Critics of the Browns' limited free agency activity have noted the team's need for a defensive tackle. The Browns responded today by signing a veteran interior lineman.
Former Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with the Browns today, according to multiple reports.
Randy Starks on a two-year deal to #Browns, per source. Starks visited Saturday to meet head coach and GM. @JasonLaCanfora 1st reported deal— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 16, 2015
The Dolphins released the 31-year-old defensive tackle on March 11, a day after the club locked up Ndamukong Suh. Starks was set to earn $5 million in 2015, with a cap hit of $5 million, according to Sports Illustrated.
Starks joins John Hughes and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, and potentially Phil Taylor, at defensive tackle. Starks has 11 years of NFL experience with the Titans and Dolphins, more than the other two combined.
Over the course of his lengthy NFL career, Starks has recorded 278 tackles, 41 sacks, and 21 passes defensed. The University of Maryland product has declined in the last two seasons since his last trip to the Pro Bowl in 2012. Starks has become a less effective run-stopper, but remains an asset for his pass rushing ability. The 6'3, 312 pound lineman tabbed 4.5 sacks in 2014.
Defensive tackle was undoubtedly a position of need for the Browns heading into the offseason, especially in the team's 3-4 scheme. By extending Hughes' contract and signing Starks, the Browns have attempted to solve the problem at the position.
DBN's resident defensive tackle expert Tim Miller evaluated the signing, stating that Starks "could start."
@JoeGinley In my grading system (st/pn/pr-zn) Starks rates 8/8//8-7 WT8. For reference, Taylor is 7/8/7-6 WT7. Could start health-permitting— Tim A. Miller (@Bumblyjack) March 16, 2015
Starks can also play NT, tho struggles vs double teams. NT8 grade (Kitchen NT7) b/c brings added threat of shooting gap & getting pressure.— Tim A. Miller (@Bumblyjack) March 16, 2015
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