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Where (if anywhere) the Miami franchise tag belongs

Monday was the first day NFL teams could designate any of their own unrestricted free agents with the Franchise tag. The Dolphins did not use the tag Monday but perhaps they might use it in coming days or weeks.

And whom the Dolphins might opt to use the Franchise tag on (if anyone) is up for debate, depending on what media outlet you subscribe to. If you subscribe to the Salguero media outlet, you don't know whether the Dolphins will use the tag or not.

But you know for certain it will not be on cornerback Sean Smith.

I've said it. Repeated it. Yelled it from the highest mountains multiple times even as other outfits are saying otherwise. Again, one last time, the Dolphins do not currently plan to use the franchise tag on Sean Smith.

Having said that, there are other options:

Jake Long.

Randy Starks.

Brian Hartline.

Reggie Bush.

Chris Clemons.

Okay, so there are options but only one or two are even within the realm of logic and only one seems financially feasible.

It's not Brian Hartline. Why pay him $10.3 million guaranteed for one year when you can get him right now for $18 million over three years and maybe less? It's not Reggie Bush. The Dolphins are in take-it-or-leave-it mode with Bush. He'll be able to sign with Miami at a bargain or test the market -- up to him.

Chris Clemons, meanwhile, would be cheaper to get in a multi-year deal but if not, the draft has plenty of good safeties.

Jake Long? How many times do we have to go over this? The Dolphins want him. And he wants to play for Miami. But he also wants a truckload of cash while the Dolphins want to minimize the risk of paying him big money and getting an injury-prone, diminishing player in return. Yes, that is the reason signing him to a one-year deal is borderline logical. It keeps him in Miami's uniform. It does not create another need for the team.

But it costs. Tag rules say a player must pay the average of the top 10 salaries at a position or 120 percent of the player's final contract year salary, whichever is higher. For Long that means 120 percent of $12.8 million cap number from 2012. That means Miami would have to commit $15.36 million to Long and knock that amount off its salary cap space.

The Dolphins can afford it. They have more salary cap space saved for the start of the 2013 league year than every NFL team save the Bengals and Cleveland Browns. (Wow, that's an amazing sentence to write.)

The Dolphins have approximately $44.9 million, barring signing of their own free agents.

But are the Dolphins willing to use around 29 percent of the cap space they've worked to save on Jake Long? In a year offensive tackles are plentiful in the draft and free agency? That would be a hard pill to swallow. And what if that glut of talent on the market drives the price down on Long? It's a good bet the team might want to take.

That brings us to Starks. He would cost the Dolphins approximately $8.3 million to franchise. Yes, that is also a steep, steep number. But consider that Miami tagged Paul Soliai two years ago for $12 million and it seems like something of a bargain.

Starks is a more complete player than Soliai and more decorated because he's been to the Pro Bowl two of the last three years and at two different positions. He's not a player the Dolphins should want to lose.

But when you consider Starks wants around $8-$10 million per year on a long-term deal, paying the low end of that for one year seems plausible when you also consider everything.

What are the considerations? Well, Starks did fade at the end of the season. It was probably partically due to the fact he missed multiple weeks of practice and was troubled personally by the passing of a loved one, but there's no surety in that. It could also be something else. Starks also will be 30 this coming season. That's around the time some interior line players start to fight injuries.

So if the Dolphins are unsure about Starks' age, if they are worried about his late-season drop in productivity but are also concerned about losing a valuable player to free agency and adding another item to their list of needs, then they might have to seriously consider the franchise tag.

The tag keeps Starks in Miami. It is used on a good player. It is used to protect the team against losing a player but also against committing too long a contract to that player.

Things to consider.

Comments

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Hey Mando ... any chance that the Dolphins might try for Ezekiel 'Ziggy' Ansah at #12? Seems like a beast and one of the few real game-changers that will be in the draft. Or will other teams take him first?

FYI, agree completely on Keller. Would love to see him and Fasano work together.

I just heard that Da'Quan Bowers got arrested for bringing a loaded .45 in his carry on at the airport.
I wonder what he scored on his Wonderlic? LMFAO!

Oh, the answer to Armando's post his heeeellllllll Naaaah! None of those guys worth a Tag. Long is breaking down faster than Carnival Cruise Liners and Randy Starks won't be too far behind. Hartline is good but not elite and Sean Smith can't catch or tackle at all, and on a bad day he can't cover also! Do I even need to get into Clemons? He is backup /special team material.

dont tag anyone, offer Starx a respectable contract around 5-6 mil. If he walks, let him. He is 30.

DT is deep in the draft and we could get a decent one in 6th/7th round. Move Odrick inside and draft a DE.

Sign Long to a 4 year deal where you are protected against serious injury the last 2 years for 10 mil avg. Long will work his way back into this system. He is a leader.

Trade down and draft Tyler Eifert. There is your better blocking on OL and great jump ball in the end zone and split him out. Worth more day one than any cordarelle patterson who would take a full year to really blossom.

Good post gman. I respect your viewpoint. However I still think retooling our offensive line is priority in the draft. We can take a WR or TE in rds 2-7 but I'd rather get some proven vets at skill positions in FA

Armando,

Perhaps I'm missing something but I believe that to franchise Matt Moore is the best option. What happens if Tannehill either gets hurt or is not the QB the Dolphins expect him to be. His numbers were not great although the excuse would be that he did not have enough playmakers. Well Matt Moore was the 12th best passer in the league with Colombo at RT. He was the Dolphins most valuable player. Then he lost his job to a rookie who was familiar with the offense and the offensive coordinator. He would not cost that much and would buy time until it's certain that Tannehill is the QB they expect him to be. It would be a one year insurance plan that the Dolphins have a franchise QB in Ryan Tannehill. Smith and Long are not worth the tag number and Bush is on the out because Miller is his replacement. Starks is getting old, Hartline should be affordable and a player to keep. Clemons is also affordable.

Starks is not better than Soliai.

Franchise your back up QB that wants to be starter? No under any circumstance. This QB issue will be resolved in time to make a better decision then franchising back up players.

I wouldn't franchise anyone on the team except Cam and Pouncey. Maybe Jones in the near future if he continues to progress.

Well the average of the top ten QB's in the league may make Moore not affordable to Franchise. He may choose to take a home town discount even though he would be a back up. Does he really want a Franchise like Cleveland?

STARKS IS A TWO TIME PRO BOWLER AND ONE OF THE BEST TACKELS IN THE LEAGUE.

I WOULD SIGN HIM LONG TERM AND WITH THAT I MEAN 3 YEARS.

IF NEEDED I WOULD TAG HIM OVER ANYBODY

ODRICK CANNOT DO WHAT STARKS DO OR ODRICK WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE PRO BOWL.

EVERYONE CLAIMS WE NEED ANOTHER DE.

I AGREE BUT AS A BACK UP.

VERNON SHOWED HE CAN HANDLE IT. HE's THE FUTURE.

HARTLINE SUCKS LET HIM GO.

BETWEEN F.A AND ROOKIES COMING IN HE's NOT IN MY TOP 10

FASANO IS OK AT BEST. ROOKIE TEs ARE SLOW AND REMIND ME OF FASANO.

I WILL NOT DRAFT A TE BUT I WILL GET ONE OR TWO IN THE F.A.

LONG MAYBE.

HE WAS OUR #1 PICK AND BEING WE TOOK HIM OVER RYAN I THINK WE NEED TO TRY TO WORK IT OUT.

GIVING HIM 1 YEAR TO GET IT RIGHT WON't BE BAD.

EVERYONE CAN SAY WHAT THEY WANT BUT MOST ROOKIES ARE NOT BETTER THAN MOST VETS.

NO LT COMING OUT WILL BE BETTER THAN LONG.

Just because we are hear small bits and pieces about Jake Long doesn't mean Ireland is not trying to work it out. We really don't know what is going on and won't until they want us to know. I too have a problem with letting our #1 draft pick walk but don't want to pay the guy 15 mil either. It would be wise in any case if signed to have an extension loaded with incentives. And maybe that was why he was offended by the last offer.

STARKS IS OUR BEST D-LINEMAN.

I KNOW ALL WILL SAY WAKE BUT WAKE CAN't PLAY DT.

STARKS CAN PLAY INSIDE OR OUTSIDE.

AND WENT TO THE PRO BOWL AT BOTH.

WE NEED PLAYMAKERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL.

AND THAT MEANS WRs TEs RBs OR DBs SAFETYS OR LBs.

I THINK BEING THE WAY THE NFL IS TODAY WR SHOULD BE OUR FOCUS.

IF YOU CAN't GET 30 ON THE REG YOU CAN't WIN A SUPER BOWL

Damage control and spin are the key words this week for Teo and Barkley. I wouldn't touch these guys with a 10 ft pole in the first 2 rounds. I honestly think nothing more hurt Teo than his performance against Alabama. We all saw it he couldn't tackle and over ran plays and wasn't even a factor. His scandal was dumb and lying just made it that much worse. He's going to have questions about that until he retires.

Barkley is now not going to throw at the combine. All of a sudden his shoulder injury is now a problem. By the Way..Thanks for not coming out last year and possibly ending up on my Phins...even though it cost you 10's of millions of dollars. The guy had a winning lottery ticket in his hand and said nah I can do better. LOL

Franchising Matt Moore???? Really??? You guys should read up on things before you
Post. Lol Franchising Moore would be the most expensive tag Miami could use this season.... He would get the average salaries of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Sam Bradford and soon to be Joe Flacco. If the dolphins tagged Matt Moore.... They would pay him close to 15 million next year, to be the BACK-UP QB!!!

Starks makes the most sense if anybody is franchised. But this year's draft has a number of DTs & DEs in the early rounds. It might make more sense to let Starks walk and make the oft discussed move of Odrick to DT.

DAD:

I WOULD TAKE TEO WITH OUR 2nd ROUNDER. REALLY EASY ALSO.

PATTERSON, TEO, ELAM

Can't win for losing. In a year Miami has more early round draft picks than previous years, it's a bottom-heavy draft class. We're cursed.

franchise the phans, becuz dey ain't gonna be any at the joe.
lmao

the coconut culd b another wolfork butt he takes 2 many plays off.
starks was a pigeon out of h3ll the 1st few games then he took a dump.hurt?
lol

IMO Hartline needs to be resigned maybe not the FT. Yes we do need a #1 WR and I believe that should be a FA (Jennings) and then draft another. In the mean while there is always a chemistry class between the QB and WR and Hartline will provide that safety blanket while the new WR develop the chemistry with the Tannehill. We do not need to be behind the 8 ball in the win/loss column and then make excuses that we have a bunch of new players and it takes time to come together as a team.
FA CB too is a priority. There are a lot of good WR's and QB we will be facing next year and a rookie replacement for Smith is not the answer.

Who said bottom heavy? I heard the silly generalization of good quality depth and no one at the top. We have a lot of picks in the early and middle rounds. I can't see how this hurts us at all. It's a level playing field for everyone to select talent unless you have 5 picks in the top 100 like we do. I'm thrilled we aren't picking too early in the first either. I like how this draft is shaping up for us...good players are going to fall into the second and third rounds.

The Miami franchise is in the sewer.

I agree, dad. Mayock's comments about "difference makers" may allude to the dearth of QBs, WRs & RBs in the top 10- particularly after last year's draft. Since the Dolphins probably will not be looking at 2 of those 3 positions in the top 10, I see that as no problem. The one WR in the top 10- Cordarelle Patterson- may easily be available for the team's #12 pick. Who would hate a top DT or DE, though?

Otherwise, this year's draft, going by the NFL.com's Draft Tracker, has as many potential 1st year starters as last year's draft. Ireland picked 2 last year, rated as immediate starters- Tannehill and Martin- and both have proven out.

The 2nd and 3rd rounds may be Miami's money rounds. There are several WRs that may be scattered there that have the hands, quickness and route running reliability deemed as positives for the WCO. DEs and CBs are in good quantity, also.

We need to keep Long in a Dolphins uniform PERIOD.... He has had is injuries but has also played his ass off!! You do not draft RT17 without feeling good about your OL... Martin is not ready to be a LT in the NFL..If we need to we tag him, but i believe Long will give the phins a discount knowing that he was part of the "big rookie contract era" we should be able to keep him, maybe even sign a michael vick type contract surround around playing time and pro bowl...I love Randy Starks since he was a titan, we can not afford to lose our good players, Randy makes everyone around him better hands down.

Why would someone suggest we franchise Matt Moore. REALLY? You're going to pay Matt Moore the average of the top 5 QBs in the league or around $14 mil a year? I like Matt Moore but there is nobody who would do something like that.

I don't believe we franchise any of these guys and I think that's the right move.

Long would probably accept a 3-year contract for less cash --- Hartline is a good secondary receiver and worth keeping around. Stark is not elite and getting old, he should take whatever Fins offer. Our secondary is so bad, Clemons looks good, but he's nothing special. Glad Sean Smith will not be kept - whomever picks Sean will give the opponent 12 TDs and 100 First-downs next season.

Logic dictates that Long will not get 15 Mil a year in FA because of his health issues and decline in performance so by franchising him we would be making a mistake and taking away from other needs by depleting our cap $$$$. Towards the end of last year I saw some decent young talent that with a little more developement and exposure can be back ups.
We need starters that would make an immediate positive impact and sound backups in case of injuries, with Long we are already looking at back ups playing half the season. Do we then move Martin to LT and get our back ups rotating in and out at RT. We are setting ourselves up for failure and excuses. Better to have the entire off season, OTA's, training camp and preseason to groom a RT and move J. Martin to LT.

dad/bill, we don't just need starters. We need playmakers. Difference makers. Guys that can take games over. Cameron Wake's. Von Miller's. Megatron's. That's the missing pieces this team is missing. We have some good young talent, I grant you that. We have solid contributors. We don't have many game changers.

So if the "experts" are alluding to the fact this draft doesn't seem to have those (in their opinion), how does that bode well for a team who failed to capitalize on those players when past drafts were stocked with them? I'm not saying Ireland can't do it, I'm not saying the "experts" are right (there always some who shine who were never predicted by the "experts").

My point is it would have been much nicer to have a draft stocked with game-changing talent at positions of need (i.e. Julio Jones) when we had this many picks in the first 3 rounds. Just like it would have been much nicer to have the #1 pick when an Andrew Luck/RG3 came out then when Jake Long/Matt Ryan came out.

If the "expert" are right, it just makes Ireland's job that much harder, and no Dolphins fan should want that.

When the draft rolls around and the Dolphins are on the clock, the BPA very likely will be Chance Warmack .
How would anybody feel about taking a `DIFFERENCE MAKER` even though he`s not a scorer.

I think we resign Hartline. Might get a deal with Long. I gonna miss Sean Smith but enough FA to replace him. More I look more I see Fins going after Vaccaro or a pass rusher in Round one.

"The Dolphins did not use the tag Monday but perhaps they might use it in coming days or weeks."

Enough already. Forget the tag!!! Any competent GM can see that EVERY player you mentioned is not a 'franchise player' which is what the tag was originally intended for. IMO--unless the player's name is Cameron Wake there is not a player on this roster who qualifies for that distinction.

Perhaps players such as Mike Pouncey, Reshad Jones, & hopefully Ryan Tannehill will enter into that category--as players that are indispensable to the team--but the names that are up there are NOT. The ONE name that is the closest to that is Brian Hartline but even after the season he had placing the franchise tag on him which would cost upwards of $9 Million is absurd. Ireland should have worked out an extension during the season but I see no reason why he can't get something done before FA begins.

Remember Ireland is still walking on eggs down here and this year he will also pick sure-fire, can't miss starters(I don't blame him) like he did the last 2 years with our 1st and 2nd rounds picks now. Forget trading down, maybe up.

Just hold on till tomorrow.There are some O playmakers that will turn heads tomorrow at the Combine.

DC, I am no expert but I can name 4 game changers off the top of my head going into the combine. I stake my non-reputation on it. :)

Mingo OLB
Jordan OLB
Patterson WR
Ansah DE

I would say we have a shot at a couple of them in the first.

Matt Moore should be starting. He is far better then Tannehill. Moore at QB and Tannehill at WR would upgrade 2 positions.

need td's.
28-0.

Mike, take your meds, not gonna happen, Moore is gone

Texas Dolfan, add in Vacarro who is gonna be a shut down safety into that group and at least two really good TEs probably still there in RD 2

Za

IF WE RESIGN HARTLINE IT WOULD SHOW WE ARE OK BEING NOTHING MORE THAN THE PATS TOILET PAPER.

HE IS A BUM. TO SAY THE MOST.

HE IS THE 2nd WORST WR MIAMI HAD IN HISTORY.

YEA WE NEED TO START OVER.

IF YOU THINK WELKER WAS BAD WAIT AND SEE WHAT THEY DO IF THEY GET TAVON AUSTIN.

WE NEED WEAPONS ON TOP OF WEAPONS WITH WEAPONS IN BETWEEN.

HARTLINE WILL NEVER BE ANY GOOD.

LAST YEAR WILL BE HIS BEST IN HIS LIFE.

MAINLY BECAUSE HE WILL NEVER BE A NUMBER 1 OR 2 IN THAT MATTER IF WE ARE NOT TOO STUPID TO RESIGN HIM.


It doesnt matter who is at WR. Tannehill wont take this team any further then Henne did.

Sean Smith --- Allow him to walk. WHY?? Dropped way too many possible INTs the last 2 years. Way too many 1st downs rendered. Best of luck with your new team!

Brian Hartline --- YES, 4 years, $20 Million, maybe 4 Million guaranteed!! This should happen in the next 2 weeks!!

Jake Long ---- Offer 3 year, $25 Million W/Incentives if he stays healthy. Perhaps $5 Million guaranteed! maybe MORE GUARANTEED AFTER 2 SEASONS depending on the language, such as low sacks rendered while not being flagged for holding or chopblocks.

Chris Clemmons --- Offer 3 year, $14.75 Million. If he refuses, add a safety to the draft board for rounds 2-3.

Mike Wallace --- Offer 4 year, $32 Million. $5-6 Million Guaranteed.
Greg Jennings --- Offer 3 year, $19 Million

#12 pick in 2013 draft.....PASS RUSHERs Ezekiel Ansah Jarvis Jones, SAFETY Kenny Vaccaro, TIGHT END Zach Ertz!!

So if the Dolphins are unsure about Starks' age, if they are worried about his late-season drop in productivity but are also concerned about losing a valuable player to free agency and adding another item to their list of needs, then they might have to seriously consider the franchise tag.

Starks would have been a 'no brainer' if he didn't disappear after the first 8 games but he did. My contention is that you ONLY use the franchise tag for a player if he's coming off an outstanding season which is just not the case with Starks or Long for that matter.

Based on this season I view Soilai & Starks as good DT's in a 4-3 but based on 2012 I give the edge to Soliai. Neither player demonstrated ELITE playmaking ability like a Vince Wilfork or a Geno Atkins so the idea of the franchise tag is a stretch. He's certainly a better player than Kendall Langford but with the draft offering a bunch of solid DT's maybe the right move is to get younger & cheaper.

Starks best season in terms of production was in 2009 when he was a DE in a 3-4. Not sure if he can get back to level of play.

Justin, I'm sure you're unaware of it but you come across as a dim bulb.

Your thoughts are rarely coherent and your grammar and sentence structure indicate someone who is very poorly educated.

It just makes it hard to take anything you have to say seriously. Maybe you're better at verbal communication. For your sake, I hope so.

Now, now, don't get mad at all the resigns, outgoing and incoming Players that are going to happen.

.As I often remind you in free agency, the price is the price, so don't get sticker shock when you see Wallace land a five-year, $60 million contract from a receiver starved team like Miami....

DC....

Id what you say is true (and I don't doubt it...it just sets up what I am gonna say next).....

Then this draft is ACORN HEAVEN....

and that's right up Ireland's alley....who does a better job of finding talent were there is none...JEFF IRELAND....

Now if this draft was full of talent like Ryan Mallet's and RG3,s...or even Gronks or Mathhews....then we would be in trouble....Ireland would out smart himself trying to show the league how smart he was....

But this year...ACORNS GALORE....and we have the ACORN MASTER in Jeff Ireland.....

That's one ,2 watt, I won't get mad about. In fact, any move that the FO and Philbin makes. That's what they are there for.

Mike, if that's what you think then feel free to buy a JETS jersey.

Texas,

For the most part I agree with your list. Only thing I'd say is, those guys have the 'potential' to be game-changers. I don't think we can say for sure they will be, as we could last year with guys like Luck, RGIII and Richardson. It's doesn't appear to have lots of gamechangers on paper. There will however be LOTS there. Just means the GM and his team need to dig a little deeper. It's do-or die time for Ireland. This offseason will be his swan-song or his chance to make a mark. I think he knows that. Lots of work to do. Let's hope he gets it right.

Bobby,

I wouldn't add Vaccaro as he just doesn't seem to fit in that "playmakers" or "game changer" mold. He may but as I watched Texas a lot last year they were beat up often through ground and air. He had 5 PBU's and 2 INT's.

And if we draft him I will throw up. Especially if all 4 the guys I mention are there.

"DC, I am no expert but I can name 4 game changers off the top of my head going into the combine. I stake my non-reputation on it. :)"

Mingo OLB
Jordan OLB
Patterson WR
Ansah DE

I would say we have a shot at a couple of them in the first."

The problem is that all four guys offer significant BUST factors. All great athletes who are going to look like superstars at the combine but have not proven to be great football players yet. Not saying that they won't be but if I were a scout I would need to have seen it on the field already. I don't trust ANY of those players with a pick at 12. Guys like Fisher, Shariff Floyd, & Warmack are all more polished prospects at 12.

The four names you mention are not for teams that are rebuilding like we are. For teams like the Patriots or the Falcons that already good then you can afford to miss with a pick but we can't. Our draft picks are too important at this stage--which is year two.

Kris,

'Ryan Mallet'.....LOL. YOu just won't let that one go, will you? Let's see how he does in Cleveland this year after the trade. Pats only have five picks this year. Wouldn't be surprised if they another pick or two with the trade. Gonna be funny seeing the kid getting killed in a Browns uniform this year....(joking).

Texas,

I see Vaccarro as a game-changer too. He didn't have a lot of picks at Texas but he's a big hitter and he broke up an awful lot of pick plays that way in College. I REALLY like this kid and see a lot of Earl Thomas in him. We got it wrong passing on Thomas once. Will we get it wrong again at this position?

DC, we do need starters at playmaker positions. One would have to define his version of playmakers but WRs, DEs and CBs would be on most people's list. There are a number of these in the first 3 rounds and with 5 picks, I don't see how Jeff misses. Of course we won't have an idea of what Jeff will go after until the initial phase of FA is over but I think another good draft is coming.

If Ireland is unable to hire a decent CB from UFA I would tag Sean Smith. Nobody wants that to happen, obviously. Let's just pray Ireland gets his job done.

Craig - I am no expert but I say those 4 guys will be "game changers". And will be early on in their career.

I like Mayock as an analyst and he has Miami taking Patterson at this time.

http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedailydolphin/2013/02/19/nfl-draft-buzz-mike-mayock-breaks-down-the-miami-dolphins-options-at-12th-pick/

Mingo scares the shyte out of me. If there's one guy I can see be the bust of the draft it's him. He's not the guy I want us to end up with. I just don't see it with this guy.

Thank god we drafted Tannehill last year.Could you imagine if we didnt draft him and tried to find a QB in this years draft, we would be up crap creek without a paddle. Now I am sure I will get a bunch of people hollering how Tannehill sucks and Geno Smith or Matt Barkley are better than him....

WNP - Every year we seem to keep drafting those "safe" players to draft you mention and keep staying mediocre. At some point you have to take risks. We took a slight risk last year on Tannehill as he had that lack of experience you are talking about. I say we take a shot again and we will see a huge payoff.

By your very name "We Need Playmakers" - that is plain and simple.

Mingo scares the shyte out of me. If there's one guy I can see be the bust of the draft it's him. He's not the guy I want us to end up with. I just don't see it with this guy.

Great athlete but when I've watched LSU play the guy is invisible. I also think this kid Werner from FSU is a stiff. Didn't impress me when I watched FSU.

If we're picking at 12 I'd rather we took a DT or Olineman in this draft. The WR's appear to be reaches that high & I can't handle another Ted Ginn situation. You take guys like that in the 3rd the way Indy did with T.Y. Hilton. Although Gates didn't pan out it's actually good to take a shot with a player that has that kind of speed. Not giving Ireland a pass by any stretch but I can see the logic.

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