolphins in 2008 after four years with the Tennessee Titans. Since arriving in Miami, Starks has split time between defensive end and defensive tackle, making a Pro Bowl at each position (2010 defensive end, 2012 defensive tackle). He has started 67 games for the Dolphins in five years, playing in all 80 since his arrival. Starks has 22 sacks while with Miami, four interceptions, and 175 tackles.
Starks tweeted yesterday that he wants to stay with the team and "not just for one more year." Now the work will begin to re-sign Starks to a long term deal, which could help the team lower his salary cap number, while giving Starks the long term security in Miami he wants.
The Dolphins have until Friday to work out new contracts with their other potential free agents including wide receiver Brian Hartline, running back Reggie Bush, cornerback Sean Smith, and tackle Jake Long. After Friday, fee agents can begin negotiations with new teams, and can sign contracts on March 12.