While most of the Miami Dolphins have been at the facility, taking part in Organized Team Activities (OTA’s), Randy Starks has been off doing his own thing. It is his way of letting the Dolphins front office know that he is not happy with having the franchise tag placed on him, and that he wants a new deal to be worked out.
It is a ploy often used by NFL players to a varying degree of success. A player out-performs his contract, and he suddenly wants to be properly compensated; or, the end of a contract is nearing and the player wants to establish the terms for the future. Sometimes holding out from team activities works in the players favor. Other times, it simply droves the parties further apart.
For Starks, failing to report to the Dolphins’ OTA’s is not an unforgivable sin. Coach Joe Philbin would much rather have the stud defensive tackle be on the field and in the meetings as the team prepares for the 2013 season, but OTA’s are not mandatory, and Starks has the freedom to make up his own mind. Unfortunately for Starks, he is making the wrong choice.
At first, Starks was not alone in his crusade to strong-arm a new contract. Safety Reshad Jones was looking to get a contract equal to his production. But after missing just one day, Pro Football Focus’s third best defensive back of the 2012 season decided he was going to report and force the team to deal with him based on his work ethic and skill.
This is the type of approach Starks needs to use to get things going with the Dolphins. He may be unhappy about not getting a long-term deal hammered out right away, but thanks to the franchise tag he is guaranteed $8.5 million for one year’s worth of work. This doesn’t sound like such a bad deal when you think about it, but with Starks turning 30 this year, it may be the years included in a contract that mean the most to him at this point.
Last season, the Dolphins’ saw defensive end/outside linebacker Cameron Wake hold out for a new contract, and the organization did not waste much time securing their defensive star for the next five years. Starks needs to realize that even though he went to the Pro Bowl as a substitute, he will not get the same kind of attention Wake did just a year ago.
Starks should face the reality of playing this season out for the $8.5. It is a sweet deal. If he tears it up, then he assures himself the opportunity to show why he is worth a long-time contract. The defensive strategy may be closely tied to what they put on the field last season, but every day he sits out is another day he is not learning the adjustments being made to defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle‘shybrid 4-3.
Starks is also giving reps to defensive end Jared Odrick, who will likely be making the transition into the interior of the defensive line. The longer Starks tries to force the Dolphins’ hand, the more Odrick gives them the option to play hardball.
Honestly, it is hard to get behind Starks on this one. $8.5 million for one year is too much to gain the support of the average NFL fan. No one wants to see him hold out and possibly hurt his team, especially after they have put in so much work during the offseason to be competitive in 2013. Starks needs to show up and play out this year. At $8.5 million it just makes no sense not to.
Jeff Everette covers the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jeverettesports, “like” his page on Facebook, “Trust” him on Sulia, or join his circles on Google+.