Report: UPDATED: Steelers \”NOT\” Expected To Re-sign T Max Starks & NT Casey Hampton

OK, ignore the report below. It seems I missed the “NOT” or it was updated after the original story posted.

Use this post now to discuss the depth at the tackle position as I will not correct what I wrote below!


Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has an interesting little nugget in his Tuesday report from the annual owners\’ meetings that are still going on out in Arizona. Dulac wrote that the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to re-sign tackle Max Starks and nose tackle Casey Hampton, both of whom are unrestricted free agents this off-season.

Both Starks and Hampton said at the end of last season that they each intend to play in 2013, but so far neither have received attention in the free agent signing period, which by the way is only one week old as of today. Will they get attention over the course of the next few weeks? It\’s hard to say, but considering the age of both, it wouldn\’t be surprising if they didn\’t.

Starks did say that he would like to return to Pittsburgh in 2013, but not as a backup. He thinks that he proved last year that he can still be a starting left tackle in the league moving forward and he did manage to play every snap on offense last season in addition.

The Steelers currently have two young tackles on their roster that were second round selections in the form of Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, and you would have to think that the plan calls for both of them to start in 2013. There has been speculation that Gilbert will play on the left side and Adams on the right, but I think that is far from guaranteed at this point. It would surprise me if it winds up being the other way around.

Regardless of who plays on what side, the Steelers still have depth questions at the tackle position. Kelvin Beachum played on the right side last season due to injuries suffered by both Gilbert and Adams, but his play was uneven there and the long-range plan might be for him to kick inside as an interior swingman that can play right tackle in case of emergency.

Ramon Foster has already been re-signed this off-season, and although he too can play right tackle in a pinch, he is currently being pegged as the starting left guard in 2013.

Re-signing Starks would provide experienced depth at the tackle position as the veteran can play both sides. Is he willing to return on another one year deal for the minimum to be a backup though?

The return of Hampton for one more season would be a sign that Alameda Ta\’amu, the Steelers fourth-round pick last April, is nowhere close to being ready to backup Steve McLendon, who is expected to be the starter in 2013. Hampton\’s best days are far behind him now, but at least the Steelers would have experienced and capable depth at the position while Ta\’amu gets another year of seasoning. Perhaps Ta\’amu won\’t even make the team this season. Pardon the pun, but the jury is still out on him.

I am not sure if Dulac is just speculating that both will return or not. Perhaps he has a source that is telling him that both are indeed on their way back at some point. If their re-signings do ultimately take place, however, you would think that it wouldn\’t happen until after the draft next month. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

  • This not terrible news but let’s see if Dulac goes 0 for 3 first.

  • Jollyrob68

    I always loved both guys but the need to let their young talent play. It always seems that Dick LeBeau caters to the Veterans even when they’ve clearly shouldn’t be the starter. As for Starks I’ve always loved him as a player and would love him as depth/insurance but these young tackles need to play. If The Steelers continue this trend of back seating their young talent they’re going to have the same result in next years free agency. They’ll all leave. Whats next bring back Harrison so Worilds is constantly looking over his shoulder? If they’re going to bring in competition for Worilds that’s fine. Go Sign Victor Butler and Also sign Larry Grant as ILB/OLB.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Ta’amu’s development will be another interesting story this season. Just watched some of his college game and it reminded me how much potential he has.

  • I agree and they did bring in that kid that was on a crowded Seahawk team too.

  • lefnor

    Starks is replaceable with Adams or Gilbert, there won’t be a big talent drop.
    But Hampton’s successor is not in town! McLendon is rather a nickel passrusher DT than a base 34 NT and Taamu has to improve in a big way (I have serious doubts). I liked Fangupo’s college play at BYU and I think right now he is the best candidate to be the starter.
    We need Hampton back for one year!

  • Kusko_Ken

    If you recall during last years draft at 2.24 before the selection of Mike Adams Mike Mayock said “Alameda Ta’amu makes a lot of sense here.”

  • Richard Edlin

    I’d want to wait until the outcome of Ta’amu’s trial before making any plans that involve him. Is it still April 4?

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Can’t wait to see what Mclendon can do!

  • lefnor


  • steeltown

    There is no reason to bring Hampton back, I love em but we have McLendon and two big bodied NT prospects in Ta’amu and Fangupo…

    On the other hand, Starks would be a nice signing

  • Jollyrob68

    Thats good news,time to move forward

  • hergieburbur

    They still have depth in McLendon and Fangupo, so I don’t think it’s an issue.

  • Dan

    I’m still rooting for Ta’amu. In a 3-4 I think it’s best to have a lot of beef at NT, but if McClendon is the better guy then he’s the better guy. Wouldn’t mind to draft a superstar at the position, but not sure this is the year for that. (Although hopefully we won’t have the draft position to really draft a superstar anything in the future, except as a suprise late pick.)

  • walter mason

    I agree.

  • walter mason

    no not butler

  • TheBlitz

    I’m glad they decided not to bring back Hampton!

    It’s time to move on and see what value McClendon, Ta’amu and Fangupo bring to this team. That will determine if there is a need to draft new blood at the NT position moving forward.

    On the other hand, I wasn’t opposed to see Starks back. He’s durable and has played well last couple years, plus he added depth at the position. But I’m certainly not mad at them for not bringing him back.

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    100% Max is Ole reliable..Big Snacks time is up (as a starter atleast). Time for McClendon Heyward and Worilds to step up. Not sure about Ta’amu future on or off the field. I’m surprised he’s still on the roster,both him and Rainey had red flags and they didn’t blink at cutting Rainy but Ta’amu hasent playd one NFL down. No telling what Colbert & Co have in mind

  • Richard Edlin

    I think McLendon’s the starter and either Ta’amu or Fangupo’s the backup – and I agree that it’s hard to see them bringing Hampton back. I do think it’s pretty odd though that a guy on trial is treated as being business as usual …

  • SteelerDave

    I defended Ta’amu because we all did stupid things at his age. He must have proven something to the Steelers after his incident or he would not be on the roster. I also do really like Fangupo as a sleeper prospect. No need for Big Snack anymore.

    As for Max, we do still need him unless the team is comfortable enough with Foster playing RT and Beachum playing LT (as he did in college). Of course Gilbert and Adans are the presumed starters and both deserving but Max – though his skills are declining with age – deserves better than to be used and thrown away year after year.

  • homewood619

    I like what McLendon can do. I think this position is least of our worries.

  • steeltown

    Its selfish to say, but I hope nobody goes after Starks in FA and he ultimately signs back with the Steelers…. he provides good depth

  • Bradys_Dad

    I agree with this agreement

  • Bradys_Dad

    I think they should also re-sign Lego for another year’s min. He’s a very solid backup center and although I love Pouncey he’s also had a few dings during his early career thus far that required the solid bakcup center play of Doug.

  • Reader783

    I’m upset that we would not resign Starks. What has he done for us the past few years other than come back from a torn ACL to be the most reliable guy on our line and anchor the blind side? How much are we paying him? Veteran’s minimum? Semi-disrespectful in my opinion. Thank you for all you have done for this team Max and Casey, you’ll both be missed. Two more true Steelers being lost.

  • charles

    Both of these guys would be valuable at bargain wages. Starks playing every snap is a stat that we need. I think those stats guys rated him pretty high as fars as QB sacks and hurries go.

  • mokhkw

    Can anyone else find the original article on the post-gazette? Has it been taken down entirely?

  • mokhkw

    My thoughts exactly – with no Harrison & Hampton, the Steelers D will be suspect vs the run, something I can’t recall happening in the past 20 years. McLendon fits the bill as a Nickel pass rusher, but Ta’amu & Fang both have shown nothing so far. If Hampton isn’t brought back then it’s one more need the Steelers have to draft for – it makes sense to bring him back for one more season.

    Hensley @ESPN reported that the Steelers tried to sign Jake Long – I don’t hold much weight in that report or this one from Dulac tbh.

  • Can’t see anyone guaranteeing Max a starting position. May as well come back if he gets no decent offer. Gilbert at LT scares the crap out of me and DeCastro if Gilbert lines up at RT.

  • Tom

    Why do people assume that Ta’amu will be available to play? 5 felonies and 10 misdemeanors is pretty heavy charges….I’d think he would more than likely be spending a season or two in the crowbar motel.

  • hergieburbur

    True, all I was getting at is that even if Ta’Amu goes to jail, they still have two guys that can play the position, which is usually all they keep. I love Big Snack, but I can’t see them bringing him back.

  • SteelSpine

    I agree with your agreement of those agreements 🙂

  • SteelSpine

    I wonder what the status is of punishment? Last I heard was a trial or court appearance in front of a judge was postponed, maybe for more time to enter a plea bargain, but then that was it. So I wonder if it has already been swept under a rug & a judge has a signed Polo jersey & new season tickets.