Steelers tag Starks for second time

Updated: February 19, 2009, 5:30 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks received the team's franchise tag Thursday -- even though he isn't guaranteed a job as a starter.

Starks
Starks

Starks became the 13th NFL player tagged before the 4 p.m. ET deadline. He received a one-year tender at $8.451 million. Last year, Starks had a $6.985 million franchise tender as the team's transition tag. The franchise number given to Starks this year was based on the average of the top-five cap numbers of offensive linemen around the league from last season.

Any team wishing to sign Starks would have to surrender two first-round draft picks, but the Steelers would have seven days to match any offer and, thus, keep him.

Despite being franchised last year, Starks started the regular season on the bench. Left tackle Marvel Smith had back problems during the season and Starks took over the position and helped the Steelers to their sixth Super Bowl title.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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