Preparing for Saturday’s deadline to get down to the 53-man roster limit, the San Diego Chargers released 11 players on Friday, including 1o-year veteran left tackle Max Starks.
The Chargers brought Starks in back in May after missing out on the top left tackles in the NFL Draft. Starks, who started 96 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including all 16 in 2012, was expected to be the team’s starting left tackle and bring stability to an offensive line filled with question marks.
Early in training camp, Starks was competing with King Dunlap for the starting left tackle position. However, Dunlap, who clearly looked better than Starks all offseason, took most of the first-team snaps and never looked back. It became clear that Starks was expendable when even Mike Harris began taking some snaps with the first team in practice. When Dunlap exited the team’s third preseason game with a minor ankle injury, it was Harris, not Starks, who took his place before Dunlap returned. Harris, who has experience at both left and right tackle, will be the team’s swing tackle.
Starks was absolutely horrific on Thursday night in the team’s 41-6 preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He allowed three sacks and was abused by second-year linebacker Cam Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2012 who’s on the bubble to make the 49ers roster. Starks also allowed a sack-fumble of Philip Rivers in the Chargers’ second preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
Though Starks had been a rather decent player throughout his career with the Steelers, the signs were there that maybe Starks was done as a player. Last season, Starks’ production dropped off quite severely from the year before and struggled at times in both run and pass blocking. This offseason, the Steelers made no effort to re-sign their long-time left tackle, and no other team showed much interest in him either. He went unsigned for months before the Chargers, the only team to call him, signed him following the draft.
You can find the official list of players released here. 11 more cuts need to happen by Saturday at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time).