Franchise tag deadline looms for Randy Stark, Dolphins
The Dolphins used the one-year franchise tag to retain Starks in May, while negotiating a long-term extension for the Pro Bowler. But after four months of contract talks they both sides arrived at an agreement yet.
While on one hand the Dolphins don’t want to lose Starks, who is an anchor to their defense and made the Pro Bowl in two of the past three seasons, they have already spent over $200 in free-agent contract, including $117 million in guaranteed money. It is possible that the Dolphins are hesitant to tie up further salary cap room with a lucrative extension for Starks. The Dolphins currently have over $17 million in salary cap space, which they may still consider sufficient enough at the moment that there is no urgent need get additional cap space by reworking the franchise tender.
So, the Dolphins could be comfortable with paying Starks $8.45 over one season and letting him walk away as a free agent (assuming they do not use a second franchise tag) next offseason. This cannot be all that good for Starks, especially when players nowadays look for some stability in a long-term contract with team. Furthermore, Starks turns 30 this year and the Dolphins are deep at defensive linemen who are developing right now. If Starks plays out the franchise tag to walk way in free agency next summer, the Dolphins will at look at Jared Odrick, Kheeston Randall,Vaughn Martin, A.J. Francis, Chris Burnette, or Tracy Robertson to see if they can develop into starting caliber defensive tackles.
Starks already held out of the Dolphins’ voluntary offseason workout due to his contract situation, but showed up for mandatory minicamp. He doesn’t seem to be planning on holding out to training camp as well, while negotiating an extension with the Dolphins this summer.