We’ve got plenty of time to go before teams have to decide on franchise tags for the 2013 season, but the Dolphins are reportedly thinking ahead.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Dolphins will use the franchise tag on left tackle Jake Long if they can’t reach agreement on a long-term extension. There are no contract talks currently underway as Long enters the final year of his rookie contract which will pay him $11.2 million this season.
Long, the first overall pick of the 2008 Draft, will likely be looking for a contract in the neighborhood of the seven-year, $84 million extension that Joe Thomas signed with the Browns in 2011. Long hasn’t been quite as good as Thomas and he’s had some nagging injuries over the last few years, which could complicate that pursuit. The Dolphins aren’t going to have an easy time finding a replacement of Long’s caliber, though, so there should be interest in finding a number that works on the team’s end.
Jackson also reports that the team has not opened talks with defensive end Randy Starks, running back Reggie Bush or tight end Anthony Fasano either. All three players are entering the final year of their contracts, as are cornerback Sean Smith and wide receiver Brian Hartline.