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                       === Dolphins franchise Starks ===
 
 Davie,  FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins have used their franchise tag
 on defensive tackle Randy Starks.
 
 Under  terms of  the  designation, Starks  will earn  $8.45  million in  2013,
 although the teams can still work toward a long-term deal up until July 15.
 
 Starks has spent the past five years in Miami and was selected to the Pro Bowl
 following the 2010 and 2012 seasons. He posted 4 1/2 sacks with 27 tackles and
 an interception this past season.
 
 The  Dolphins  elected to use  the franchise tag  on Starks over several other
 possible  candidates, including Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long, running back Reggie
 Bush, wide receiver Brian Hartline and cornerback Sean Smith, all of whom will
 be eligible to test the open market later this month.
 
 "We  have  a very good  defensive line  and keeping that  intact is a focus of
 mine,"  said  Dolphins general manager  Jeff Ireland.  "It's a strength and to
 continue  to build  the strength is a focus  of mine. I don't want to let that
 strength become just average. I like where it?s at and keeping that a mainstay
 is important to me."
 
 Starks  spent his first  four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He has 32
 1/2  career sacks  over his  nine-year career,  including 22  during his  five
 seasons with the Dolphins.
 
 
 
 
 03/04 16:38:16 ET