Looks like the Steelers are making their decisions about what O-linemen they want to sign before free agency starts on February 27th. Today’s Pittsbugh Tribune-Review says that it will come down to either Max Starks or Marvel Smith. Here is the report:
The Steelers will likely make a push to retain either Max Starks or Marvel Smith prior to the start of the free-agent signing period at the end of the month. Both are unrestricted free agents, as is Trai Essex. If the Steelers lose all three during free agency it will leave them without a left tackle who has any NFL game experience on their roster. “Sometimes you can let a guy test the market when you have an alternative in the house,” Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Monday. “But when your alternatives are free agents as well, that’s a little unnerving. It makes you feel uneasy.”
The Steelers used the franchise tag on Starks last year — it allowed them to match any offer made to him by another team and receive compensation if he signed elsewhere — and they could do the same thing this year. Starks made almost $6.9 million last season, and he would be guaranteed $8.45 million next season if the Steelers use the franchise tag on him, or $7.74 million if they designate him a transition player.
I think the team at the end of the day is going to end up signing Starks, who played well at the end of the year, and has proven his worth on an O-line that played well in the last half of the season.
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