Nov 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) during the third quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Could Pittsburgh Steelers Release Or Deal Lawrence Timmons After 2014?

The Pittsburgh Steelers moved rather swiftly once the official NFL offseason began when they announced the release of OLB LaMarr Woodley with a June 1st release date.  That day is upon us, which then brings up the question of are the Steelers done with dumping some of their more highly paid players – like Lawrence Timmons?

No way Timmons gets dumped before the 2014 season, but the question was brought up during an open thread over at BTSC on Saturday evening.

Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons has a cap number of $8.1 million in 2015 and in $3 million in 2016. That’s about five times what Ryan Shazier and Sean Spence are due next season, and Vince WIlliams is still under contract. If Spence shows he’s capable of remaining healthy and fast, and Williams continues to improve, would the Steelers consider releasing Timmons next off-season as a post-June 1 cut?

To clarify what Neal’s trying to get at in this question – Timmons’ Dead Money will be $8.1 million in 2015 and only $3 million in 2016, which is the final year of his contract.  The actual cap hit the Steelers are taking in total with Timmons is $11.8 million this year, $12.5 in 2015, and $11.8 in 2016.  Which means that the Steelers would save $3 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016 if they release him with a post-June 1st just like they did with Woodley.

Now let’s get one thing straight.  Timmons is by far the best LB for the Steelers at this moment.  And, he in no way has done anything to make the coaches or Steeler Nation feel like he’s not doing everything he can to play at peak level…. unlike Stay Puft Woodley.  By rights he could be offered another two or three year extension come 2015.

However, as Neal eludes to in his question, if the younger guys like Shazier, Spence, and Williams all perform outstandingly well this season, would the Steelers consider releasing Timmons?  The short answer is ‘no.’  But, I think it is very possible for 2016.  Two seasons of Shazier’s progress and a healthy Spence (along with solid backup play by Williams) could push the Steelers to reconsider Timmons sticking around when cheaper options are already on the roster.  If they don’t restructure his contract in the next season, thus shifting more dead money to 2016, that $8 million in savings could go a long way to signing FA’s in the offseason as well as re-signing their own key FA’s.

It’s a very similar financial situation to the Woodley release that allowed the Steelers to be on the aggressive side in free agency rather than just sit back.  Woodley’s post-June 1st savings would allow them to sign FA’s in the spring and lock in their rookies with those savings after the draft.

I’m not saying it will happen.  There’s still two full seasons of football to play before this would have to play out in full, but the thought of it is intriguing…. and well, a good feeling to consider those young guys develop well enough to put the Steelers in such a position.

What do you think?

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