When it comes to defensive tackles, the 2013 Miami Dolphins seem pretty well set. They have a pair of Pro Bowlers in Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, while defensive end Jared Odrick could be looking to move back to his college position, and the team still has developing tackle Kheeston Randall. However, when 2014 rolls around, the team could look very different up the middle. Miami seems to be okay with that thought for now.
Both Soliai and Starks are scheduled to be free agents after this season. They have both been hit with the franchise tag in their careers, this season for Starks and in 2011 for Soliai. According to the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, a second franchise tag would guarantee either player a 20% increase over his previous year's salary - with Soliai's number being based on the franchise tag salary, since that is higher. That means, for Miami to franchise tag either one of their two starting defensive tackles, it would cost the team a little over $10 million.
Of course, the Dolphins could sign either Soliai or Starks, or both, to contract extensions. That does not seem likely, however, as neither player has been offered any sort of deal from the Dolphins since the NFL's 2013 free agency period began back in March, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
While Miami could open negotiations with Soliai any time during the season, a deal with Starks has to be completed by July 15, according to NFL rules, or he must play out the season on the franchise tag.
Speculation seems to say that the Dolphins are content to let both players finish their current contracts, then they will approach one about returning in 2014. While Starks was tagged in order to keep the chemistry of the defensive line intact, and to make sure the Dolphins continue to have the pressure up the middle from the two Pro Bowlers, 2013 could also become a competition between the two players, as whomever plays the best will likely have the inside track to a new contract from Miami.
The Dolphins' focus currently is on trying to sign free agent fullback Vonta Leach, who is deciding between Miami, the Houston Texans, New York Giants, and Baltimore Ravens. Miami also has yet to sign first round draft pick Dion Jordan, and will likely look to open extension negotiations with safety Reshad Jones at some point.