Starks signed to four-year deal

The Steelers and left tackle Max Starks agreed to a four-year contract that will save the Steelers a reported $3 million in cap room.

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers signed six-year veteran offensive tackle Max Starks to a new four-year contract today that will keep him with the team through 2012. According to's John Clayton, the deal is worth $26.3 million with a signing bonus of $10 million. Starks had been working under a franchise tag that would've paid him $8.451 million this season.

Starks, who is slated to play left tackle for the Steelers in 2009, was originally drafted by the team in the third round (75th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Florida. He began his career as a right tackle, making 30 consecutive regular season starts at the position from 2005-06, before missing the final two games in 2006 with a knee injury. Starks started 15 regular season games at left tackle from 2007-08, in place of injured starter Marvel Smith. He started at left tackle in all three 2008 postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIII.

Starks had been designated the Steelers transition player prior to the 2008 season and the team's franchise player in 2009. By signing his new contract, Starks no longer carries the team's franchise designation.

Starks has played in 72 games and made 45 starts during his NFL career. He currently ranks as the longest-tenured offensive lineman with the Steelers.

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