By: Mike Vukovcan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- The Steelers started free agency being $11 million over the salary cap and have started the process of trying reduce that number.

The team has announced that they’ve released veterans Max Starks and Antwaan Randle El.

The 29-year-old Starks was set to earn $5.14 million in 2011 while Randle El was going to make $2.3 million.

Starks had signed a four-year, $26.3 million contract extension that included a $10 million signing bonus in the 2009 offseason.

Starks suffered a season ending neck injury last season but reportedly passed his physical and is OK.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted last night that Starks’ weight was in the high 300s.

The Steelers drafted Starks in the 3rd round back in 2004.

The team is trying to re-sign tackle Willie Colon, who’s drawing a lot of interest throughout the league.

Randle El, 32, had his role reduced last year with the emergence of Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders.

Here’s a couple of other things to consider:
*Are the Steelers going to lose QB Dennis Dixon? Yesterday, the Steelers signed a 5th quarterback to bring into camp. Chris Dieker of Southern Illinois will join Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dixon. Keep in mind that Dixon is a restricted free agent. When was the last time the team brought 5 quarterbacks to camp? Maybe they’re hearing that Dixon is drawing interest and are planning for Dixon’s departure.

*The Steelers have signed undrafted free agent Aaron Bates. Question now is will they attempt to sign unrestricted free agent Daniel Sepulveda?

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