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83-Steelers-43
02-20-2008, 06:08 PM
Steelers put transition tag on Starks
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - The Steelers have put the transition tag on Max Starks, who becomes a free agent at the end of the month, though that doesn't guarantee the offensive tackle will be with the team next season.

By using the transition tag on Starks the Steelers have the right to match any contract offer that is made to him during the free-agent signing period.

The Steelers would not receive any compensation if they decline to match an offer that is made to Starks. If Starks does not sign with another team he will receive in 2008 the average salary of what the 10 highest-paid offensive lineman were paid last season, which was roughly $6.9 million.

Starks lost his starting job at right tackle last season to Willie Colon but proved to be invaluable to the Steelers.

He filled in for Marvel Smith at left tackle when the latter was sidelined with back problems, and he also played tight end and on the kick-block unit of special teams.

Starks missed the Steelers' 31-29 loss to Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card game because of a knee injury.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_553414.html

tony hipchest
02-20-2008, 06:15 PM
Steelers put transition tag on Starks
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - The Steelers have put the transition tag on Max Starks, who becomes a free agent at the end of the month, though that doesn't guarantee the offensive tackle will be with the team next season.

By using the transition tag on Starks the Steelers have the right to match any contract offer that is made to him during the free-agent signing period.

The Steelers would not receive any compensation if they decline to match an offer that is made to Starks. :confused: If Starks does not sign with another team he will receive in 2008 the average salary of what the 10 highest-paid offensive lineman were paid last season, which was roughly $6.9 million. :jawdrop:

Starks lost his starting job at right tackle last season to Willie Colon but proved to be invaluable to the Steelers.

He filled in for Marvel Smith at left tackle when the latter was sidelined with back problems, and he also played tight end and on the kick-block unit of special teams.

Starks missed the Steelers' 31-29 loss to Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card game because of a knee injury.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_553414.html

:huh: why not just get a deal done with him? a sign and trade perhaps? im really confused by this. by placing this tag they either lose him with no compensation or owe him $6.9 mil for 1 year????

crazy stuff. i guess demand for his services are through the roof. (then again, if he were thrown into this years draft he'd probably be a 1st round pick.)

FourThreeMafia
02-20-2008, 06:45 PM
Its alot of money for Starks, but I actually dont have a huge problem with this. This gives us another year to see if he is actually getting better or if he is still the same old Max Starks. Id rather them do this then sign him to a long term contract that he would never live up to.

paw-n-maul-u
02-20-2008, 07:01 PM
wtf? he doesnt start because he loses his job. Then we pay him top ten money if noone signs him, and get nothing in return for him???

I'm just as confused as you are Tony. Why wouldnt we just sign him. or atleast put a tender on him to get something back?? can we even do that? I guess it's a moot point now.

So then bengals sign him to a 4 year 25 mill deal, we get nothing?

Or, noone signs him, and we pay someone who has never lived up to expectations, actually LOST his job last year, top 10 money? wtf?

i dont get this at all. how the hell could we even get anything for him. Maybe we put in one of those clauses? didnt hutchinson get transition tagged? Then seattle got SCREWED. we could easily get poison pilled just like the Hawks.

I don't like this at all.

Stlrs4Life
02-20-2008, 07:30 PM
Very dumb move. Man, sometimes you wonder?

FourThreeMafia
02-20-2008, 07:42 PM
wtf? he doesnt start because he loses his job. Then we pay him top ten money if noone signs him, and get nothing in return for him???

I'm just as confused as you are Tony. Why wouldnt we just sign him. or atleast put a tender on him to get something back?? can we even do that? I guess it's a moot point now.

So then bengals sign him to a 4 year 25 mill deal, we get nothing?

Or, noone signs him, and we pay someone who has never lived up to expectations, actually LOST his job last year, top 10 money? wtf?

i dont get this at all. how the hell could we even get anything for him. Maybe we put in one of those clauses? didnt hutchinson get transition tagged? Then seattle got SCREWED. we could easily get poison pilled just like the Hawks.

I don't like this at all.


The Seahawks tagged Hutch and the Vikings put in a poison pill, and lost Hutch.

Starks is nowhere near Hutch's level, so if we do lose him, it wont be a huge loss.

Colon was dreadful at tackle this year. Starks got his weight down and showed some flashes. Starks biggest problem has been his mobilitiy, but he looked better in his time starting this season.

This tag gives us another year to see if he really is coming along. I know some of you think its easy to magically fix an OLine, but it isnt. Starks isnt terrible, he just needs proper coaching. With that and reduced weight, he may finally become a great tackle.

Its better this than signing him to a 5 year contract he may never live up to. It also gives us a year to groom a rookie to take over in 2009.

ajs8207
02-20-2008, 07:54 PM
For the extra $555,000, we could have franchised him and gotten some type of compensation, or at least kept other teams away from him. This baffles me.

Steeldude
02-20-2008, 08:00 PM
i think the steelers realize they can't fill all of their holes along the line in one offseason. they have 4 holes to fill. hopefully starks will be placed at LT, not RT. IMO, i think he does better there. smith was a RT coming out of college wasn't he?

LT - starks
LG - simmons
C - who the hells knows(too bad faneca wants too much $$$)
RG - colon
RT - smith

face it they aren't going to bench simmons with that salary. at LG the steelers can perhaps better utilize use some of his speed for pulling.

starks look more comfortable at LT than RT. then again he could be a turnstile again.

no idea who to place at C. faneca could be another hartings possibly. but we all know the money that faneca wants won't allow him to stay in pitt.

colon is not a tackle, enough said.

i believe smith played RT in college. i don't see anything that you would suggest a dropoff in production by him there.

the steelers will most likely draft OL in the first round. they will probably BPA it between guard and tackle.

ricksteelers55
02-20-2008, 08:14 PM
In fact the Steelers did put the transition tag but it wont cost em anything else than 555,000 $ more

the 6.9 million for 1 year isnt true. and that is the Franchise TAG which of course per team policy isnt going to happen

so there's a mistake with the report,cause they put the ''Transition'' tag .That means it will only give them the right to match or not the offer by other teams.

Again....the FRANCHISE TAG is the one that cost you the average of the Top 10 Players playing at the player's position...but no need to cry cause it's not the Tag they've used.

Bottom line,if any team wants to throw a ''poison pill'' the steelers wont be able to match the offer and they'll lose him for free but at least it wont have cost anything else than 555,000 more to try.

k7brown
02-20-2008, 08:32 PM
hmmm... interesting.

Steeldude
02-20-2008, 08:35 PM
In fact the Steelers did put the transition tag but it wont cost em anything else than 555,000 $ more

the 6.9 million for 1 year isnt true. and that is the Franchise TAG which of course per team policy isnt going to happen

so there's a mistake with the report,cause they put the ''Transition'' tag .That means it will only give them the right to match or not the offer by other teams.

Again....the FRANCHISE TAG is the one that cost you the average of the Top 10 Players playing at the player's position...but no need to cry cause it's not the Tag they've used.

Bottom line,if any team wants to throw a ''poison pill'' the steelers wont be able to match the offer and they'll lose him for free but at least it wont have cost anything else than 555,000 more to try.

rick, a transition player receives a minimum offer of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player's position or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater.

a fanchise player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of April 16, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater.

so starks will receive the average salary of the top ten tackles in the NFL.

Dylan
02-20-2008, 08:36 PM
In fact the Steelers did put the transition tag but it wont cost em anything else than 555,000 $ more

the 6.9 million for 1 year isnt true. and that is the Franchise TAG which of course per team policy isnt going to happen

so there's a mistake with the report,cause they put the ''Transition'' tag .That means it will only give them the right to match or not the offer by other teams.

Again....the FRANCHISE TAG is the one that cost you the average of the Top 10 Players playing at the player's position...but no need to cry cause it's not the Tag they've used.

Bottom line,if any team wants to throw a ''poison pill'' the steelers wont be able to match the offer and they'll lose him for free but at least it wont have cost anything else than 555,000 more to try.

that wouldnt be a bad price for starks at all

19ward86
02-20-2008, 09:04 PM
can someone say "starter", there is no way the rooneys agreed to this without knowing there was a big chance that he would end up starting. i just hope that if he starts at LT and we draft a RT, then smith needs to be traded to losen up the salary cap a little bit more.

FourThreeMafia
02-20-2008, 09:19 PM
can someone say "starter", there is no way the rooneys agreed to this without knowing there was a big chance that he would end up starting. i just hope that if he starts at LT and we draft a RT, then smith needs to be traded to losen up the salary cap a little bit more.

Im thinking that Marvel Smith's back injury might be more severe than we know, and thats why they were desperate to resign Starks. If Smith cant go and we lost Starks, we would have one TRUE tackle on the team in Trai Essex. Willie Colon could play RT, but he is built to play guard. And we will probably draft a lineman, but the Steelers have never been big on putting rookies in from the get go, regardless of position.

Im one of Starks biggest naysayers, but I honestly dont mind this deal, especially if he can keep his weight down and improve on this year. Even if he played RT oppoisite Smith next year, he is better than Willie Colon at RT.

ajs8207
02-20-2008, 09:36 PM
The cost between the transition and franchise tag is 555,000. He's getting paid 6.9 million if he signs the transition offer. The franchise tag price is a little over 7.5 million.

GBMelBlount
02-20-2008, 09:54 PM
?teeldude

i think the steelers realize they can't fill all of their holes along the line in one offseason. they have 4 holes to fill.

It is a tragedy that the obvious problems with the Line were pretty much ignored last year.

Face it, they aren't going to bench simmons with that salary. at LG the steelers can perhaps better utilize use some of his speed for pulling.

Agreed, Simmons was overpaid IMO because we realized we couldn't afford to lose him.

The steelers will most likely draft OL in the first round.

Let's hope so. Early and often.

Lastly, if we give Starks the average of the top 10, Starks could be getting paid +- what the number 5 lineman in the entire league gets paid because it is the average.

So much for thrift.

Not only is our O-line weak but we are now having to overpay to keep them because we ignored the problem last year. Let's not repeat our mistake.

BTW, here is the 2008 tag cost by position:

So what will it cost each team to designate a player with the Transition Tag? The NFLPA has released the following numbers by position:

Quarterbacks: $8,327,000
Offensive linemen: $6,391,000
Defensive ends: $7,075,000
Wide receivers: $5,160,000
Cornerbacks: $4,744,000
Linebackers: $6,144,000
Running backs: $5,153,000
Defensive tackles: $4,463,000
Safeties: $3,592,000
Tight ends: $2,718,000
Punters and kickers: $2,045,000

Note that these numbers correspond with the immediate cap hit associated with designating a player with the Transition Tag.

Preacher
02-20-2008, 11:58 PM
i was wondering why this would happen.. then I think I may have come up with a reason.

... They found out that he MAY be able to play left tackle. They have enough cap room THIS YEAR to take a shot at him. They keep him at LT, and focus on guard and center THIS draft. Next draft, If he works.. they will sign him long term next year. If not, he is gone and they draft a LT and a RG.

If it does work, they have three positions to fill instead four, maybe two if they choose to move Smith to RG, less movement on the back... then they only have to worry about two positions this year... and then work on backfilling positions next year.

BozMan
02-21-2008, 01:13 AM
I like Starks as a versatile backup, but I'm still not sold on his abilities as a starter. We'll see. With this much $ invested, it looks like he won't be on the bench again this coming season.

Preacher
02-21-2008, 01:26 AM
I like Starks as a versatile backup, but I'm still not sold on his abilities as a starter. We'll see. With this much $ invested, it looks like he won't be on the bench again this coming season.

Yep. Thats what makes me think there are plans for him at left tackle... which means Kemo may be moved where... LG?

I hope that is not what we are depended on. I rather he stays as a back up, and we pick up a LG and a Center... move smith to RG.

Rhee Rhee
02-21-2008, 02:41 AM
i dont understand this...

who invented the transition tag?

y invent something when you can just match w/e another team is giving instead of owing him 7 mil...

Rhee Rhee
02-21-2008, 02:42 AM
i was wondering why this would happen.. then I think I may have come up with a reason.

... They found out that he MAY be able to play left tackle. They have enough cap room THIS YEAR to take a shot at him. They keep him at LT, and focus on guard and center THIS draft. Next draft, If he works.. they will sign him long term next year. If not, he is gone and they draft a LT and a RG.

If it does work, they have three positions to fill instead four, maybe two if they choose to move Smith to RG, less movement on the back... then they only have to worry about two positions this year... and then work on backfilling positions next year.

i undertsand this but that much money for a backup??? that only played due to injury???

Galax Steeler
02-21-2008, 03:46 AM
This puzzles me why would we put a transiton tag on him.:jawdrop:

ricksteelers55
02-21-2008, 03:55 AM
Steeldude you were right i was wrong

the transition tag will cost Starks roughly 6.9 $ for the tender.

However it doesnt mean that they will sign him to that number if they can reach something,but it will indeed help us to keep him cause i dont think any team will try to offer him something around those numbers.

Let's hope that big Max could play at the same level he did the year we won SB XL

for those who wants information on Transition Tags

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_tag

Elvis
02-21-2008, 05:16 AM
I like the idea of the Steelers putting this tag on him. It gives us a chance to do some negotiating with him and shows him that we would really like to have him on our team.
:thumbsup:

TackleMeBen
02-21-2008, 06:10 AM
this isnt the fix for the oline i was looking for. i have a feeling that we are going to see our qb on his back again this season. which isnt good.

DACEB
02-21-2008, 06:18 AM
I was waiting for this, and it has come to fruition (although I anticipated the franchise tag). This is a good move, although a little desperate.

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. Many think that the team will sign a rookie or FA and all our problems will go away. I trust the team is making the right decision, unfortunately it's a year too late.

No matter what, imo the team will still draft O-line and this can only improve our depth. Atleast now the team has more options on draft day. To me, the only negative is the fact that we could lose him and get nothing in return.

DACEB
02-21-2008, 06:26 AM
You'all can smack me upside the head later (possibly), but I am excited by this!!

Can anyone say DEFENSIVE DRAFT!!

TackleMeBen
02-21-2008, 06:39 AM
Can anyone say DEFENSIVE DRAFT!!

our defense isnt going to protect ben from getting sacked another 50 times this season?? we need an OLINE that can actually protect ben and not make him run for his life on every play.

GBMelBlount
02-21-2008, 06:41 AM
The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. Many think that the team will sign a rookie or FA and all our problems will go away. I trust the team is making the right decision, unfortunately it's a year too late.

At least now the team has more options on draft day.

I agree, Also, it would be nice IMO if we picked up 2 lineman early because i"m not sure we can rely on "projects" at this point. Unfortunately, even early round picks don't always cut it in the NFL so I really hope we draft smart.

ajs8207
02-21-2008, 08:58 AM
This move has to mean Willie is moving to guard. Am I wrong about this?

drew102e
02-21-2008, 09:00 AM
i think it does mean willie at guard

BlastFurnace
02-21-2008, 09:08 AM
I am very happy with this move. When the post season began, the O-lineman I wanted us to keep were Starks and Essex because of their versatility and because of their strong showing late in the season. I knew Essex would be an easier one to keep, but an attempt to keep Starks is a good one.

If we are actually able to keep both, this gives us good depth on the O-line at both tackle positions, especially with Smith's injuries and age. Let's say no-one signs Starks, a $6 Million+ salary will not be sitting on the bench. What that tells us is that he is going to start at RT again and that Colon will probably move inside to replace Faneca.

What becomes interesting now is what will the Steelers pay Kemo to keep him...if they decide to. I think Kemo can be a decent Guard in this league, but with Simmons and Colon playing there, Kemo will be a backup again.

Dino 6 Rings
02-21-2008, 10:37 AM
Please...someone tell me who the heck is Snapping the Effing ball next year.

We all agree, Oline is the most important thing in Football. Ask the Pats how their oline did in the SB. you have to have a solid Oline to compete.

Oline starts at Center. For 25 years we were good at oline because we had great centers, Webster, Dawson, Hartings...now what? Mahan? This Starks move, I believe really puts the emphasis on us drafting a Center or at least a guy that can play Center. Mike Pollack is listed as the top Center in this years draft. We may be able to grab a Tackle in the 1st round and then a Center in the 2nd. Do like last year and address the Oline for years to come in one draft. We sure aren't hurting for linebackers.

GBMelBlount
02-21-2008, 11:28 AM
We all agree, Oline is the most important thing in Football. Ask the Pats how their oline did in the SB. you have to have a solid Oline to compete.


O-line certainly isn't glamorous but good lineman are certainly in demand. Just look at the salaries even an average lineman commands.

Dino 6 Rings
02-21-2008, 11:41 AM
O-line certainly isn't glamorous but good lineman are certainly in demand. Just look at the salaries even an average lineman commands.


really its about time those guys are recognized for the years of battling they put in for the league. What's more important, a Safety or a Center?

Center...to me, 2nd most important position in any offense.

aclark99
02-21-2008, 11:54 AM
I think Starks will be playing RT this year with Colon moving inside. Simmons will probably be given the opportunity at center. Kemo will be offered his 1 year tender and he should start at RG. Smith will hopefully be back. This means our line is in shape. I also believe that we might be looking at something different in the 1st Rd of the draft - Safety, OLB, WR, CB or DE/DL. Best available athlete. This will be interesting as it all unfolds. Interesting read about Starks/Tag on profootballtalk.com.

BlastFurnace
02-21-2008, 11:57 AM
Please...someone tell me who the heck is Snapping the Effing ball next year.

We all agree, Oline is the most important thing in Football. Ask the Pats how their oline did in the SB. you have to have a solid Oline to compete.

Oline starts at Center. For 25 years we were good at oline because we had great centers, Webster, Dawson, Hartings...now what? Mahan? This Starks move, I believe really puts the emphasis on us drafting a Center or at least a guy that can play Center. Mike Pollack is listed as the top Center in this years draft. We may be able to grab a Tackle in the 1st round and then a Center in the 2nd. Do like last year and address the Oline for years to come in one draft. We sure aren't hurting for linebackers.

The draft will tell us how the Steelers view Stapleton,Mahan....and possibly Simmons at Center. Possible OL lineups are:

LT: Smith
LG: Kemo
C: Mahan/Stapleton
RG: Simmons
RT: Starks

or

LT: Smith
LG: Kemo
C: Simmons
RG: Colon
RT: Starks

or...if Smith is not ready to go by the beginning of next season...or gets cut (highly unlikely, but we are just guessing here):

LT: Starks
LG: Kemo
C: Mahan/Stapleton
RG: Simmons
RT: Colon

Starks, if he signs long term with us will not be getting signed again to sit. The problem arises if the Steelers think that Mahan: 1. Can play the position...and...2. Is getting paid too much to sit (which worries me because of what we saw last year).

Personally, I hope the 1st day of the draft brings in atleast 2 new O'lineman....one that can play Center and another that is a tackle.

BlastFurnace
02-21-2008, 12:05 PM
I think Starks will be playing RT this year with Colon moving inside. Simmons will probably be given the opportunity at center. Kemo will be offered his 1 year tender and he should start at RG. Smith will hopefully be back. This means our line is in shape. I also believe that we might be looking at something different in the 1st Rd of the draft - Safety, OLB, WR, CB or DE/DL. Best available athlete. This will be interesting as it all unfolds. Interesting read about Starks/Tag on profootballtalk.com.

They make a great point about the poison pill that could occur if someone really wants Max. The one thing that might scare away another team from doing that is if his Miniscus injury scares them away.

tony hipchest
02-21-2008, 12:14 PM
food for thought-

i know the steelers dont like to use the tag and force a player (who wants to leave) to stay. However

transition tag value for starks- $6,895,000
franchise tag value for faneca- $7,455,000

the steelers are essentially saying that starks for 1 year is worth about as much as faneca. it also says that losing starks is a bigger risk than letting faneca go. i would have to assume they are working a long term deal for starks, with plans of letting marvel smith play out his final season like faneca.

if theres 1 thing the steelers know, its the market (as seen by locking up willie parker and ike taylor for below market value now by giving them deals which seemed above market value then). it is a philosophy that has turned warren buffett into 1 of the richest men in the world. its good business sense.

most steelerfans think 15 million for 5 years would be to much to offer for starks. the steelers know there are probably 15 teams that would gladly give him 15 mil in a signing bonus alone.

it still seems like a risky gamble but it is starting to become clearer. sure ben gets sacked alot, but the steelers are in no position to throw the baby out with the bath water.

BlastFurnace
02-21-2008, 01:17 PM
You've obviously never had the privilege of watching a team like the 49ers for the past few years, where every other possession by the opponent features a 40-yard pass interference penalty (and subsequent touchdown).

If you have one sub-par lineman, maybe it throws off your offense's timing a little, but you can try to adjust for it. If you have one bad DB, you're losing every game 35-7.

Dino is referring to the offense only, not the team overall. Personally, I agree with him on the offensive side of the ball. Mahan's subpar play affected the entire OL this season and had Ben running for his life on nearly every single pass attempt. Had we had an immobile QB back there like a Tommy Maddox or Drew Bledsoe, you could have added another 30 sacks to the total.

GBMelBlount
02-21-2008, 01:24 PM
Dino is referring to the offense only, not the team overall. Personally, I agree with him on the offensive side of the ball. Mahan's subpar play affected the entire OL this season and had Ben running for his life on nearly every single pass attempt. Had we had an immobile QB back there like a Tommy Maddox or Drew Bledsoe, you could have added another 30 sacks to the total.

Ben is big, strong, athletic and fights like hell. He is not an "easy" sack IMO.

lilyoder6
02-21-2008, 03:41 PM
i think it was a good ideqa to do this to starks.. we needed to re-sign him and have some confidence that we have some starters at the beginning of the offseason

Dino 6 Rings
02-21-2008, 04:28 PM
You've obviously never had the privilege of watching a team like the 49ers for the past few years, where every other possession by the opponent features a 40-yard pass interference penalty (and subsequent touchdown).

If you have one sub-par lineman, maybe it throws off your offense's timing a little, but you can try to adjust for it. If you have one bad DB, you're losing every game 35-7.


actually, those 40 yard passes don't happen if the Opponent doesn't have a good center or if the Niners have a crappy pass rush. A subpar Center can look good against the Niners weak sauce defense.

But a good defense, can expose a once great Oline that has a weak point, at the Center. Having a weak left tackle is one thing, you can shift blocking schemes and keep a TE in to help, a weak Center...that blows up everything when the defense is good on the front 7.

Steeldude
02-21-2008, 07:04 PM
i think if they do keep starks he will be placed at LT.

now the steelers can concentrate on C or G in the draft. or is smith's back so bad that they still must grab a tackle this season?

where does everone else go?

kemo to RG?
colon at RG?
simmons at LG?
smith at RT?
stapleton at C?

correct me if i am wrong, but don't the steelers pull their LG more than the RG? simmons is quicker than colon or kemo. wouldn't simmons be better value there?

revefsreleets
02-21-2008, 07:56 PM
Starks is a natural LT. He played RT, LT and RG in college, but the place he has always looked best was LT, including this year. But we always had Smith, and now that's a little questionable. Starks will be signed, and he'll be our LT sooner or later.

83-Steelers-43
02-22-2008, 01:47 AM
Desperate Steelers open up wallet for Starks
Friday, February 22, 2008
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Regardless of how many championships they've won and how many multimillion dollar bonuses they've paid, and no matter that they've been one of the most successful franchises in the recent history of the NFL, in the minds of a hard-headed minority that clings to the past, the Steelers are and always have been a cheap organization.

Wonder what those knuckleheads are saying today?

In the aftermath of a contract that will pay Max Starks, a reserve offensive lineman last season, $6,895,000, don't you dare call the Steelers cheap.

Feel free to call them desperate, even stupid if you wish, but no one can call them cheap.

The Steelers labeled Starks, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent, their transition player this week. That designation means they have to give him either a 20 percent increase over his 2007 salary or pay him the average of the top 10 offensive linemen -- whichever is greater.

Since Starks' base salary in 2007 was $1.85 million, the average salary of the top 10 linemen is considerably the higher of the options. As a transition player, Starks is still free to entertain free-agent offers, but the Steelers have the right to match if they want.

So why would the Steelers agree to pay such a handsome salary to a player with such an ordinary resume?

Because he's worth it and because the Steelers have a history of keeping players they believe can help them win.

The marketplace is a funny thing. Starks could not have dreamed of being in this role when he lost his job as starting right tackle in training camp to Willie Colon. He played as a blocking tight end and on some special teams most of the season and did not regularly get back on the field until the 11th game when left tackle Marvel Smith was injured.

Given another chance, after playing poorly there in training camp, Starks resurrected his career. He might not be an All-Pro in the making, but he showed he can capably play left tackle and right tackle, the position he held down when the Steelers won the Super Bowl after the 2005 season.

He's a big guy -- 6 feet 8 and 337 pounds -- who can run. That makes him a player in demand. He was sure to get substantial offers from teams looking for tackles once free agency began. The Steelers sensed this, and knowing their needs on the offensive line were great, realized Starks, regardless of what his role had been, was a valuable player to them.

Not only was the offensive line sometimes lacking last season, it will be losing its best player, Alan Faneca, to free agency. The team could not afford another defection.

Whether the Steelers keep Smith will be determined by the interest other teams have. If he gets an over-the-top offer, the Steelers will probably relinquish his rights. If he gets an offer the Steelers deem appropriate, they'll probably be more than glad to match it.

Under a long-term contract, Starks would be eligible for a signing bonus and that would significantly dilute his affect on the salary cap for 2008. As a transition player, none of his salary can be in the form of a signing bonus.

The Steelers clearly liked what they saw of Starks, who started four of the final six regular-season games in place of Smith. They didn't offer him that kind of money with the intent of having him remain a reserve. He will be given every chance in training camp to win the starting job at right tackle. That challenge could be easier if the Steelers decide to move Colon to guard, a possibility.

Long term, the Steelers could be envisioning Starks as a replacement for Smith, whose contract expires after the 2008 season. Smith will be a nine-year pro when that contract expires. Faneca was a 10-year pro when the Steelers decided re-signing him to a long-term contract would not be a wise move. Since Faneca's resume is far more accomplished than Smith's, it would not be surprising if the Steelers came to that conclusion.

If Colon is moved to guard, he can compete with Chris Kemoeatu for Faneca's old position.

Center Sean Mahan, who had a disappointing season in 2007 after signing a lucrative free-agent contract, also could be in the mix at guard. Some consider it his best position. It is the one where he has started the most games.

Darnell Stapleton, a rookie free agent from Rutgers, who was inactive for every game last season, is highly regarded and could be given a chance to win the job if Mahan is moved. Moving Simmons to center is a possibility, but not likely.

The Steelers will look for offensive linemen high in the draft. They'll also scour the bargain end of the free-agent field for a player who could help them, possibly at center.

But for now, the Steelers got the guy they wanted -- even at that outrageous price.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08053/859555-194.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-22-2008, 01:51 AM
Steelers' Colbert: Easy call on Starks
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 22, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - What seemed like a puzzling move on the surface turned out to be a relatively easy decision for the Steelers, director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Thursday.

The team put the transition tag on Max Starks because it didn't want to lose two proven offensive linemen during the offseason, and the Steelers figured Starks would be easier to sign to a long-term contract than perennial Pro Bowler Alan Faneca, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the month.

The Steelers and Starks' agents have been involved in talks on a long-term contract extension, and Colbert said "that's our goal" as well as that of Starks.

The Steelers and Starks have until late July to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

Starks has the option of signing a one-year deal worth approximately $6.9 million (the average of the top 10 salaries for offensive linemen in 2007) at any time with the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Steelers have the option of matching any offer if Starks signs with another team as a free agent (they would receive no compensation if they decline to match an offer for Starks).

The Steelers could have used the franchise or transition tag on Faneca -- the deadline for teams to use one of those on a player was yesterday -- but Colbert said, "You have to make a decision on what guy is more signable, and in our estimation right now, that's Max."

Faneca's days as a Steeler are nearing an end.

Colbert said the Steelers and Faneca have engaged in talks regarding a long-term contract extension, but it doesn't appear there has been any substance to them.

Faneca will command much more money as a free agent than the Steelers are willing to commit to him -- something that hasn't changed since May when Faneca, unhappy over his contract situation, said the 2007 season would be his last one as a Steeler.

As for the chances of a breakthrough between the Steelers and Faneca before free agency starts Feb. 29, Colbert said, "I would say it's very minimal at this point. That was part of our reason for making the decision on Max."

Colbert said the Steelers' decision to make Starks a transition player didn't have much to do with Marvel Smith's back.

Smith missed a handful of games last season because of an injury that required surgery. Starks filled in admirably for Smith before a knee injury ended his season and could be insurance at left tackle if Smith's recovery hits a snag.

"All indications are that Marvel is going to be fine," Colbert said, "but you really won't know that until training camp."

One thing the Steelers would presumably like to get done before the start of training camp is sign quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a long-term contract extension.

Roethlisberger, who turns 26 next month, still has two years left on his contract. His representatives and the Steelers have been talking about a new contract, and Roethlisberger has said several times that he'd like to spend his entire career in Pittsburgh.

"It's progressing, I'd say, very well," Colbert said. "It's a big deal for him, it's a big deal for us and those things, they take time. All signs are positive."

Breaking it down

Director of football operations Kevin Colbert is part of a large Steelers contingent that is in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Colbert said Thursday that the strongest positions in the upcoming NFL draft are (in no particular) offensive tackle, cornerback, running back and wide receivers. Here are the top four prospects at each positions according to Scout, Inc.'s Todd McShay:

Offensive tackle

1. Jake Long, Michigan
2. Ryan Clady, Boise State
3. Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
4. Jeff Otah, Pitt

Cornerback

1. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
2. Leodis McKelvin, Troy
3. Aqib Talib, Kansas
4. Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech

Running back

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas

Wide receiver

1. Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma
2. Mario Manningham, Michigan
3. DeSean Jackson, California
4. Limas Sweed, Texas

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_553663.html

tony hipchest
02-22-2008, 09:26 AM
wow. pretty flattering when a writer cribbs one of my posts (#39) to put together an article. :chuckle: is the postgazette hiring?

Desperate Steelers open up wallet for Starks
Friday, February 22, 2008
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Regardless of how many championships they've won and how many multimillion dollar bonuses they've paid, and no matter that they've been one of the most successful franchises in the recent history of the NFL, in the minds of a hard-headed minority that clings to the past, the Steelers are and always have been a cheap organization.

Wonder what those knuckleheads are saying today?

In the aftermath of a contract that will pay Max Starks, a reserve offensive lineman last season, $6,895,000, don't you dare call the Steelers cheap.

Feel free to call them desperate, even stupid if you wish, but no one can call them cheap.


The Steelers labeled Starks, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent, their transition player this week. That designation means they have to give him either a 20 percent increase over his 2007 salary or pay him the average of the top 10 offensive linemen -- whichever is greater.

Since Starks' base salary in 2007 was $1.85 million, the average salary of the top 10 linemen is considerably the higher of the options. As a transition player, Starks is still free to entertain free-agent offers, but the Steelers have the right to match if they want.

So why would the Steelers agree to pay such a handsome salary to a player with such an ordinary resume?

Because he's worth it and because the Steelers have a history of keeping players they believe can help them win. the steelers are essentially saying that starks for 1 year is worth about as much as faneca. it also says that losing starks is a bigger risk than letting faneca go.


The marketplace is a funny thing. if theres 1 thing the steelers know, its the market (as seen by locking up willie parker and ike taylor for below market value now by giving them deals which seemed above market value then). . Starks could not have dreamed of being in this role when he lost his job as starting right tackle in training camp to Willie Colon. He played as a blocking tight end and on some special teams most of the season and did not regularly get back on the field until the 11th game when left tackle Marvel Smith was injured.

Given another chance, after playing poorly there in training camp, Starks resurrected his career. He might not be an All-Pro in the making, but he showed he can capably play left tackle and right tackle, the position he held down when the Steelers won the Super Bowl after the 2005 season.

He's a big guy -- 6 feet 8 and 337 pounds -- who can run. That makes him a player in demand. He was sure to get substantial offers from teams looking for tackles once free agency began. most steelerfans think 15 million for 5 years would be to much to offer for starks. the steelers know there are probably 15 teams that would gladly give him 15 mil in a signing bonus alone. The Steelers sensed this, and knowing their needs on the offensive line were great, realized Starks, regardless of what his role had been, was a valuable player to them. it is a philosophy that has turned warren buffett into 1 of the richest men in the world. its good business sense

Not only was the offensive line sometimes lacking last season, it will be losing its best player, Alan Faneca, to free agency. The team could not afford another defection. sure ben gets sacked alot, but the steelers are in no position to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Whether the Steelers keep Smith will be determined by the interest other teams have. If he gets an over-the-top offer, the Steelers will probably relinquish his rights. If he gets an offer the Steelers deem appropriate, they'll probably be more than glad to match it.

Under a long-term contract, Starks would be eligible for a signing bonus and that would significantly dilute his affect on the salary cap for 2008. As a transition player, none of his salary can be in the form of a signing bonus.

The Steelers clearly liked what they saw of Starks, who started four of the final six regular-season games in place of Smith. They didn't offer him that kind of money with the intent of having him remain a reserve. He will be given every chance in training camp to win the starting job at right tackle. That challenge could be easier if the Steelers decide to move Colon to guard, a possibility.

Long term, the Steelers could be envisioning Starks as a replacement for Smith, whose contract expires after the 2008 season. Smith will be a nine-year pro when that contract expires. Faneca was a 10-year pro when the Steelers decided re-signing him to a long-term contract would not be a wise move. Since Faneca's resume is far more accomplished than Smith's, it would not be surprising if the Steelers came to that conclusion. i would have to assume they are working a long term deal for starks, with plans of letting marvel smith play out his final season like faneca.


If Colon is moved to guard, he can compete with Chris Kemoeatu for Faneca's old position.

Center Sean Mahan, who had a disappointing season in 2007 after signing a lucrative free-agent contract, also could be in the mix at guard. Some consider it his best position. It is the one where he has started the most games.

Darnell Stapleton, a rookie free agent from Rutgers, who was inactive for every game last season, is highly regarded and could be given a chance to win the job if Mahan is moved. Moving Simmons to center is a possibility, but not likely.

The Steelers will look for offensive linemen high in the draft. They'll also scour the bargain end of the free-agent field for a player who could help them, possibly at center.

But for now, the Steelers got the guy they wanted -- even at that outrageous price. it still seems like a risky gamble but it is starting to become clearer.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08053/859555-194.stm

fansince'76
02-25-2008, 08:40 AM
wow. pretty flattering when a writer cribbs one of my posts (#39) to put together an article. :chuckle: is the postgazette hiring?

Desperate Steelers open up wallet for Starks
Friday, February 22, 2008
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Considering that it was Smizik who wrote it, I don't think it would be too far-fetched to believe he cribs half, if not more, of his material from blogs and message boards.

lamberts-lost-tooth
02-25-2008, 08:50 AM
wow. pretty flattering when a writer cribbs one of my posts (#39) to put together an article. :chuckle: is the postgazette hiring?

WHOA!!!....you're not kidding...what a freaking HACK!!!!...but to be honest..I would rather read your posts then his anyway.

SteelersJW
02-25-2008, 05:48 PM
If he's going to be making a top salary in offensive tackles around the league then he better be starting! He did a great job filling in at the end of the year this past season and I really don't understand how he was beat out by Willie Colon. I just hope he's not a dissapointment.

Lord Stiller
02-25-2008, 06:40 PM
If he's going to be making a top salary in offensive tackles around the league then he better be starting! He did a great job filling in at the end of the year this past season and I really don't understand how he was beat out by Willie Colon. I just hope he's not a dissapointment.

for some reason, Starks struggles at RT but is good at LT, coincidentally Marvel Smith is a better RT than LT

solution: put Starks at LT and Marvel Smith at RT. (am i a genius?)