Thursday, February 21, 2008

Starks receives transition tag

In a somewhat surprising development, the Steelers have tagged OT Max Starks as their "transition player," meaning that the team has the right to match any offer the fourth-year vet receives in free agency. If Starks does not reach a long term contract agreement (with the Steelers or another team) he will be paid roughly $6.9 million next season. If the Steelers elect not to match any contract offer Starks receives they would receive no compensation.

This move could mean that the club is concerned about LT Marvel Smith's back condition, and that they plan to use Starks at left tackle if/when Smith is unable to play. It could also mean that Starks is viewed as Smith's successor at left tackle, as Marvel's contract expires after next season. If Starks plays right tackle it means that the Steelers plan to reshuffle their offensive line, perhaps moving RT Willie Colon to right guard and RG Kendall Simmons to center.

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