Around the NFL
Steelers lock up Starks
Posted Jun. 23 at 03:22 AM
He's not one of the game's best left tackles or anything -- he didn't even open last season as a starter, and might actually be better on the right side -- but Max Starks was nonetheless an important part of Pittsburgh's offensive line during its Super Bowl run last season. For that reason, the Steelers' ability to get the unsigned franchise player under contract today is a plus for the franchise.
The four-year, $26-million deal, according to ESPN's John Clayton, ensures that the line's most important position -- protecting franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's blind side -- at least won't be any worse this season. Some of the team's struggles in pass protection can be blamed on Roethlisberger's tendency to hold the ball too long anyway.
Starks' greatest strength is as a run-blocker, so locking him up should benefit the team's running backs (even more so if he does end up moving back to the right side a year from now). In any case, a lengthy holdout by Starks wouldn't have made the line any better at the start of the season.
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