The Dolphins have had nearly perfect attendance during the first two days of their offseason conditioning program, which began Monday morning at team headquarters in Davie.
We can only say nearly, however, because there was one notable face absent from the workouts. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks has not been present and will reportedly skip all voluntary sessions.
The Dolphins designated Starks with the franchise tag this offseason, which he signed last month. Starks will be paid $8.45 million in 2013, fully guaranteed.
Although Starks’ cap number is the highest on the entire team, he is seeking a multi-year contract that keeps him in Miami for the long haul. Starks tweeted the following back in March shortly before Miami slapped him with the tag: “I want to be a dolphin!!! Not just for one more year….”
So Starks has made it very clear he wants to be locked up long-term with the Dolphins and he is now taking his demands a step further with this protest. But the Dolphins shouldn’t fear this holdout getting ugly. At least not yet.
According to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, Starks will report to mandatory minicamp and presumably training camp if he is still playing under the tag.
The 29-year old veteran simply can’t afford to risk a lengthy holdout when he may hit the open market as a free agent next spring. Starks should be extremely motivated to play at a high level in 2013 in hopes of earning a multi-year deal next offseason. And that may be a reason why Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins are content letting Starks play out the season under the one-year franchise tag.
But that’s not to say they won’t consider signing Starks to an extension. Signing Starks to multi-year deal would significantly reduce his $8.45 million cap number. And the Dolphins value their stout defensive line and want to maintain it as a staple for their success on defense. Starks has been a model of consistency along the interior and turning 30 in December shouldn’t change that.