The re-signing of Randy Starks was a win for the Dolphins because it brings back a two-time Pro Bowl player who happens to play a position of need (until he signed his name on the contract) for the Dolphins.
It was also a win for general manager Dennis Hickey and Executive vice president of Football Administration Dawn Aponte -- who are working the contract for Miami -- because the deal they got seems beneficial for the Dolphins.
The reported deal of two-years worth $12 million is a mirage.
Oh, it might be worth that $6 million per year annual average if Starks maxes out and actually sticks around for the two seasons because there are $1 million in incentives each year -- in 2014 and 2015.
But the deal is actually for a total of $10 million with $5 million guaranteed in the form of the $2 million signing bonus and his $3 million base salary this coming season. The other $5 million comes in the form of 2015 base salary.
What does that mean?
Starks, 30, is really only assured of being with the team in '14. If for whatever reason his play drops off or, God forbid, he gets hurt, or the Dolphins simply want to go in a different direction, the team can cut the defensive tackle next year and save $4 million in cap space even while carrying $1 million in dead money.
And because there is no triggering mechanism that would force the Dolphins to make a decision on Starks next offseason, they could carry his contract through training camp 2015 before making their final decision on his future.
I suppose Starks understood all this when he met with the media Wednesday and didn't exactly do cartwheels over signing the deal.
“I mean it feels really good," he said. "It could be worse, I could be out on the street, but for the most part I’m glad to be back. I’ve been in this organization for six years and I think I’m established here. I’m just happy to be back."
The reason Starks is glad to be back "for the most part" is because he clearly expected a bigger payday in perhaps his last big bite of the contract apple. A league source tells me Starks' representation was talking about a $7.5-million-per-year-plus salary for Starks before free agency began.
Obviously, that never materialized. So Starks was sort of forced to go back to the Dolphins, who had balked at his initial asking price and told him to go shop himself in the market.
"I had options out there, but like I said this is where I want to be," Starks said. "I want to finish my career here, and I think this two-year deal gives me a chance to do that.”