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Author Topic: Starks Franchised  (Read 1953 times)
PghSteel-43
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« on: Feb 19, 2009 at 14:49 »

Steelers franchise Starks
Thursday, February 19, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Steelers have placed the franchise tag on offensive tackle Max Starks, a move that will keep him from entering free agency and guarantee him $8.451 million in salary -- the average of the NFL's top five offensive linemen -- in the 2009 season.

The Steelers will try to work out a long-term deal with Starks, a No. 3 draft choice in 2004 who started 11 games last season at left tackle.

It is the second year in a row the Steelers have used a tag to keep Starks from becoming an unrestricted free agent. He was named a transition player last season, even though he wasn't a starter, and was paid $6.9 million.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09050/950325-66.stm
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jonzr
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 14:58 »

Starks has to be loving this.  Almost $7M last season and $8.5 this one!?  Hell, from his perspective why ever sign a long term contract?  Time to go foreclosure shopping!
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 15:12 »

I know this will be met with near-unanimous derision, but I was on the shitter today and came to the conclusion that it was inevitable.  First, there is a dearth of LT FAs: who would we sign to come in and do what Max did as cheaply?  Second, letting Max walk would leave us with options like Essex and Smith and Hills, which, do I really need to say anything here?  Third, Max is a decent but unspectacular OT, certainly not the blind-side protector of the franchise I'd want long-term.  Fourth, our biggest immediate need is along the IOL (OG, C), which coupled with the fact that the plug-in ready OTs will be off the board by 1.32 or an easy-trade up, indicates we will draft a tackle who needs a year.

Could be Britton or Beatty, but more and more I think we're looking at Fenuki Tupou, and might need to move up in R2 to get him.  Possibly a guy like Kropog if we think he can beef up in a year and hold the POA better, but right now he looks more pure ZBS and a bit flyweight.  Jason Watkins is a guy in R2-3 for us (most mocks have him R3-4), and he played some LT at Florida, reminds me a bit of Max.  He could be a nice pickup in addition to Fenuki, but I would hope not as the LT of the future.  Unless they still think Hills can be.

Another possibility is they are working out a long-term deal, which in some ways would be the best idea of all.  We could have more draft flexibility with developmental LTs, and concentrate on IOL and DL early.
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RoundTripperKipper
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 15:18 »

This is a good move in my opinion. I don't think Starks was a glaring issue. The guy playing next to him was the hole in the line. Starks has more than held his own starting for 2 super bowl teams on both the left and right side of the line. He ended up in Tomlin's doghouse for 2007, but played well in 2008 when they needed it.

He does get beat off the edge on occasion, but look at who he has to block most of the year. A more competent LG (Mack, Unger, Robinson) will make him even better.

This also gives the Steeler the flexibility to draft any position along the o-line in the draft rather than being pinned down by losing all four OT's.
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 15:44 »

I don't think they're losing four tackles, even if Max had left.  Smith is done.  Essex may stick here -- can't imagine a ton of demand, and we've started negotiations; if he thinks he's in line for a starting gig somewhere, dream on, Tubby.  Colon is RFA, so he sticks rather painlessly.
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Merman1983
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 16:01 »

It was inevitable but I hate using half our available cap space on Starks. No way he signs long-term either, he's taking the 8.5 next year and hitting the open market after.

I think they resign Essex also, and I like him as a backup. I don't remember any games where he was called upon where he completely shit the bed, and he might be a better RT than stupid Colon.

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 16:02 »

So, will this be another insurance policy where he rides the pine until injury forces him into the lineup?  And if not, back to LT?
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Merman1983
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 16:04 »

So, will this be another insurance policy where he rides the pine until injury forces him into the lineup?  And if not, back to LT?


I think he earned his stripes this year, whether the coaching staff likes it or not. Not like they have any other options.
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 16:28 »

I'd love to see them move Starks back to RT...

Huh? ... Colon/Stapleton, Hartwig, Simmons, Starks.

That leaves one immidiate hole to fill, and at least a stop gap measure for Guard for 2009.  Then what to do at LT... draft? FA? Essex/Hills?
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 19, 2009 at 17:38 »

Boo.

I understand why they did it but still, boo.

Hopefully they can work out something long term since they've tagged him.
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