The Dolphins defensive line is without question the deepest position on the Fins roster. Not only is Miami deep but they are very talented on the defensive line. So, that brings up the question…”Is it time to Trade Randy Starks?”
Now, before some of you start sending me nasty emails and tweets saying I have lost my mind let’s think about this rationally for a second. At the defensive end position Miami has Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Derrick Shelby, and that isn't counting last year’s starter Jared Odrick who can play DE or DT. At defensive tackle Miami has Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Vaughn Martin who they signed as a free agent away from San Diego, Randall Kheesten, and once again Odrick who can play both spots. The names mentioned above are more than likely going to be on the active roster. There are other guys in camp at the defensive line position but they have a major uphill battle to win a roster spot.
So now let’s look at how this breaks down. Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are in the final year of their deals. Miami will have the cap space to keep both at seasons end but more than likely they will only keep one. Not to mention with the depth on the defensive line keeping both isn't a smart option since the money saved on one of those players could be spent on another need position. Plus, Miami has Odrick who is a defensive tackle and they used a 1st round pick on but they are playing out of position.So if they can get Odrick back to DT that would also be a plus.
Two years ago when Soliai was a free agent he gave Miami a “hometown discount” and stayed with the Dolphins and never even took another visit with another team. This year when Starks was given the “franchise tag” he was very vocal in his displeasure with that. So, logic dictates which player is most likely going to be easier to deal with come next March? To me clearly its Soliai as he and his agent have already gone through this song and dance with Ireland before and everyone came out happy with the outcome. Lot's of good feelings by both parties there and I expect that to continue this next offseason when his contract is up again.
So, what to do with Starks. Yes Miami could do nothing and let Randy play out the year and walk at seasons end and the Dolphins would get nothing in return. That is option “A” let’s call it. So what is option “B?” Well, since Miami has great depth on the defensive line how about shop Starks for a 2nd or 3rd round pick in next year’s draft. A draft mind you all of the so called “draft experts” believe is one of the deepest overall drafts in some ten years or so.
And what would a Dolphins defensive line minus Starks look like? Still pretty damn good if you ask me. Miami would kick Odrick inside back to defensive tackle his natural position, Olivier Vernon who got better as the season went on last year and who was very solid in the OTA’s this offseason and has looked very good the first 3 days of training camp would probably move to starting LDE. Leaving Dion Jordan coming on the field in passing situations and as a situational player. Not to mention depth wise the defensive tackle position still looks solid. Behind Soliai and Odrick the Fins would have Martin and Randall.
So before you write this off as “crazy talk” just remember last year during training camp Miami traded its #1 CB Vonta Davis when a team offered enough to make it worthwhile. The job of Jeff Ireland, Joe Philbin and crew is not only to try and win now but also keep this franchise in a solid position going forward. And adding a high draft pick for a guy Miami has great depth behind does just that. Would losing Randy Starks hurt some this year? Yes, of course he is a terrific player and anytime you lose a very talented player it will hurt. But would it prevent Miami from winning overall? Of course not! Would moving Starks for a 2nd round pick (when odds are he is leaving anyway after this season) be a very wise move to make…..Yes it would!