Running back James Starks’ career with the Green Bay Packers — and likely in the NFL — is over.
The Packers released Starks on Tuesday.
Source: the Packers have cut RB James Starks (non-football injury designation).
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 7, 2017
This was a move we talked about during the season. Starks signed a two-year, $6 million deal last offseason, which we thought was a folly then and looks like an even bigger one now. In 2016, he played in just nine games. Starks first sat with a knee injury, which he had surgery on, and then suffered a concussion in a car accident late in the season. Starks didn’t appear in any of the Packers’ playoff games because of the concussion.
Injuries aside, when he was healthy, Starks wasn’t effective in the least.
He carried 63 times for 145 yards, an appalling 2.3 yards per carry average.
Here are the real ramifications. Starks’ 2017 cap number was slightly more than $3.6 million. Couple that with the $750,000 in dead money the Packers will eat and they’ll gain about $2.85 million in salary cap space.
On the flip side, the Packers running back depth chart is nearly bare. With Eddie Lacy and Christine Michael headed for free agency, Ty Montgomery is the only true tailback on the roster. Clearly, moves will be made.
There may be more bloodletting coming soon. Cornerback Sam Shields, who missed all but one game of 2016 with a concussion, is a great candidate to meet the same fate.
As for Starks, he gave the Packers plenty of good years as a backup. The highlight has to be his 2010 playoff run, where he put up 315 yards as a rookie during the Packers’ Super Bowl push. Consider that the Packers were trying to pretend Brandon Jackson was a No. 1 running back before Starks stepped in. Green Bay may not have that championship without James Starks.
We won’t forget that, but it was time to move on.