With knowing that Alan Faneca is gone, the Steelers Wednesday made a wise move with placing the transition tag on right tackle Max Starks. The tag means that Starks can take offers from other teams once free agency hits at the end of next week, but that the team will have seven days to match that teams offer. If the Steelers wouldn’t have put the tag on Starks, he would have been an unrestricted free agent.
If Pittsburgh does NOT match an offer for Starks should he get one, they will not get any compensation for losing the fourth-year pro. As far as the tag goes, if Starks does not sign elsewhere, he will earn the average of the 10 highest salaries for offensive lineman in 2007, which reports say will be about $6.9 million. The sides in the meantime could still work out a long-term deal.
The move could be an insurance deal for the Steelers if left tackle Marvel Smith continues to have back issues. Starks filled in for Smith near the end of last season, after he lost his starting right tackle job to Willie Colon. Starks even played a little tight end in short-yardage situations for the team last season.