Dolphins add Earl Mitchell, re-sign Randy Starks to defensive line

Earl Mitchell has made 81 tackles and missed only one game in his four-year NFL career.

John Rieger

DAVIE, Fla. — Earl Mitchell got rich by playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. He now hopes to win a Super Bowl in the Miami Dolphins’ 4-3 scheme.

He’ll join a defensive line rotation that will continue to feature Randy Starks, who agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal according to FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Mike Garafalo. Starks, 30, has made two Pro Bowls during his six seasons in Miami.

Mitchell, 26, spoke at a press conference Wednesday announcing his free-agent signing with Miami. The former Houston Texans star reportedly inked a four-year, $16 million contact ($9 million guaranteed).

"I definitely want to be part of a 4-3 team," Mitchell said. "I think it’ll definitely give me the opportunity to showcase my skill … where I can be able to make more plays and be a part of just getting after the quarterback."

Mitchell, Houston’s third-round pick in 2010, had 81 tackles (28 solo) in four seasons with the Texans. He has missed only one game (as a rookie) in his career and became a starter last season.

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"I’m here to work," he said. "I’m coming to produce, and I’m definitely trying to help this team every day figure out how to get us to a Super Bowl. That’s all my focus. That’s my objective. That’s the only reason why I play this game."

The 6-3, 300-pound Mitchell led the nose tackle position in tackles last season. He ran a 4.75-second 40 as a 296-pounder at the NFL combine.

Hickey said he liked what he saw of Mitchell on video and what he heard about the player’s make-up from new Dolphins offensive line coach John Benton, who was with Mitchell in Houston.

"A young player on the rise and, we felt, had great things ahead of him," Hickey said.

Mitchell played in a 4-3 scheme during his final two years of college at Arizona, where he was an offensive lineman through his sophomore season. He since has developed the reputation of being a run stopper.

"I play football, man," he said. "I’m just trying to play as hard as I can. If that gets categorized as that, then so be it. At the end of the day, I’m trying to make tackles and make plays."

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Mitchell added he was "excited" to be joining a defensive line that already included returning veterans Jared Odrick and Cameron Wake.

"I know they’re more than capable of getting to the quarterback," Mitchell said, "I’m just trying to be part of that success."

Earlier Wednesday, the Dolphins announced the signing of free-agent left tackle Branden Albert. FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Mike Garafalo reported the deal was worth $47 million over five years with $26 million guaranteed.

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