The Miami Dolphins have released defensive tackle Randy Starks, ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting. Starks was scheduled to be a $6 million cap hit for Miami, but will now provide $5 million in relief.
Since joining the Dolphins for the 2009 season, Starks has been a key part of the defensive line. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2010 as a 3-4 defensive end, then was again selected in 2012 as a 4-3 defensive tackle. He had played every game since joining Miami until he was forced to miss the team's game in London this past season due to a back injury, a stretch of 99 straight games played. In seven years with the Dolphins, Starks has played 111 games, starting 96 of them, with 30. 5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 16 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 4 fumble recoveries, and 153 tackles.
The Dolphins' run defense disappeared late in the year, with teams able to run straight up the middle of the defense. That used to be Starks' strength, and it is at least concerning that he was not able to stop it. That, along with the need for salary cap space this offseason, ultimately led to Starks' release.