Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks was given the franchise tag this offseason. Like almost all other players who receive the tag, he was not pleased about it. After signing his one-year, $8.45 million contract, Starks chose not to attend organized team activities. And now, he is no longer a starter.
On Monday, Starks said he believes being relegated to a bench role is a form of punishment from the team.
“I’ve been there before,” he said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’m not going to say nothing bad about it. It is what it is. I wasn’t here so I guess this is my punishment.”
As of now, Starks is expected to come off the bench in a rotation with defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick. The 29-year-old has also missed time in training camp because of a leg injury, which may have contributed to his tumble down the depth chart. However, the Dolphins say they intend to use Starks just as much as they have in the past.
“The year I was a backup  I was one of the most dominant players on the defensive line,” he said. “If that’s the case I have the potential do it again. I’m a 10-year veteran. All those things to make me fired up, I don’t really need all that. Whatever role I’m called to do this year I’m going to do.”
The team had to have expected Starks to be unhappy with the tag, so I doubt they’re punishing him. While he has been one of their more effective interior defensive linemen over the past several seasons, he has missed significant time throughout the offseason because of various injuries. That probably has more to do with his demotion than the contract dispute.Google+