With plenty of big-name players set to hit free agency, the Dolphins had a multitude of options if they wanted to use the franchise tag. And they ultimately decided to use it on defensive tackle Randy Starks, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported Monday.
Starks will receive a one-year, $8.45 million guaranteed deal from the Dolphins as a result, and the Fins will have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with the defensive tackle.
That's something Starks is amenable to; he tweeted out Sunday that he wants "to be a Dolphin!!! Not just for one more year" and that he'd be willing to take a "discount" but wouldn't be willing to hit the "clearance rack."
Miami placing the tag on Starks means that both left tackle Jake Long -- the top pick in the 2008 NFL Draft -- and cornerback Sean Smith -- the Fins second-round pick in 2009 -- will have the option of testing the open market.
Both guys are top-25 players on our Top 100 Free Agent list and both could end up commanding big-time money on the market.
Also hitting the market will be wide receiver Brian Hartline, who was never a really serious candidate to receive the franchise tag.