While his teammates push tackling sleds and sweat through sprints at the Dolphins' Organized Team Activities hopefully Randy Starks is somewhere in the tropics getting his three Rs - rest, relaxation and rejuvenation – without fretting the fourth, retaliation, from the Dolphins.
Starks, whom the Dolphins placed the franchise tag on this offseason, guaranteeing him a one-year deal worth $8.45 million, has taken a stance. The nine-year veteran is turning 30 at the end of this season and wants one last multi-year contract.
Until he gets it Starks plans to skip the NFL's voluntary work, and he deserves a round of applause for it.
"I wanted to stay here and I've said that from the jump, but there's a business side to this game," Starks told the Sun-Sentinel earlier this spring.
As important as NFL teams want to make the offseasons "voluntary" workout seem, the league's workforce needs to let these executives know they mean business when it comes to handling their business.
Too often professional sports leagues talk about "loyalty" and "commitment" to the organization, but only when it is convenient.
They typically use those phrases to pressure players. No league is better at it than the NFL, where most contracts aren't guaranteed, and the offseason is filled with months of "voluntary" workouts that are really mandatory, unless you don't want your roster spot, or starting job.
Starks is obviously willing to give his up because the Dolphins are making sure the world knows Jared Odrick is getting comfortable in his spot.
Last offseason Cameron Wake got a five-year, $34 million contract that featured $17 million in guaranteed money. But that didn't come without some arm twisting. Wake, a two-time Pro Bowler, also got the team's attention by turning his back on the OTAs.
More players can, and should take that approach, calling the NFL's bluff.
Starting strong safety Reshad Jones tried, skipping one day of voluntary practice last week before the pressure to attend practice in shorts forced employee No. 20 to get back on the factory line.
Jones, who is coming off a breakout season, and entering the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie, wants a new deal. He deserves one that pays him three times more than the $1.3 million he's due in 2013.
But Jones also doesn't want to jeopardize his status as the safety the Dolphins' secondary is build around. There is a fine line this 25-year old must walk to that big payday.
Honor the final year of your contract some fans might say to Jones, ignoring the fact the Dolphins failed to honor the final year on most of the contracts they've done for free agents since 2008.
"I know if I continue to do what I'm doing, work my butt off, everything will work itself out," Jones said last week.
All Jones needs to do is look around the locker room to see the cost of being soft on an NFL team.
Davone Bess' loyalty and dedication didn't stop Miami from trading him to Cleveland during the draft.
There wasn't a better leader on last year's team than tailback Reggie Bush, whom the Dolphins didn't even make an offer to because they had younger, cheaper options.
Dan Carpenter has had a respectable career so far, and has served as the team's go-to guy when it comes to the team's charitable ventures. But that didn't stop Miami from drafting his replacement and masquerading like the team will hold a fair competition during training camp.
"I would have been more surprised if there wasn't someone [added]," Carpenter said about his camp battle with rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis, a former Gator who will make one-fifth Carpenter's salary in 2013.
But those decisions are acceptable, even justifiable because they fall under the business side of the NFL. Problem is the NFL is full of double standards.
Unlike Starks and Wake, Jones doesn't have elite player status. He isn't a two-time Pro Bowler like Miami's two defensive linemen, so forcing the organization's hand to land a multi-year deal won't be easy.
The team needs to see him excel in the new zone defense. But even if Jones does thrive, and stays healthy for a full year, there will be no guarantees he gets handsomely rewarded because the same franchise tag Starks wanted to avoid looms, and we might as well write Jones' name down in pencil for that tag if he recreates his impressive 2012 season.
That's why if there was a time for Jones to get management's attention, force them to the table, it is now. That time is the offseason, where the work is voluntary, but taking care of business is mandatory.Copyright © 2015, CT Now