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Steelers Looking to Grab Either Starks or Smith Before Free Agency


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.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. mark

    February 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    If I had to make the decision, I would take Starks over Smith. If I had to base it on anything it is that Smith is just not healthy enough to deserve a long, expensive contract. As an athlete, albeit I am not on the level of a professional,I have had back surgeries and disc removal along with plenty of steroid injections. Since my last one, I have not been the same strength wise. I cant imagine playing that position after many back injuries and surgery that Smith will ever perform at a high level again. Imagine the fall-out if they sign him to a big deal and he got hurt and missed significant time again? or plays at a poor level? or is forced to retire? Im sure he would have to pass a physical, but that doesnt insure a long career either.

  2. Jay

    February 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I like Starks, I like his size and he is right at about the age that someone in his position becomes really GOOD at lateral movement in pass protection (unless of course we’re talking about a very high first round pick and even those guys find room to improve). I think Starks can only get better from here whereas Mavel might not only be a health liability but may also have his best playing days behind him.

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