Starks smart to sign on dotted line

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Offensive tackle Max Starks had more than eight million reasons to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he did.

According to ESPN.com's John Clayton, Starks signed his one-year franchise tender Saturday worth $8.45 million.

Starks could have waited, like some franchise tag players, to see if another club wanted to chime in and negotiate a long-term deal. Another team would have had to offer Pittsburgh two first-round picks as compensation. Starks is not that caliber of player, so those chances were unlikely.

Therefore Starks, 27, did the smart thing and took the guaranteed money. He now has until July to negotiate a long-term deal with the Steelers. But even if that doesn't happen, more than $8 million for one season is quite a coup for a player who began the year on the bench but finished strong.