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Starks to be Dolphins franchise player ... what that means

The Miami Dolphins intend to place the franchise tag on defensive tackle Randy Starks.

It is not a surprise. Indeed, it is the only logical move the team could make as the team's other looming free agents -- Sean Smith, Brian Hartline, Jake Long -- either would have been too expensive to tag or can be easily replaced this coming season if they play elsewhere.

Starks will be on the books for up to $8.4 million. That comes directly off Miami's salary cap space, which is now around $37 million. That is still enough to tender restricted players, sign draft picks and sign or re-sign a full complement of free agents.

A note: Did I mention Sean Smith is not Miami's franchise player? Seems that so-called report that said Smith would be tagged was as erroneous as I've been telling you.

Anyway, there will be fallout from the Dolphins action today.

First, Starks is not happy. He didn't want a one-year tag. He wants a multi-year contract. He may still get it as the two sides can continue to discuss such a deal, but much of his leverage is effectively removed because free agency is no longer a viable option.

Secondly, expect Jake Long and Sean Smith to hit free agency. The club has talked with both players and that has led to, well, no deal with either. Both players have a very high regard for themselves (which is good) while the team has a more realistic regard for them (which is also good). In plain English that means both Smith and Long expect to make much more in the open market than the Dolphins have been discussing.

The market is the tiebreaker. The players will go into the market to determine their value. The Dolphins want both back but at their price. The players want their price. I would say the chances of Long returning to Miami are much better than Smith.

Smith is eager for the start of free agency so that he can "get paid," according to a source. That is his priority. He doesn't as much care where he plays as he does about being paid playing there. The Dolphins believe they can replace Smith with a comparable if not better player either in free agency (more expensive) or the draft (much, much less expensive).

I would say cornerback is a major need for the Dolphins now as they traded away their best cornerback, Vontae Davis, last year and are about to lose the other starter of the tandem Davis once crowed was the best in the NFL.

Long?

He doesn't want to take a pay cut. And considering he made $11.2 million last year, that's saying something. The Dolphins meanwhile are looking around the NFL and seeing that the price for outstanding left tackles is more in the $8-$9 million annual range. Assuming that goes up a little bit, I'd say it's probable the market will have to determine Long's worth.

The Dolphins still want Long back -- probably moreso than they want Smith back. They see Long as a quality player whose play falters when he gets injured. They see Smith as an inconsistent player even when healthy.

On Hartline, the sides continue to talk. Agent Drew Rosenhaus is nothing if not persistent. Hartline wants to remain in Miami and believes he has a chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But he also wants $6 million per season.

Obviously, the Dolphins have so far resisted this price point. Both sides at this point believe something can get done before the start of free agency.

It is possible the Dolphins might decide paying $8 million for another, more accomplished wide receiver such as Greg Jennings is better than paying $6 million to Hartline. The Dolphins are almost certain to chase Mike Wallace as their top free agency target, as well.

 

 

Comments

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Dumb. That 9 mil is Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, Cliff Avril, Brent Grimes, Michael Bennett money. Who would you rather have on the team? SMH

My bad, 8.4 mil but still, dumb move. Unless they work out a long term deal before FA kicks off. Starks is a good player, but not worth the coin he just got for one year.

Plenty of good CB's in FA and the first 2 rds of the draft. Unlike Smith, they can tackle and catch the football.

I think this is a smart move. I was ready to let Starks walk, but what Ireland said made sense, you dont weaken the strength of your team.Starks and Soliai make a great DT tandem, the heart of our defense so to speak. I think Starks will sign a long-term contract that will signifigantly cut his cap number this year. I know I am basically echoing what the beat reporters are saying.

And btw, Long shouldn't be brought back at a penny over 7 mil a year. The OT position is stacked in FA and the draft. He can easily be replaced.

"A note: Did I mention Sean Smith is not Miami's franchise player? Seems that so-called report was as erroneous as I've been telling you. (Journalists should also be accountable for what they report or misreport, which is why I often remind you what I reported and when. And if the facts turn out to be wrong, I actually admit it rather than whine)."

Mando,

Glad you were right!!! I just want Smith & Long to go away...

Man you type fast

Now, I would assume after this move Patterson may very well be released. That would clear 5 mil in cap space. The Dolphins still have roughly 36 Mil in space after tagging Starks, but keep in mind 6 mil of it has to go to signing Draft picks. So in reality you are only looking at 30 mil in 'Free' money.

Anbody know if the Dolphins can rescind that offer at some point down the road or is it a done deal? ie. can they change their mind and cut him free at some point. Not saying they would do this, just curious.

I think they retained a god, not great player. Gives them more time to negotiate a lopng term deal with him and free up cap space for this year. Probably the move that made the most sense but remains to be seen if it was the right move.

I think we cn close the book on Smith. Gone (probably to Jacksonville) for $8-10 mil a year, I say. Good luck with the Jags, Sean!

And btw, Long shouldn't be brought back at a penny over 7 mil a year. The OT position is stacked in FA and the draft. He can easily be replaced.

Jon,

I'm sorry but I still think that sounds like a LOT for Long. In his prime??? Absolutely but fans need to ignore the name that's on the back of his jersey & stop living in past. He just missed a quarter of the season b/c of an injury & he didn't play very well before that.

6 million is too high for hartline and even miamis FO sees that....dont see him remaining in miami at more than 4-5 mil...and i think he's worth no more than 4 honestly.......

Craig M,

They can pull the offer anytime BEFORE Starks signs it, but once he signs it, it becomes full guaranteed.

We need playmakers,

I agree 100%. I wouldn't re-sign Long period if the plans to play him at LT. I don't think he can do it at a pro bowl level anymore. But at 7 mil, you could at least justify it somewhat. But me personally, I'd let him walk unless he's on board to play RT

Dolphins traded away their best corner-back, Vontae Davis, last year.

-Did I hear right? Vontae they best corner.....and people said I didn't know what I was talking about. Sean smith camp pro bowler, Vontae can and probably will be a real pro-bowler. Hated that trade

If somebody could guarantee me that we could have Lane Johnson at 12 in the draft, I would let Long walk. Problem is if he's gone earlier and we let Long walk, i just don't know what the plan is. Fluker in the second to play RT and Martin at LT? Maybe. Just pray it's not Martin at LT and some Colombo clone at RT. Things could get bad on that line in a real hurry.

I actually think Ireland had an eye for talent. But all that cap room is worthless if 5 quality starters are going to hit free agency. I don't like the approach at all.

I love Randy Starks, but not at 8 million.

Ben Voiln called out! Love it.

Anbody know if the Dolphins can rescind that offer at some point down the road or is it a done deal? ie. can they change their mind and cut him free at some point. Not saying they would do this, just curious.

I think they retained a god, not great player. Gives them more time to negotiate a lopng term deal with him and free up cap space for this year. Probably the move that made the most sense but remains to be seen if it was the right move.

I think we cn close the book on Smith. Gone (probably to Jacksonville) for $8-10 mil a year, I say. Good luck with the Jags, Sean!

Craig,

I believe Starks has until June or July before he has to sign the offer or THEN it's rescinded. Since that never happens--he's either guaranteed that one year contract or he can work out a longer term deal with the team.

he's about to be a FA so the team can't change their mind & pull the rug out from under him. That would be pretty f#cked up to the player if the team could rescind the offer in May after most of FA & the draft is over right???

paying 11 mil to long a year???...I'll take my chances in the draft, just sayin..

Miami's stength is the DL, you don't weaken it, this was a no brainer. So what if it's 1-2 million too much, this team doesn't need more holes !!!

Miami has tons of cap space, hasn't waived anyone or re-done contracts, so money is a non issue !!!

Jon,

Thanks for that. Could be Starks takes his team with signing it. Maybe he hold out....who knows. But to me, much as it's probably paying him too much money, it's probably the right move at this point in time.

"I actually think Ireland had an eye for talent. But all that cap room is worthless if 5 quality starters are going to hit free agency. I don't like the approach at all."

FakeGM,

Who are the five quality starters??? Not sure I agree.

I have no problem with any of these guys walking.

Smith is a baby and not a very solid corner. Most corners available in the second round will be better and 10 times cheaper. Literally.

Long is not the same guy he was. He also doesn't fit Miami's scheme. Bye-bye.

Hartline is solid but never gets in the end zone. Three touchdowns in two seasons. Sorry that's not good enough.

The only way a mediocre team gets better is by replacing mediocre players. Be gone with all of them.

I like Starks but, not a fan of tagging a 29 year old with 10 years on nfl wear on him.

Dline was a strength & resigning Starks for all this money is a lil wasteful but, he's earned his payday.

He's gonna cost about 20% of our available cap if he signs just the 1 year tender. I'm pretty sure this was done with the anticpation that Soliai won't be back next year. Used the franchise on DT's consecutively. Can't afford to keep them both long term.

Lettign Starks go & sliding Odrick inside would have been a better choice imo. Save that cap money to bring in O playemakers.

Team needs 2 starting WR's, 2 starting CB's, a free safety a LT & a TE more than Starks. Giving Starks all this cash means 1 less need gets filled

The Giants LT signed a deal that is roughly 7.5 mil a year, I think there is no chance Long even see's that money.

Again, Peter King who is pretty connected in the NFL, says teams view him as a RT. Also said there is really no buzz about Long as a FA compared to the other tackles on the market. I think Long and his agents are in for a rude awakening

If a LT isn't there at 12, we could take Watson in the 2nd or Armstead in the 3rd. He was the guy that ran in the 4.6s and benched 225lbs 31 times. Real Raw, but he could be special.

jon, this was a bad move? that is stupid because none of "your names" were pro bowl DTs. Starks was 100% the right and only choice for a franchise tag. i like long and smith, but 16 mil (long) and smith (11 mil)? who here thinks either are worth that? who thinks either are worth half that? (i am in the latter)

(please forget last comment)

And btw, Long shouldn't be brought back at a penny over 7 mil a year. The OT position is stacked in FA and the draft. He can easily be replaced.

Posted by: Jon | March 04, 2013 at 11:43 AM
so that is why we paid him 11.4 mil and the market as state will be 8-9 mil. Long is worth worth 8-9 mil. not worth anything over 10. wait it and try to get him back Miami. think he will settle for our deal

Posted by: O'darris D'haiti | March 04, 2013 at 11:57 AM

They can pull the offer anytime BEFORE Starks signs it, but once he signs it, it becomes full guaranteed.

Jon,

Really??? If that's true then I was dead wrong. That's totally unfair to the player no???

and not to mention bringing back those 5 so called quality players will eat up most of your salery cap...which then would equate to everything having to fall in place for the draft in trusting Irefiend and the FO...

Wouldnt like to bet odds on that happening!!!Just sayin!!!

I don't like it. I was a proponent of moving Odrick inside and using that $8m elsewhere. Starks was surplus in my eyes. So $8m gone and no holes filled. tough start.

i would think Starks for 3 years/18 or $19 mil would be about right. May you through a little guaranteed money in there to entice him. I'd probably be Ok with something like that. I'm good with Starks for another year but after that, who knows....

Vontae is a good player but hes not the smartest guy in the room. Fins looking for smart guys.

"Lettign Starks go & sliding Odrick inside would have been a better choice imo. Save that cap money to bring in O playemakers."

Okay...For once in for all this was NEVER going to happen & never will. Odrick is not a DT & has never played DT in the NFL. If he wants to stay a starter in Miami then he needs to lose weight & have more explosion as a 4-3 DE. If not then he's not going to be a part of the Dolphins' future.

i would think Starks for 3 years/18 or $19 mil would be about right. May you through a little guaranteed money in there to entice him. I'd probably be Ok with something like that. I'm good with Starks for another year but after that, who knows....

Craig,

Agreed. However, keeping the tag on him MAY be a put up or shut up situation. Although Starks has been a very good player for us since he came to Miami--he did not have a very good 2nd half of the season.

it's a little disturbing that Hartline hasn't been signed. We need more WRs, not fewer. What's the deal with Hartline? What's the difference in numbers (seeking vs. offering)?

The Fins still have till June to work out a long term deal with Starks to mitigate the cap hit from what I read

playmakers, 100% on, odrick is not a DT. moving him to the spot would have filled a spot but created a huge hole. I knew starks would be tagged, he was the only real candidate, and onlt FA worth the tag price. It will be interesting to see how much the FAs that think so high of themselves get especially smith.

I don't like it. I was a proponent of moving Odrick inside and using that $8m elsewhere. Starks was surplus in my eyes. So $8m gone and no holes filled. tough start.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 04, 2013 at 12:03 PM

agree to an extent, but like starks and would have signed him to about 6 mil a year. Do see him as surplus

I think this is a good move by Ireland....

maybe there is hope for him yet....

now if Starks holds out....then i might have to re-think my postion...

I am fully prepared for another IRELAND FLUBBED UP OFFSEASON

& please mando dont come in with the "ireland deserves credit for setting the CAP UP" when he simply traded a 1st round pick for a 2nd & gave up two 2's for marshall & traded him for two 3's

STOP

Craig M, I agree with you on Starks, 3 years 17 or 18 million sounds right

WNPs,

Good point @12:08pm So maybe Starks gets another chance to make his point and his case for a long term deal and if not then maybe he's gone next year and a new player is added, likely in the draft. I like Starks and i'd say Ireland probably got this one right.

the deal is mike.... hartlines asking price at 6 million..miami does not and should not value him that high of a number and I also think becuase of the talent in both free agency and depth at the position in the draft is why they are also conceeding to let him test the market....

Vontae is a good player but hes not the smartest guy in the room. Fins looking for smart guys.

Posted by: Slam | March 04, 2013 at 12:05 PM

I want smart players too but I played in a college locker room before. not everyone there belong in college but they do belong on the field. Players make plays not. I want football players first and foremost

Odarris....

I replied on the last blog....I can't copy and paste @ work....so if you care to see it..its there....if not....well...its still there...

I don't like it. I was a proponent of moving Odrick inside and using that $8m elsewhere. Starks was surplus in my eyes. So $8m gone and no holes filled. tough start.

Mark,

OMG....If Odrick could play inside don't you think they would have moved him inside??? It's not like he's SO freaking invaluable @ DE.

Just b/c you're 300 pounds doesn't mean you can play DT. That's why Starks has been so valuable for us. When we ran the 3-4 he could play end & occassionally take snaps @ NT. Now he's a true DT in a 4-3.

"I think this is a good move by Ireland....

maybe there is hope for him yet....

now if Starks holds out....then i might have to re-think my postion..."

Kris,

I honestly don't remember the last time a player held out who got the franchise tag. Who is going to pass up 8.4 Million guaranteed???

BTW--Ireland still made the right move. The run defense was our only area of strength last year.

To Kris

Would you pay him that money if you can have a truly elite Qb Manning, brady, rogders, Eli*? Supply and demand my friend. Flacco is great but just not elite. 17th with almost every defense player hurt. (suggs, lewis, web, reed, and others) they had injuries at every level of the defense so 17 isn't a bad number.

Posted by: O'darris D'haiti | March 04, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I think Odirck's best fit is probably as a DE in 3-4 defense.

This is so far going the way I thought it would. Next up, Resigning Hartline for a 4 year deal worth about 18 million.

Mark, I agree with WNP @ 12:13pm. You guys hold Odrick in too high regard. Frankly, I believe the team thinks he's the expendable one (not because he doesn't have talent, but his talent is more geared for a 3-4 defense, not a 4-3).

I think this move signifies the Dolphins want to maintain the ONE good thing they have going for them, which is a solid defensive front 7. Losing Starks would jeopardize that unit and create ANOTHER hole to plug. And reality is all those holes CAN'T be plugged in 1 year. But Ireland is under the gun to put together a + .500 team THIS year, so this was the right move.

Now we concentrate on our FAs we want to retain, signing other FAs to bring in more talent, then the Draft to get anything that was missed by either.

I can't complain about this move (MUCH better decision than tagging Long).

I can live with the move which leaves intact our stout run defense, but they better hit home runs in free agency and the draft. There is no room for error!

WR, CB, DE and OL are must haves! Those are alot of holes to fill this off-season, and appears more challenging with this organizations history in free agency and the draft.

Good point @12:08pm So maybe Starks gets another chance to make his point and his case for a long term deal and if not then maybe he's gone next year and a new player is added, likely in the draft. I like Starks and i'd say Ireland probably got this one right.

Craig,

If Starks can play the way he did the first half of 2012 I'll like it even more but yes I think Ireland got this right.

Franchising Smith or Long or Hartline just didn't make ANY sense to me.

Anyone who thinks this is a bad move is a fool. Miami's ONLY strength is its DL. We've got a ton of cap room. This tag isn't gonna affect us much and gives us the opportunity to work out a long term deal. Starks, Solia, Wake, and either a drafted pass rusher or a FA (Cliff Avril?) give the Fins a real area of strength, and we have ZERO other true areas of strength. Hopefully we can get Hartline resigned and add Wallace and develop a drafted WR. LB's are serviceable. Gotta get a starting RT, move Martin to his natural side on the left and add another guard to compete. Then we've got the secondary. Gotta go after at least one high profile starting CB in FA and most likely a high draft pick.

And after all of that we should be just fine! :-)

Playmakers,

Wow OK. So, he hasn't played 4-3 DT in the pros? I beg to differ. Miami was utilizing multiple fronts, especially last year under Coyle. He was used OFTEN as a DT in the 4-3 nickel.

Also, Odrick was a 4-3 DT at PSU. He can play DT. When they drafted him, he was listed at 305 lbs. Starks is also around 305 lbs.

Maybe if he didn't play the position in College your argument would hold water. Considering that's what he was in College, your assertion that he has to be a 4-3 DE doesn't make any sense.

Lastly, it's once & for all, not once in for all. Respectfully.

I hear ya O'darris but he was constantly partying and coming to practice late and hungover. I mean b marshall even confronted him and hes not choir boy himself. He then shows up to camp out of shape. his talent isnt elite so he wasnt worth the trouble.

i think a deal will get done with Starks and it will help the cap number. If it doesn't this year so be it. 39 million is still enough money to improve this team.

Woodshed @12:19pm,

That would seem to be logical. But i'm not so sure that Hartline's agent doesn't want to test the FA waters and see what he can get out there. This will likely be Hartline's best chance to make money. We keep hearing $6 mil a year. if his agent is serious about that, he'll at least want to see if that is out there.

Meant to say he often played as a DT in the nickel 4 man front.

Starks for 8M/yr on a long term deal is crazy but this would lock him up for 1 yr until they can find a replacement. If they can do a 4 or 5 yr deal great but it buys another year and keeps the Dline a strength. I say good move. Draft a DT and groom him. I still think Starks will do a longer term deal before the season starts. Makes sense for both sides.

As for Jake Long he is going to eat some humble pie real soon. No way would a team be dumb enough to offer a long term big $ deal for a guy hurt every year. I can see him playing for a 1 yr incentive deal to try and prove he can stay healthy and play at a high level.

Smith is a trap signing because if you thought he was lazy now just wait until he gets paid! Someone is going to make a big mistake signing him.

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