After questions of just who the Dolphins planned to franchise, the answer has finally arrived. The team announced today that defensive tackle Randy Starks will receive the teams franchise tag for the 2013 season.
Starks will be paid a baseline salary worth $8.45 million, but it gives the team time to attempt to work on a long-term deal. This does leave the team’s other four key free agents out in the open, likely to test free agency now.
Starks, cornerback Sean Smith, left tackle Jake Long, running back Reggie Bush and receiver Brian Hartline all have expiring contracts, and the team is trying to negotiate new contracts with some of them.
It looks like Reggie Bush will part ways with the team and the Lions among others have shown interest in the former number 2 overall pick.
Jake Long has said that he is open to rejoining the team, but it looking for a contract in the range of $11 Million per season. With his injury problems and declining play recently, the Dolphins may let him hit the open market.
Sean Smith may be in a bit of hot water after former teammate Vontae Davis possibly outed him and the Kansas City Chiefs for talking about a deal before free agency officially starts. This could hurt Smith’s chances of getting signed and could have him in trouble with the league if it turns out to be true. Smith hopes to get a multiyear contract in the neighborhood of $8 million annually — a price higher than the Dolphins are likely to pay, so his chances of testing the waters of free agency are high.