The Pittsburgh Steelers concluded two weeks of nearly constant contract renegotiations by locking linebacker [intlink id=”70″ type=”category”]LaMarr Woodley[/intlink] in to a six year $61.5 million deal. This is the fifteenth player who was part of last year’s Super Bowl runners-up to either sign a new deal or rework their existing one since the lock out ended. Thanks, new CBA. I wonder if the players have realized yet how badly they got hosed.
Anyway, Mister Woodley was by far the biggest fish left to be fried. The Steelers tagged him as their Franchise player so he wasn’t going anywhere this season. However, the $10 million salary associated with that designation put an uncomfortably large dent in the cap. While you math geniuses may notice he’s still making an average of $10 million per season, $22.5 million of his new contract is being doled out as a signing bonus. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a clever trick teams do to lower the amount per year a contract counts against the cap.
At 26 years old, this deal basically ensures Woodley will spend the prime of his career in the Black and Gold. Mister Woodley is among the game’s most promising young linebackers, having already notched 39 sacks and a Pro Bowl selection in only his first four years. Playing opposite James Harrison, they form what is inarguably the most feared outside linebacking duo in the NFL. With Harrison getting up in age, the Steelers have ensured some degree of stability at the position for the foreseeable future.
Word has it this is the final deal Kevin Colbert, the Steelers’ director of football operations, will look to make this off-season. Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons and Mike Wallace are all key names who are scheduled to hit free agency next season. The Steelers are firm in their stance of not negotiating contracts during the season. If this is indeed the last contract they’re looking to extend, those guys will just have to wait until next year to get something done.