Starks, Foster, Colon all may go in Steelers’ offensive line shakeup


Major changes are coming on the Steelers’ offensive line.

New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. is believed to favor younger and more athletic linemen, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Max Starks, Ramon Foster and Willie Colon are all likely to leave this offseason. Starks and Foster both become unrestricted free agents next month, while Colon’s base salary jumps from $700,000 in 2012 to $5.5 million in 2013, so he’s likely to be cut.

Those three players combined for 43 starts last season: Starks and Foster both started all 16 games, while Colon started 11. For most teams, losing the majority of your starting offensive line would be a significant concern.

But for the Steelers, it might just be the natural progression of the roster after they used a 2010 first-round pick on Maurkice Pouncey, a 2011 second-round pick on Marcus Gilbert, a 2012 first-round pick on David DeCastro and a 2012 second-round pick on Mike Adams. When you’ve devoted those kinds of draft picks to offensive linemen, you’re making plans to part ways with your veterans.

Now it’s Bicknell’s job to take what will be among the youngest offensive lines in the league next season and mold them into a unit that can get the Steelers’ running game going and keep Ben Roethlisberger upright.

58 responses to “Starks, Foster, Colon all may go in Steelers’ offensive line shakeup

  1. If Beachum starts then they will definitely have the youngest starting line in the NFL with Pouncy being the oldest.

  2. 2013 may be another mediocre season. Sometimes you have to take a step or two back to take several steps forward. While that’s no fun, at least we Steelers fans know that our team’s management knows how to get to The Promised Land.

    Not that I’d ever try to tell management what to do, BUT as long as you’re revamping the offensive line, how about some turnover (so to speak) in that aging defense?

  3. One more thing–Management, please, please, PLEASE ditch all the “throwback” uniforms except the ones from the 1970s.

  4. I say its too early yet… and just ‘rumors’ to get the ‘contract’ money down…

    the line performed fine last year… 8 fumbles against Cleveland was NOT the lines fault.

    Ben had great numbers and NOT on his back (up until injured).

    BATCH did a great job against Ravens !

    Wallace sucked…

    I say… just tweak… nothing knee jerk. Ben’s attitude sucked… (his first year of marriage has a way with that).. he ain’t running like a dog

  5. This offense will rank in bottom of nfl on offense. No RB, Bad OL lead by the most overrated center in lg, no good WR, and a washed up QB. Misery in pittsburgh at its finest. |

  6. The downward spiral and demolition of the once great Steelers continues. They are OLD! Seems like they’ve waited way to long to bring in younger talent. Won’t be competitive again for many seasons.

  7. I’m a life long Steelers fan, but I think we have a few rough years ahead of us. We face major cap problems, an aging team, and inadequate depth.

    To add to our struggles, our draft days have been rather weak for the last few years.

  8. Yikes! So you replace the offensive line with guys who could not even stay healthy? Another year of Ben running around, throwing pick 6 after pick 6. I predict steeler fans will long for the days of an 8-8 season. This is going to be awesome! Cheers!

  9. And to all the haters. As long as we have a 3 time super bowl appearing Qb. With 2 rings. We always have a chance. Ravens are finally in cap hell. Broncos will always choke with manning in the playoffs. And Stoogy your raiders are the laughing stock of the NFL! And steeler nation is loving it! Misery loves company!

  10. What were they thinking giving a no. 2 wr a huge cotract. They overpaid for Brown and now have to let their no1 wr leave in free agency. I think they signed him just to rub it in Wallaces face.

  11. OL are the most over-rated adn talked about players in the league. Dime a dozen. Bascially you have to stop someone for 3 seconds. Get in the way and push a guy.

  12. The league is cyclical and is starting to turn over again. Teams that have been dominant for the past decade will be relegated to mediocrity soon enough, just the way it is.

    The steelers & patriots are two teams that will be looking up from the bottom soon enough.

  13. David DeCastro looks like he will be a great player. If they do start that young line though, Ben might get hurt again in the first half of the season before they build some experience.

  14. Now would be a good time to consider the LT possibly leaving Denver. Ben needs a LT that can he can count on to protect his health.

    Ben is a 100 million dollar man he needs the best protection that is available.

  15. all those guys were always overated, before they were old and banged up. Line will be much better next year, sure they will miss some assignments at first but todays NFL requires your big ass being able to get down the field to these speedy defenders. Change isnt always bad, I like the Steelers youth movement it is time.

  16. Pouncey is fine, although a bit overrated IMO. I am a very realistic Steeler fan but I think its fair to say that as long as DeCastro can rebound well in his 2nd year and be what everyone in the NFL thought he was the Steelers O-Line will finally be on the right path. Starks, although a fossil, keeps getting it done. They will have to patch together the other 2 spots (LG and RT) but I don’t foresee that being their biggest hurdle towards relevance again. Colon plays hard, but he is a holding machine and ends up on IR nearly every year. Gilbert is a mess. He is not strong at the point of attack and is a threat to injure other lineman, which he as now done at least 3 times by being bowled over. The Steelers need to revamp the LB’s, without the LB’s wreaking havoc this defense just won’t make the impact that it needs to make. Also, Hood and Heyward need to show they can carry the torch or get out of the way. Look for at least 2 LB’s drafted very early for Pitt. LB,RB,LB first 3 picks.

  17. LOL at Ravens and Bengals fans thinking this is bad for the Steelers – – our offensive line has been our weak link ever since the guys from the 2005 Super Bowl started moving on (Faneca, Hartings, Marvel Smith, etc). Decastro and Adams are only going to be an improvement to the o-line!

  18. I like this idea a lot. I’ve grown tired of the slow and fat offensive lines the Steelers have used the past few years. Colon has been stealing money for three years now and he’s almost as bad at guard as Kemoeatu was. Starks was solid the past two years but he wants to move on. I’d like Foster for depth though.

    If the offensive like can actually stay healthy and grow together they have the potential to be very good. DeCastro had a rough rookie season but getting him here for a whole camp will do him well. Very young offense aside from Ben, but I’d like to see them draft a future TE and someone who can play now or back up Heath.

    The D keeps doing their thing but they’re losing so many players. They really need a good draft to restock the farm, something they haven’t had the past 3 seasons it seems like. I think Colbert needs to go if he has another draft like the Mendenhall, Sweed, Bruce Irvin, Tony Hills fiasco.

  19. Bigbenownsthenfl..Man you really need to chill with all of that we won Superbowls talk! Those days are over but if you must bring up Superbowls talk about the Steelers last appearance,You know the one when Aaron Rodgers slapped the heavily favored Steelers around…..Did the Steelers make it to the playoffs? Did the Steelers win a division title?…..The Answer is No!!!! But Steeler fans always want to bring up SB titles from the past,What have they done lately???

  20. You are talking about keeping Roethlisberger upright in the physical sense, right?

    Not in any moral or ethical way, I’m sure.

  21. I think the key to the ‘revamped’ Steeler O-line will be remaining reasonably healthy, and being able to play as a cohesive unit for all or at least most of the season.
    The basic talent is there, the experience will come rather quickly, and Jack Bicknell, Jr is a good and proven coach. The foundation for the whole thing will be durablity…

  22. To whom it may concern. The Ravens are NOT in cap hell. They will sign Joe to a long term deal and make cap room to extend Boldin…resign Ellerbe….resign Reed…AND sign another team’s mid-level type free agent.

    Ozzie is a genius at doing this kind of stuff.. None better.

    What Ozzie would never do is sign a Mario Williams or Haynesworth to some rediculous deal….we keep our own and sign the midlevel guys to fill holes at low prices.

    Bye bye Kruger and Cary Williams…been nice knowin’ you…enjoy your $8 million deals elsewhere.

  23. I know we’re cap-jammed, but we are in no position to kick some of these offensive linemen to the curb.

    I’m aware of Colon’s injury situation — but he was playing strong on the interior before someone in either the Ravens or Chargers game dove on his knee from behind (while he was engaged). Filthy.

    But Willie can bring it, and only he and Pounce still bring the nasty. Kemo used to, but he lost so much effectiveness – so we had to let him go. But Colon can ball – and he’s only like 26 or so. We need to hang onto Willie.

    Foster’s play was decent too. It’s just hard to imagine that we’re in a position to discard players at one of our weakest positions year in and year out.

    I like Starks, but don’t know what we can afford him.

    In a very related story, all our years of renegotiating contracts forward is now coming back to bite us in the butt. We basically borrowed for short term gratification, the short term is over and what was formerly the long term is now our immediate future – and we have to pay the piper. Still, we can’t let Colon go – it’s not like he carries a cap-busting contract.

  24. Its fun to watch all the haters after the steelers have an 8-8 season. aaahhhh, Jealousy at its finest when you have 6. Ben has never had a losing season in his career and this year wont be no different, the steelers will be right in contention for a division title. I’d say some of you the posters on this thread need to worry about your own team falling to the bottom of the division and not the steelers.

  25. It is so much fun to bask in the glow of the Lombardi, with stories of the Steelers bygone days. Roethlesberger better figure out how to do the Kapernick, because he is going to be running for his life the whole season.

    To be a rival, don’t you have to at least win some of the important games versus the Ravens? I have my eye on the Browns, they appear so much more dangerous than the Steelers, because they want to pay Flacco millions.

  26. I’m a Bengals fan and hate the Steelers. That being said, I really don’t think this is a big deal. Roethlisberger is at his best when out of the pocket anyway, so perhaps having a subpar line is a good thing for them?

    They haven’t had a very good line in quite a while. If these guys were great then I would be happy, but actually, I want these guys to stay with the Steelers.

  27. They are all old and injury-prone. They have to go, but the Steelers new line isn’t something to be excited about.

  28. dirtydrynn27 – I think you need to go back and take a 2nd look at the last SB the Steelers were in.

    They completely outplayed the Packers. The Steelers made too many mistakes. They were still only one play away at the end from overcoming all the mistakes.

  29. Like Pittsburgh Seattle had a terrible o-line, we drafted some young talent in the first and 3rd rounds. Brought excellent zone blocking coaches (Gibbs and now Tom Cable) and now year 3 in we have one of the best offensive line’s in football. Steelers already have the core in (Pouncey, Decastro and Gilbert) maybe a true left tackle and you’ll be right on track. Their are a few of those in this draft. I think from a protection stand point, you will be there after even a year if everyone stays healthy.

  30. My question is….. If the Steelers were looking to rebuild/jettison veterans…. Why did they not forfeit/play all rookies in that last game versus Cleveland. If they had, they’d be drafting 12th, 44th, etc..

    Anyway, who am I to question …after all this is the rumor mill.


  31. Not unexpected. We have a new o-line coach, a new offensive system, and we’re stacking with younger players. Colon should have packed his bags a couple of years ago. He’s always been overrated, and we never should have kept wasting that kind of money on a guy who’s played only a handful of games in three seasons.

    Max has been a solid player, but he may find himself getting a callback if he’s needed. It’s happened before.

  32. I love the fact that it takes a year for the Steelers to be mediocre for somebody else in the division to do something. Hah, and to think those two teams beat us on flukey breakdowns in those games we lost. Ravens can’t get out of facing Ben not ONCE every year. Shame shame to the people to ever count out Pittsburgh. People will never learn.

  33. Nobody will talk about the $110 million dollar franchise elephant in the room.

    1) A quarterback who could not get a win in a HOME game of playoff like win or go home importance when the Steeler defense held the Bengals to SIX POINTS.

    2) A quarterback who could not get a single win when when the defense gave up over 17 points. A quarterback who is never going to win any shootouts.

    3) A quarterback who could not get his team into the playoffs despite having the number one defense in the entire NFL. Not only not get his team into the playoffs but miss them so badly they were eliminated after 15 games making them play an utterly meaningless finale.

  34. Wow steelers are going to be so soft this year. That oline will be so weak. Might as well give me a chance to play. How much worse can it get?

  35. Wow steelers are going to be so soft this year. That oline will be so weak. Might as well give me a chance to play. How much worse can it get?

    1 2
    Report comment

    I guess if we had a fourth string QB he could have beaten slashing Rays team this year. It’s ok to brag now but you were hiding from old Charlie batch back then fan boy…how quickly you forget..

  36. steelerfanjo….do you even watch football? offensive line, other than QBs, are the most important part to an offense there is, without them an offense cant function. if you really dont know this, maybe you should find something else to do sundays between september and february

  37. Never mind who the O-line starters might be, with Colon, Starks and Foster headed out the door, what are the Steelers going to do for depth? Doug Legursky?
    This organization has got to cease with its sweeping yearly purging without having suitable replacements in place.

  38. It’s hard to win when the first few games you defense was sift and gave 2-3 games away. Before Ben got injured he was putting up great numbers, he did his job. During his 3 game recovery they only looked awful against the browns and should’ve swept the ravens. After he came back he was still hurt and didn’t get back into rhythm. In the last 40 years the steelers had what 4 losing seasons and missed the playoffs how many times, and never had them in back to back seasons. Yea the ravens are ahead in the rivalry in the last 2-3 seasons but don’t forget how the steelers owned you before that. Ravens will be in trouble when they have to win the game with Flaccos arm cause after they overpay him they won’t have enough for anyone else. Not putting my money on the steelers for the division yet but you can bet they will be in the playoffs.

  39. After watching the steelers for over forty years I am not the least bit concerned with the re tooling that is needed. You can’t stay on top as long as we have without paying the price. For you newer social media fans winning the moment is more important than winning the battle. The young raven mouth breathers boasting and puffing their just post pubescent chests weren’t alive to see their first SB win so ignore their constant childish rants. So relax, we will be back…remember how we all felt going into Baltimore this year with Charlie Batch…. Come on have more faith… We will be fine..
    Retool the line be far all this talk is from the outside not the inside …about as reliable as the tool Ravenator.

  40. They need to draft talent at the skill positions. The Steelers have all small, slot receivers. They dont have any physical underneath receivers. I’d like to see them get a 6’4′, 210lbs that runs a 4.4 forty. However, they’ve been able to do it with a smaller receiver like Ward. Boldin has taken on that role for Ravens. Steelers have no good running backs and a bad o line. I’d like to see Ben play behind a good line for 1 yr…

  41. So let me get this straight. The steelers win with Batch vs the Ravens and that is the highlight of your season? Hahahah, I’ll take a loss to Charlie Batch EVERY YEAR if it means a lombardi awaits. What a pathetic rant. Enjoy the years of mediocrity that await you.

  42. So let me get this straight. The steelers win with Batch vs the Ravens and that is the highlight of your season? Hahahah, I’ll take a loss to Charlie Batch EVERY YEAR if it means a lombardi awaits. What a pathetic rant. Enjoy the years of mediocrity that await you.

    We all know the highlight of your day is a steeler thread to comment on. If you have as many highlights as we have had its hard to pick one that is best. You being still in high school this year is pig heaven for you with a Super Bowl win. So, is the condo with mom and ravenmuscle or just you and mom?

  43. So let me get this straight you win a Super Bowl and you become all knowing, a sage, and a god( oops rev ray I misspoke you are god to raven fans) . Funny no other fan base acts this way.. Funny how raven fans are carping about no respect..

    When tools like the raven trolls push their non stop trash it ruins the intent of the thread but…sigh

    Not worried about the line or the steelers, Flacco is one hit from the IR… I can hear the baby ravenator cryin already…cheers

  44. Not worried about the line or the steelers, Flacco is one hit from the IR… I can hear the baby ravenator cryin already…cheers

    Flacco never missed an NFL game in his career, yet ben has only ever played one 16 game season and that year they watched the playoffs from home.

  45. Flacco never missed an NFL game in his career, yet ben has only ever played one 16 game season and that year they watched the playoffs from home.

    Never let it be said you use logic. How many QB s make it thru their career without injury my mentally challenged friend? Flacco is good as long as his line holds up, but it only takes a Pollard type hit to change everything…so thanks for your sage post there troll…time to return to your spot under the bridge?

  46. As a Steelers observer, I was impressed with Flacco’s ability to avoid the 49ers’ fierce pass rush, extend plays and throw TD passes in the Super Bowl. In my opinion, Flacco’s o-line was awful against San Francisco…
    I can’t recall Roethlisberger ever playing an entire 16-game regular season. Not saying he never has, I just don’t remember him ever doing so.

  47. Imagine you are coming out of college to start your career.
    The first “supervisor” you work with isn’t popular with everyone, but you and him have immediate success that lasts several years – in fact, you reach the top of your chosen profession.
    Over these years, the two of you develop a strong friendship, and trust each other deeply. The company that you both work for however, becomes uncomfortable with how close you are, even though his immediate supervisor is fine with it, because he gets credit for your success.
    The company owner makes the calls, and soon, without consulting you, or at minimum ignoring your wishes, they force him out and hire another.

    Wouldn’t you find it difficult to adjust? Maybe you harbor some resentment that affects how well you perform?
    At minimum, you really have no level of trust in your new boss, and he requires you to do your job in some different ways than your old friend. No surprise then, when the results are mediocre at best.

    Moving forward, if you are a professional, you do your best to succeed, and hopefully, you get some new tools to work with that mesh better with your boss’s plans.
    After all, these things take time.

    For Ravens fans:

    “You” = 7 Ben
    “Supervisor/Boss” = Bruce Arians
    “His boss” = HC Tomlin
    “Company owner” = Artie Rooney

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