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NKySteeler
06-09-2008, 06:39 PM
Starks hopes to make big impact
After signing record contract, tackle must fight for starting spot in lineup
Monday, June 09, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Normally when a team bestows the kind of money the Steelers did on Max Starks, it comes with much fanfare, usually a news conference.

The Steelers made Starks their second-highest paid player without even a photo op, then told him to go win a job.

Starks has been doing that all spring, trying to win back his old job of starting right tackle. He lost it to Willie Colon last summer, which set off an unusual set of circumstances that culminated when Starks signed a one-year contract for nearly $7 million in April.

Six weeks later, he's taking snaps at right and left tackle but remains the No. 3 tackle on the team behind starters Colon and Marvel Smith. The real competition, if there is one, will occur in training camp at Saint Vincent College.

"He's establishing his role," coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's the same thing I've said, and I mean what I say -- he's a starter-capable offensive lineman. We're able to keep him in the fold. He's working like others are working and they'll establish their roles in Latrobe."

It's normally not difficult to determine who the favored players are in competitions -- look at their contracts. The Steelers did not give Sean Mahan a $4 million signing bonus as part of his five-year, $17 million contract last season to back up Chukky Okobi at center.

Starks' case is different. It would come as little surprise, even to him, if he filled the same role he did last season, when he earned $1.85 million on a one-year contract.

"It doesn't surprise me," Starks said. "It's not like, 'OK, we give you this money, guess what? We're giving you a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's factory, you know, a starting job.' It's going to be something that has to be earned."

Starks earned the job for two seasons -- one of them ending with a Super Bowl victory -- before a new coaching staff removed him in favor of Colon last season. Yet now he will make more than any offensive lineman, second on the team only to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the coaches' opinions have not seemed to change on Colon being their right tackle.

Yet, Steelers management, knowing it would lose Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, did not want to let Starks walk away as an unrestricted free agent this year, especially after he showed late last season that he could capably fill in at left tackle. There were only two ways to keep him in Pittsburgh: sign him to a long-term deal or make him a transition player.

They did the latter, which required them to pay him precisely $6.89 million, the amount stipulated for an offensive tackle designated a transition player. It's the average of the 10 highest-paid tackles in the NFL.

Had another team signed him, the Steelers could have matched, but he received no offers. They have said they'd like to sign him to a long-term deal but there have been no discussions. It will be difficult to do that anyway because he's guaranteed $7 million over one season and can become a free agent again next year.

So, the player with the biggest one-year contract in the Steelers' history may not even start. He reports to work every day, just as he did a year ago for what were then his new bosses.

"That's all I can do," Starks said. "Every day, you're one snap away from being a starter, that's what you learn in the NFL. It could be like last year; I didn't start the whole season and ended up starting four games at left tackle. You never know what twists fate has for you. I just stay optimistic and wait for whatever opportunities are presented."

Starks played left tackle the previous two weeks in practice as Smith missed time to be with his wife while she gave birth. But he knows if he's going to start it would have to come at right tackle, barring injuries.

"We're not having a real opportunity to see where I fit in because we've had guys missing," Starks said. "Marvel was gone for two weeks. The time we could have started to see where I fit in has been delayed."

steelz09
06-09-2008, 07:29 PM
I'm still dumbfounded as to why we signed Starks to that type of contract. Simply put, Signing Starks to a 1 year tender of 6.9 million is probably the worst signing by the Steelers in the last decade.

NKySteeler
06-09-2008, 07:36 PM
I'm still dumbfounded as to why we signed Starks to that type of contract. Simply put, Signing Starks to a 1 year tender of 6.9 million is probably the worst signing by the Steelers in the last decade.

I really gotta agree J.... Maybe it was just simple paranoia after losing Faneca, but it just doesn't make sense to me either... All I can say is; "he better produce big time!"...

Ozey74
06-09-2008, 07:57 PM
I'm still dumbfounded as to why we signed Starks to that type of contract. Simply put, Signing Starks to a 1 year tender of 6.9 million is probably the worst signing by the Steelers in the last decade.

I really gotta agree J.... Maybe it was just simple paranoia after losing Faneca, but it just doesn't make sense to me either... All I can say is; "he better produce big time!"...


The Steelers traditionally have shown that they know what they are doing in these types of matters. Obviously this will end up as bad as many fear and this will be a rare blemish on the Steelers FO, or Starks will prove everyone wrong and play up to the contract.

Like most, I'm skeptical :?

RuthlessBurgher
06-09-2008, 09:15 PM
"It doesn't surprise me," Starks said. "It's not like, 'OK, we give you this money, guess what? We're giving you a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's factory, you know, a starting job.' It's going to be something that has to be earned."

Augustus Gloop earned his golden ticket by eating more chocolate than everyone else. Judging by Max's weight problems in the past, here's hoping that Max has a different role model from that movie. Veruca Salt? Mike Teevee? Violet Beauregard? Charlie Bucket?

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40819000/jpg/_40819008_loop203.jpg http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue435/labnotes2.jpg http://www.rblewis.net/technology/EDU506/WebQuests/wonka/agustus.jpg http://www.nfl.com/static/content/public/image/getty/headshot/S/T/A/STA603966.jpg

BURGH86STEEL
06-09-2008, 09:19 PM
It is only a one year deal and better to have some insurance than none.

NKySteeler
06-09-2008, 09:20 PM
"It doesn't surprise me," Starks said. "It's not like, 'OK, we give you this money, guess what? We're giving you a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's factory, you know, a starting job.' It's going to be something that has to be earned."

Augustus Gloop earned his golden ticket by eating more chocolate than everyone else. Judging by Max's weight problems in the past, here's hoping that Max has a different role model from that movie. Veruca Salt? Mike Teevee? Violet Beauregard? Charlie Bucket?

http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue435/labnotes2.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40819000/jpg/_40819008_loop203.jpg http://www.rblewis.net/technology/EDU506/WebQuests/wonka/agustus.jpg http://www.kidsoffthecouch.com/controlpanel/images/adv/Secondary_54.jpg http://www.nfl.com/static/content/public/image/getty/headshot/S/T/A/STA603966.jpg

Where's the "Umpa Lupas"?.............. :lol:

NKySteeler
06-09-2008, 09:23 PM
It is only a one year deal and better to have some insurance than none.

...But it's a helluva lot to pay out just for a possibility, isn't it?.... Didn't Faneca only want 7mil or so? (...and yea, he wanted a long-term deal)... At either rate, as long as he actually produces this season, I won't have any issue with it.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-09-2008, 09:47 PM
Starks hopes to make big impact
After signing record contract, tackle must fight for starting spot in lineup
Monday, June 09, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Normally when a team bestows the kind of money the Steelers did on Max Starks, it comes with much fanfare, usually a news conference.

The Steelers made Starks their second-highest paid player without even a photo op, then told him to go win a job.

Starks has been doing that all spring, trying to win back his old job of starting right tackle. He lost it to Willie Colon last summer, which set off an unusual set of circumstances that culminated when Starks signed a one-year contract for nearly $7 million in April.

Six weeks later, he's taking snaps at right and left tackle but remains the No. 3 tackle on the team behind starters Colon and Marvel Smith. The real competition, if there is one, will occur in training camp at Saint Vincent College.

"He's establishing his role," coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's the same thing I've said, and I mean what I say -- he's a starter-capable offensive lineman. We're able to keep him in the fold. He's working like others are working and they'll establish their roles in Latrobe."

It's normally not difficult to determine who the favored players are in competitions -- look at their contracts. The Steelers did not give Sean Mahan a $4 million signing bonus as part of his five-year, $17 million contract last season to back up Chukky Okobi at center.

Starks' case is different. It would come as little surprise, even to him, if he filled the same role he did last season, when he earned $1.85 million on a one-year contract.

"It doesn't surprise me," Starks said. "It's not like, 'OK, we give you this money, guess what? We're giving you a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's factory, you know, a starting job.' It's going to be something that has to be earned."

Starks earned the job for two seasons -- one of them ending with a Super Bowl victory -- before a new coaching staff removed him in favor of Colon last season. Yet now he will make more than any offensive lineman, second on the team only to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the coaches' opinions have not seemed to change on Colon being their right tackle.

Yet, Steelers management, knowing it would lose Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, did not want to let Starks walk away as an unrestricted free agent this year, especially after he showed late last season that he could capably fill in at left tackle. There were only two ways to keep him in Pittsburgh: sign him to a long-term deal or make him a transition player.

They did the latter, which required them to pay him precisely $6.89 million, the amount stipulated for an offensive tackle designated a transition player. It's the average of the 10 highest-paid tackles in the NFL.

Had another team signed him, the Steelers could have matched, but he received no offers. They have said they'd like to sign him to a long-term deal but there have been no discussions. It will be difficult to do that anyway because he's guaranteed $7 million over one season and can become a free agent again next year.

So, the player with the biggest one-year contract in the Steelers' history may not even start. He reports to work every day, just as he did a year ago for what were then his new bosses.

"That's all I can do," Starks said. "Every day, you're one snap away from being a starter, that's what you learn in the NFL. It could be like last year; I didn't start the whole season and ended up starting four games at left tackle. You never know what twists fate has for you. I just stay optimistic and wait for whatever opportunities are presented."

Starks played left tackle the previous two weeks in practice as Smith missed time to be with his wife while she gave birth. But he knows if he's going to start it would have to come at right tackle, barring injuries.

"We're not having a real opportunity to see where I fit in because we've had guys missing," Starks said. "Marvel was gone for two weeks. The time we could have started to see where I fit in has been delayed."

Wasn't the time late last season [... where he showed] that he could capably fill in at left tackle. just two "bog games" where the field was so soupy that no one could move quickly? If I remember right, he can do OK if there's no speed to be stopped (like in Heinz bog), but if he has to shift his weight he's a goner.

Also, wasn't there some kind of clause in the transition tag where the Steelers could drop him without paying him at some point? Maybe I'm not remembering that right, but I thought the big bucks were not automatically his until some point in time.

Thanks for any help on this...

NKySteeler
06-09-2008, 09:52 PM
Also, wasn't there some kind of clause in the transition tag where the Steelers could drop him without paying him at some point? Maybe I'm not remembering that right, but I thought the big bucks were not automatically his until some point in time.

Thanks for any help on this...

...Sorry... Can't help 'ya on this one bro. Other than some sort of incentive-laden clause, that's news to me.

BURGH86STEEL
06-09-2008, 10:03 PM
It is only a one year deal and better to have some insurance than none.

...But it's a helluva lot to pay out just for a possibility, isn't it?.... Didn't Faneca only want 7mil or so? (...and yea, he wanted a long-term deal)... At either rate, as long as he actually produces this season, I won't have any issue with it.

Well I do not have to worry about paying the money. I do not sign the checks. I guess my concern is that they put together the best team possible. Most times they get the moves right and sometimes they do not. Outside of wanting a long team deal, I do not know Faneca's demands from the organization. Cannot speak on that one. If they had the opportunity to draft a top tackle in the draft, maybe things would be different. I guess they felt they were not going to get a shot at one and gave Starks that deal. They were correct in their thinking. If Starks is not on the team, who would be the best option at both tackle spots? Good tackles are hard to find and that is why they did not have a chance to draft one in the draft.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
06-09-2008, 10:11 PM
Also, wasn't there some kind of clause in the transition tag where the Steelers could drop him without paying him at some point? Maybe I'm not remembering that right, but I thought the big bucks were not automatically his until some point in time.

Thanks for any help on this...

...Sorry... Can't help 'ya on this one bro. Other than some sort of incentive-laden clause, that's news to me.

Looked some stuff up, looks like Steelers could have withdrawn the transition tag until sometime this April, but it's too late now that he signed it...

http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/04/ ... ks-tender/ (http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/04/21/steelers-should-have-withdrawn-starks-tender/)

Flasteel
06-09-2008, 10:38 PM
It is only a one year deal and better to have some insurance than none.

...But it's a helluva lot to pay out just for a possibility, isn't it?.... Didn't Faneca only want 7mil or so? (...and yea, he wanted a long-term deal)... At either rate, as long as he actually produces this season, I won't have any issue with it.

Well I do not have to worry about paying the money. I do not sign the checks. I guess my concern is that they put together the best team possible. Most times they get the moves right and sometimes they do not. Outside of wanting a long team deal, I do not know Faneca's demands from the organization. Cannot speak on that one. If they had the opportunity to draft a top tackle in the draft, maybe things would be different. I guess they felt they were not going to get a shot at one and gave Starks that deal. They were correct in their thinking. If Starks is not on the team, who would be the best option at both tackle spots? Good tackles are hard to find and that is why they did not have a chance to draft one in the draft.

This is exactly how we should all be viewing the situation in my opinion. It's not our money and the quid tied up in that tender never prohibited us from re-signing Faneca or any other free agent. Granted it doesn't make a great deal of sense to pay a guy that amount of money and not have him even start, but hopefully a long-term contract will be done before the season begins. I've been an out-spoken supporter of Starks and believe he's a far better tackle than Willie Colon, especially when he's in shape (which by all accounts it appears he's in the best shape of his career), so I'm thrilled that we didn't lose him. As long as Marvel Smith stays healthy, I say that Starks will win his job back...time will tell, but I'll stand by my prediction 'til the bitter end. :Boobs