Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

'LaMarr Woodley Question' Must Be Answered Soon


 

 

I don’t know what they’re thinking, [...] I know what some people are thinking, I have no idea what Mike Tomlin is thinking. There may be a real big debate on LaMarr. I know Tomlin has always been in his corner.

-Ed Bouchette (93-7 The FAN)

 

 

Although Jason Worilds has had some injury issues during his four-year stint with the Steelers, he was far and away Pittsburgh’s best outside linebacker last fall. The former Virginia Tech Hokie led the team’s outside linebackers in tackles (63) and sacks (8.0) in 2013, and shined down the stretch when he was allowed to play at his comfortable spot of left outside linebacker.

With Worilds set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, Pittsburgh’s brass will have a difficult decision to make. Will they ink the younger and more promising player to an extension? Or will they release the older, fatter and recently ineffective LaMarr Woodley?

Woodley has been an injury-prone disaster for this franchise since he signed a long-term extension back in 2011, and the outside linebacker is in danger of being released to clear cap space for the suddenly surging Worilds. 18.0 sacks and 14 missed games over the last three regular seasons have made the Woodley extension a total mess, and the constant restructuring of his deal and others have put the front office in their current sticky situation.

Whatever the Steelers decide to do with Woodley however, they must make up their minds quickly and already be in the process of covering their bases for the departure of him or Worilds during the upcoming offseason since keeping both will be financially impossible.

If Woodley is going to be released, then those in the front office had better begin, or already be in the process of, drafting extension papers for Worilds. Already cap-strapped to begin with, Pittsburgh’s brass had better come up with a way to extend Worilds before he hits the open market in March and starts to receive more lucrative offers from other teams.

By that same token, Pittsburgh had better be hard at work finding ways to ensure that the loss of Worilds and the retention of Woodley will not cripple them in future seasons. Asking Woodley to take a pay cut or other financial moves to lessen the blow of the outside linebacker’s ridiculous contract will be of the utmost importance. Moreover, if Woodley stays in town, the Steelers’ brass must consider how reliable he will be if he is retained?

Since Pittsburgh will be thin at the outside linebacker position if Woodley or Worilds leaves, will the coaching staff be confident that guys like Chris Carter, Stevenson Sylvester and Jamaal Westerman will be the primary backups behind Jarvis Jones, Woodley or Worilds? If not, will any adequate depth be acquired via free agency or May’s draft?

Woodley’s deal and status with the franchise is an elephant in the room which Pittsburgh’s brass must deal with as soon as possible. Regardless of which decision they make, rolling the dice on Worilds or staying the course with Woodley, answering that question first so they can have the freedom to extend other free agents will do this franchise wonders during what should be another tumultuous offseason.

 

 

 

 

 

Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.comSpotrac and Pro Football Reference

 

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  • Bill Hrovat

    Seems the best thing would be to keep both LW & JW. We cannot have enough strong pass rushers.

    • Rick Eger

      There’s not enough money too keep them both, Woodley hasn’t been a strong pass rusher since the middle of 2011.

  • Rick Eger

    It’s simple dump this bum he has too go!

    • Craig

      “It’s not your call.” It’s a coaching thing.

    • OVP66223

      …and leave behind cap hits that prevent replacing him. If you designate him post-June 1st, then Woodley’s name will haunt our cap list for 2014 AND 2015. Not exactly simple on a team already OVER the cap as we type. Releasing Woodley won’t even allow us to extend Worilds, should you want that (I am not sure it is best move…unless a bargain deal).

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  • OVP66223

    If you release Woodley, the cap holds are big. I don’t see any way they can release Woodley (I would like him gone, but can’t do it). Worilds is gone. I am not sold he should be re-signed as I can see a 4 yr deal blowing up, just like Woodley.

    I am not fond of Foote. He is a backup LB in talent that is the glue MLB for us. I don’t like having a non-impact MLB starting.

    It will be tough sledding fixing the LB group WITHOUT further damage to the cap. As for whether losing Worilds and keeping Woodly would do future cap damage? No, that is the LEAST damaging. The MOST damaging would be to release Woodley (huge hit in 2014, or big hits in 2014 and 2015 if post June1st), and extend Worilds to an over-priced contract based on one good season after a couple of poor and injury prone ones.

    • Craig

      You don’t think Timmons is an impact MLB?

      • OVP66223

        Impact? No, but he is the best LB we have. The Steelers problem is they no longer have ANY impact players on defense. Everyone that rushes the passer, gets blocked by one player. Everyone that steps up to fill the gap in the run, is blocked by one player. Etc.

        I like Timmons (overpaid a bit though), but I think Foote is very mediocre and Woodley, well, not sure what to call him, but certainly overpaid badly now.