We are now on the final offensive tackle for our NFL free agency series, but before we examine the last player, let's go over some of the results for Anthony Collins, who we discussed yesterday. 86% of the voters claimed that they would love to see Collins in Cardinal Red next season. His lack of injury, tremendous upside and relative youthfulness all had people gushing over him in the comments section.
Today's athlete is one that has been around the league for a while, but has still only played for one team. Max Starks, a permanent fixture at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Should the Arizona Cardinals express interest in his services?
Starks, like Jared Gaither and Demetrius Bell, has dealt with injuries quite often in his career. More recently, he had to sit out the final nine games of the 2010 season due to a neck injury. Now, according to Rotoworld.com, Starks is believed to have a torn ACL, which could spell the end of his time on the football field, although he is only 30 years of age.
Also, Starks constantly deals with weight issues much like Cardinals players Deuce Lutui and Dan Williams. Starks was cut by the Steelers once the lockout ended and was not brought back to the team until October, which is why he only played 12 games last season. His weight problems will definitely come with some concern for teams looking to sign him.
When Starks is on the field, his play could be considered up and down. He took 483 pass blocking snaps at left tackle in 2011 and allowed six sacks, seven QB hits and 20 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. The amount of sacks given up is somewhat startling considering how rarely it seems that Ben Roethlisberger is able to be taken down.
One of the reasons I brought Starks up is because of his history with the current Cardinals coaching staff. Russ Grimm was once the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, working extensively with Starks. Now that Grimm is the O-Line coach here in Arizona, he may have some insight about Starks that could contribute to the team having interest in him.
So is it worth it for the Cardinals to go out and attempt to sign him? For the first time in this series, I would have to say no. He is not extremely young and his play on the field does not tell me that he can play at the level that teams should and will be looking for. Although he would probably be able to sign for somewhere near a minimum contract and possibly play as a reserve, Starks' injury will undoubtedly scare teams away.
What do you think? Should the Cardinals target Max Starks once free agency opens up on March 13th? Tell us in the comments section below and don't forget to vote in the poll. Tomorrow, we'll briefly summarize all five of the offensive tackles and poll you on which one you would like to see in the desert the most. Stay tuned for that.
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