The 10-year veteran believes he's being penalized for skipping voluntary organized team activities to protest the fact that he didn't receive a multiyear contract offer (Starks was assigned the team's franchise tag earlier this offseason).
"I've been there before," Starks said Monday, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "I'm not going to say nothing bad about it. It is what it is. I wasn't here, so I guess this is my punishment."
Starks started all 16 games last season at either tackle or end and has started 63 of his last 64 games as a Dolphin. With Olivier Vernon and rookie Dion Jordan (the eventual starter) taking those left defensive end reps opposite Cameron Wake, the opportunities have shrunk, increasing the competition.
Starks, 29, isn't concerned about coming off the bench.
"The year I was a backup (2008), I was one of the most dominant players on the defensive line," he said. "If that's the case, I have the potential do it again."
The Dolphins' three-man rotation is one of the best in the NFL. Regardless of who comes off the bench, there will be plenty of snaps in Miami. Starks might believe his starting status could have some effect on his next contract, but play outweighs lineup cards.