Pittsburgh Steelers: Veteran Tackle Max Starks to Be Released

Chris Gazze@ChrisG_PITCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2011

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Max Starks #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is helped off of the field after getting injured against the Atlanta Falcons during the NFL season opener game on September 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

After agreeing to contracts with cornerback Ike Taylor and kicker Shaun Suisham, the Pittsburgh Steelers made their first move to free-up cap space.

According to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, the Steelers will release right tackle Max Starks, saving the team $5.14 in salary.

Starks was placed on the injured reserve in 2010 with a neck injury which required surgery. He had started the first seven games at left tackle.

The 6’8” tackle was one of the Steelers' better offensive lineman and had started 68 games at both right and left tackle over his seven year career.

The move could signal a number of scenarios for Pittsburgh’s offensive line.

Starks had two years left on a $26.3 million contract he signed in 2009. He could potentially return at a lower cost, an option that had been widely speculated for fellow tackle Flozell Adams.

However, according to Ed Bouchette, Starks' weight is in the high 300 pound range. In previous years, Casey Hampton has been out of shape but if Starks is pushing 400 pounds he will be limited at tackle.

Another scenario could involve Adams moving back to his natural position of left tackle and Pittsburgh re-signing free-agent Willie Colon to return to his old starting position at right tackle. La Canfora also stated that the Steelers and Colon were talking.

Colon has started 50 games in five seasons but missed all of last season with an Achilles’ tendon injury. The Chicago Bears have also shown interest in signing Colon.

Earlier this week Bouchette stated that Pittsburgh had Jonathan Scott as one of their top priorities. He is a third option to replace the Steelers’ now vacant left tackle position after doing an fair job in that role last season.

Given the lack of offseason workouts, it is unlikely that rookie guard/tackle Marcus Gilbert will start early on.

With the offensive line lacking talent, it is hard to believe that the Steelers would release one of their better linemen, even coming off an injury, without a replacement in mind. There will likely be a follow-up move that will happen soon.

Check back as updates become available.


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