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Fernando Medina-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins will likely use franchise tag

The Miami Dolphins have a few options with the franchise tag this offseason, and many have wondered if the Dolphins will indeed franchise one of their three big-name free agents in DT Randy Starks, LT Jake Long, and CB Sean Smith. Plenty of people have speculated that Smith could be the guy, as he is a young corner with some potential. But Smith is also inconsistent, not a true No. 1 corner, and he would, of course, not like to be given the tag.

Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland told the Miami Herald, “There’s certainly a likelihood we could use it,” when asked if the Dolphins would use the franchise tag this offseason.

Long can be pretty much eliminated as a candidate, since he is no longer an elite left tackle due to injuries. It would also be asinine to pay him over $15 million in a season, even if the Dolphins tackle situation is far settled at this point in time. Starks seems like the best choice for the tag in my eyes, only because I’m not sold on Smith and don’t believe Long is worth tagging.

Armando Salguerro reported that the Dolphins would not tag Sean Smith, so it seems that Starks is the most likely candidate to be tagged. I would be shocked if Long was given the tag and surprised if Smith was as well.

The Dolphins reportedly sent 55 team employees to the NFL Combine this year, which shows the Dolphins and Ireland’s desire to have an excellent draft in 2013. Ireland told Salguerro that there are prospects in the trenches and at safety that he likes, and most people believe that the Dolphins will look closely at tackles in this year’s draft.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Jake Long Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins Randy Starks Sean Smith

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