Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why tag Starks again?

The Steelers made the decision to put the franchise tag on left tackle Max Starks Thursday, one year after placing the transition tag on Starks.

Many will look at it and wonder why the team felt the need to tag a guy for a second time, particularly one who hasn't gone into either of the past two seasons as a starter.

But the Steelers don't like to see their options limited.

And looking around the offensive tackle prospects available in free agency and the draft, there was no way the Steelers could afford to lose Starks.

With five offensive linemen set to hit the open market – including restricted free agent Willie Colon – the Steelers also couldn't afford to lose the player who was their best offensive linemen by the end of the 2008 season.

At 27, Starks still has his best football ahead of him as well.

The team will try to work out a new deal with Starks to keep him in Pittsburgh long term, but they wanted to protect themselves against another team swooping in and signing him next week.

The team also considered tagging cornerback Bryant McFadden, but the cost of that was nearly $10 million. Plus, while they have three NFL-quality cornerbacks, they had no other options at left tackle.

17 comments:

sportsmavericksonline said...

Steelers is more than football, they are about the total player and Starks give the Steelers the triple threat on the field, in the community and in leadership for the team. A Franchise Tag can't beat that, but they should have given him more money, and they will sign him to a long-term contract. Starks has received over four hits on his original contract. This is unheard of for a third round draft choice. Now it is time for him to Go to The Pro-Bowl or better yet another Superebowl like his counterpart Dwight White who wore the 78', Thanks Dwight, I know you are smiling down on your protege.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points Dale, I was thinking that they would try to get a deal done with Starks. He played well in '08. Along with Hartwig, both LT and C were upgraded. Now we need some GUARDS!!!

Anonymous said...

Did they even try to sign Starks to a regular deal? It will be hard to now.

That's over 15 mill for 2 seasons of Starks. When they could have signed him to a 4-year deal for that same amount before last season

Poor planning by the Steelers

Paw-n-Maul-You said...

It does look like poor planning...but it paid off in 2008. I was in awe that they used the transition tag last year on him but when Marvel went down with his yearly back injury, it looked like a pretty good move. (It actually looked worse because Essex finished the game at LT the night Marvel got hurt - Jacksonville game).

datruth4life said...

Dale,

What are you hearing about the team's chances of keeping Bryan McFadden?

Also, any chance of players like Kendall Simmons or Deshea Townsend being released to create more cap room to sign a player like BMac?

Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

The offensive tackle market isn't nearly as deep as the CB market. They knew somebody would throw big money at Starks because he's young and one of the best available.
They tried to work out a long-term deal with him last year and are continuing to do so now. This just gives them some coverage if they can't get something done.
They're working with McFadden as well, but he may hit the market.
They have cap room right now, so cutting somebody isn't a great need.

adamg said...

I could see Simmons being a cap casualty. I don't think he's ever been quite the same since he was diagnosed with diabetes and then he's had a history of serious injury.
Stapleton played well enough at RG to make Simmons expendable.

I think they bring back Essex, let Kemo walk (if he gets an offer) and see if anyone wants to offer a contract to Colon under RFA rules.

Patrick said...

I don't know why people dislike Simmons so much. He may be overpaid, but he isn't horrible besides the fact he is injury prone. And he might be the best guard on the roster in a week.

Expect him to be starting in 2009, the way it looks right now our O line will be:

LT - Starks
LG - Stapleton/Rookie
C-Hartwig/pos Rookie
RG - Simmons
LG - Colon

Not exactly the top tier Oline in the league, but we have have won a SB with just about the same. I also wouldn't mind seeing Tauscher come in on an incentive deal. Maybe that or Marvel, but I like the odds better with Tasucher and he seems to fit a Steelers style FA pick up - similar to Hartwig

Patrick said...

RT for Colon I mean

adamg said...

Simmons pretty much gets thrown around like a rag doll. IMHO, his best position might be center since he can pull, which the Steelers demand from their centers, but he might not be strong enough to handle the big NTs by himself.

I think Essex is an underrated player. He hasn't had many chances to play, but when he has, he's done a credible job. He won't break the bank either to re-sign.

I could see the OL as Starks, Essex at T; Hartwig at C; Colon and Stapleton at G.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

What do you think are the chances of the team working out a long-term deal with BMac, 50-50 or much less than that?

Hate to see a young player that the team drafted who is on the verge of being a Pro Bowl player leave at a time when the team need good, young corners going fwd.

Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

Stapleton was really exposed in the Super Bowl as being too small. He got owned in that game.
I expect Essex to be re-signed and given a chance to win a starting guard spot with whatever rookie they draft.

Anonymous said...

LMAO at whoever thinks Simmons is good, you must have a short memory

He was god awful before he got hurt. Once Stapleton replaced Simmons the line was much better and Stapleton is only average at best.

I agree that Essex could be good and i hope they keep him (he can play guard or tackle)

Patrick said...

Hey anounymous, I really hope you're studying game film, otherwise I don't know that you can absolutely link the Oline's performance solely on Simmons absence. Coaching MAY have had to do with it. I'm not ready to say Stapleton is a better guard than Simmons.

And, did you hate Simmons when we won the SB in '05? Probably not.

adamg said...

Simmons has not been the same player since he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Unlike Scott Paxson, who has had the disease his whole life and learned how to live with and manage it, Simmons, IMHO, is still learning.

I'm not going to throw Stapleton under the bus for one subpar game against AZ. Heck, Justin Hartwig got steam-rolled at least once, too. Blocking is more than just pure strength, it's positioning and leverage, too.

Dale Lolley said...

Hartwig got steamrolled by a guy with a running start. He also did his job. That wasn't a hold.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if Stapleton was unable to hang on to the weight he packed on before last season. Similar to Mahan wearing down, Mahan actually started out decent before going downhill.