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hawaiiansteel
01-06-2013, 05:31 PM
Max Starks Deserves At Least One More Year With The Steelers

Jan 5th, 2013 by Dominic Di TollaSteelers

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Quick, name the only Offensive Lineman to start each and every regular season game of the 2012 season at the same position for the Steelers.

Give up?

Believe it or not “Steeler Nation,” but if you guessed “Max Starks,” you would be correct!

That’s right readers, Starks not only started all 16 of Pittsburgh’s regular season games at the Offensive Line’s most important spot (Left Tackle), but one could argue that he was Pittsburgh’s most consistent and effective Offensive Lineman all year long.

Despite his solid effort this past year, Starks does not believe that he will be coming back for a 10th season in “The Steel City,” even after one of the best seasons of his career from a run-blocking and pass-protecting standpoint. In a recent interview with Mike Bires of “The Beaver County Times” (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com), Starks shared his thoughts on the prospects of him sticking with the Steelers in 2013:

“Anytime you draft tackles in the second round in back-to-back years, I think it’s their plan to have them as the starting left and right tackles in the future. That’s their goal. So being a realist, I am not expecting to be back.”

Would it be nice to see Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams step-up and emerge as the team’s starting Left and Right Tackles next year? Heck yes it would. If both could play the entire season together (16 regular season games, plus hopefully playoffs) and develop into a pair of solid book-ends to make the veteran Starks expendable during this crucial rebuilding process, I would be downright overjoyed.

Unfortunately, I live in a little place called “reality.” And I know that asking for a season without injuries along the Steelers’ Offensive Line is a pretty tall order, especially over the last half decade in which assorted ailments have plagued Pittsburgh’s players in the trenches.

If you readers care to remember, Craig and I expressed last Summer why it would be in the Steelers’ best interests to re-up the former Florida Gator to a veteran 1 year deal. Few agreed with us and our thoughts on Starks being a steady insurance policy, especially after he sustained a knee injury during Pittsburgh’s Wild Card Playoff Loss to Denver last January. But just like clock-work, once the preseason began Pittsburgh’s Offensive Linemen began dropping like flies due to injuries. Thankfully for Pittsburgh, all Max did was come in and play effective football and protect the Steelers’ signal-callers blind-side’s throughout the regular season.

Because quality depth and health remain such areas of concern along the Steelers’ Offensive Line, I believe that G.M. Kevin Colbert should at least attempt to re-up Starks for “one last go-around” with the franchise in the neighborhood of a 1 year $1-1.25 million deal (his contract last season was worth $890,000). In fact, I hope that if the Steelers do re-up Starks that the starting Left Tackle position is open to competition during this offseason. That way, Pittsburgh will give the Top 3 Tackles (Starks, Gilbert, and Adams) on their depth chart the opportunity to win the blind-side job outright. As I alluded to before, I would love to see these younger players and high Draft selections like Gilbert and Adams have to stay hungry and fight for a chance to start, especially after such an under-achieving and injury-plagued season like this past one was. Maybe the extra heat on the 2nd and 3rd year players will inspire them to take their collective games’ to new levels and leave the veteran on the sidelines.

Health permitting next season, the Steelers must find a way to play the best player at each position along the Offensive front, regardless of age and experience. Thus, if Max is yet again believed to be the best option the team will have available at Left Tackle, they should go with him until Starks either calls it quits, or a younger player usurps him, not simply going with them because of their “Draft Status.”

As it stands now, I believe that there is no harm in the Steelers attempting to sign Starks to another one year contract in the neighborhood of $1 million dollars this offseason. Best case scenario, Max wrestles the Left Tackle job away from Adams and Gilbert. Worst case scenario, Starks is a quality “Swing” backup at the Left and Right Tackle positions and stands as a steady veteran presence for the young players along the Offensive Line.

Yet if another team offers Starks more money and/or a starting job outright this offseason, then I say more power to him and “Thank You” for 9 years, 123 Regular Season Games, 96 Starts, and the opportunity to watch 2 Super Bowl wins. I just believe that it would be unwise for the Steelers’ brass to simply dismiss a player like Starks so easily, especially when the “O-Line Issues” have yet to be fully solved.

Plus, what’s wrong with having a “steady, safe, and largely inexpensive” insurance policy like Starks at your team’s disposal at such an important position?

http://nicepickcowher.com/2013/01/05/max-starks-deserves-at-least-one-more-year-with-the-steelers/

Mister Pittsburgh
01-06-2013, 06:07 PM
Starks 100% absolutely should be back hands down.

BATMAN
01-06-2013, 06:08 PM
Tell me whom on the team is better, more reliable than Starks.

SidSmythe
01-06-2013, 06:19 PM
tell me whom on the team is better, more reliable than starks.

heath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!

BATMAN
01-06-2013, 06:24 PM
I meant at the left tackle position but yes, over all it is Heathhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!

supersteeler
01-06-2013, 07:25 PM
I believe the Steelers should be very careful in their decision on Starks!

1. Left tackles don't grow on trees, Max is a proven veteran and has another 5 yrs. in him.

2. Gilbert was average at RT so I don't know if they want to chance having him play LT the most important position on the line when it comes to Ben and his health.

3. Adams might be a better alternative at LT than Gilbert but again, can they trust him to play at the same level Max did?

4. I don't pay the salary's so my voice doesen't mean much more than an opinion, however for me its not that complicated, you keep the players who produced and let the unproductive ones go.

pittpete
01-06-2013, 07:51 PM
Only reason Starks didnt miss a game was because he was farthest away from Gilbert.:eek:
Starks has proved his worth IMO and needs to be signed to keep the LT pos competitive

Mister Pittsburgh
01-06-2013, 08:49 PM
Let's see if Tomlin's ego will allow us to sign Starks.

Steel Life
01-06-2013, 09:04 PM
I like Max & would like to keep him but let's not annoint him as the saving grace of our line. Max was part of a line that generated one of the lowest rushing efforts the Steelers have put out in the modern era & gave up 36 QB pressures on his own. Now he is a good veteran to have & hopefully won't cost us much but we need to groom the younger players now & see if they're worth keeping. All that said, if it comes down between Max & Legs as to whom to keep, I'll go with Max & draft a guy to develop for the interior.

Mister Pittsburgh
01-06-2013, 09:14 PM
I like Max & would like to keep him but let's not annoint him as the saving grace of our line. Max was part of a line that generated one of the lowest rushing efforts the Steelers have put out in the modern era & gave up 36 QB pressures on his own. Now he is a good veteran to have & hopefully won't cost us much but we need to groom the younger players now & see if they're worth keeping. All that said, if it comes down between Max & Legs as to whom to keep, I'll go with Max & draft a guy to develop for the interior.

The lowest rushing total is due to the massive amount of OL injuries and average RB's, and the 36 QB pressures are due to facing the oppositions top guy every game and giving up only a little over 2 pressures per game....not to mention the QB he is protecting routinely passes up open targets and dump offs and then runs around.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-07-2013, 11:38 AM
The idea in this article of extending Starks, comes with a one year, $1.25M contract. I don't think that the Steelers can sniff Starks at that price. $1.25M for a proven starting LT who is not coming of ACL surgery? Not a chance that he remains on the market at a price tag anywhere near that.

Oviedo
01-07-2013, 01:26 PM
Starks 100% absolutely should be back hands down.

Absolutley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He played better than any OL we had to include Pouncey. Unfortunately that could make him very expensive to resign.

Mister Pittsburgh
01-07-2013, 01:34 PM
Absolutley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He played better than any OL we had to include Pouncey. Unfortunately that could make him very expensive to resign.

If he leaves without us even attempting to keep him, and Tomlin simply goes with 'his' guys he drafted, Mike Adams and Gilbert with Foster as a backup.....then Tomlin is a total moron.

phillyesq
01-07-2013, 05:13 PM
To me, this is kind of similar to Keenan Lewis. The Steelers could let Starks sign elsewhere and roll with Gilbert/Adams, just as they could let Lewis leave and go with Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen. IMO, both would be a mistake.

For years, we've hoped to see the Steelers add OTs and CBs in the draft. Now, CB has become an area of strength and OT could also be a strength if Gilbert and Adams progress. I'd like to see a way for the Steelers to maintain depth at both positions given how long it has taken the Steelers to finally build depth at those positions.