The Pittsburgh Steelers have until Friday to place the franchise tag on any of their impending free agents. Whether the franchise tag means anything remains to be seen, because without a new CBA, they don’t mean much as frachise tags might not be in the new CBA.
As mentioned last week, the Steelers top priority is cornerback Ike Taylor but the belief around the league is that the Steelers will place the franchise tag on LaMarr Woodley. Ike Taylor though is also under consideration for the tag.
Of the two, Taylor is likely to get a long-term deal from the Steelers, once a new CBA is in place, while the chances of Woodley receiving a long-term contract from the Steelers is not strong.
Even when a new CBA is in place, indications are the Steelers don’t intend to be aggressive in trying to lock up Woodley long-term this off-season.
The sense is due to what Woodley and super agent Drew Rosenhaus believe Woodley is worth, the Steelers prefer to bring Woodley back on the franchise tag and give Jason Worilds another year to develop before seriously exploring a long-term deal for Woodley.
Those inside the organization believe Worilds has great potential as an edge rusher.
Two other implications on Woodley not getting a long-term deal from Pittsburgh: 1. A salary cap is expected to be in placed again in the new CBA; 2. Lawrence Timmons
Timmons, 24, is entering the final year of his contract and is considered a top priority and will land top dollar as he’s emerging as one of the premier inside linebackers in the NFL.
Timmons is regarded by members of the coaching staff as the Steelers best linebacker and those sentiments were echoed by linebackers coach and defensive coordinator in waiting Keith Butler during a national telecast on NBC this past season.
If it comes down to paying Timmons or Woodley, all indications point to Timmons being the Steelers priority over Woodley. Timmons like Woodley is also represented by Drew Rosenhaus.
So what type of deal could LaMarr Woodley land on the open market if there are no franchise tags available and Woodley hits the open market under the new CBA.
Woodley would be a premier pass rushing linebacker hitting the open market with more teams are moving to a 3-4 defense than in year’s past….
In October 2009, Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware signed a six-year contract extension through 2015 worth $78 million, with $40 million guaranteed. The deal included a $20 million signing bonus.
Wares deal included $45 million in base salaries and bonuses in the first three years of the deal, the most in league history for a player who is not a quarterback.
In 2009, Washington Redskins nose tackle Albert Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million deal, with $41 million guaranteed. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen signed a six-year, $74.5 million deal in 2007 with $34 million guaranteed.
Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs signed a six-year, $62.5 million contract in 2009, with about $38.1 million guaranteed.
Woodley’s teammate James Harrison signed a 6 year – $51.7 million contract in April 2009, following a defensive player of the year campaign. Harrison though received $20 million in guaranteed money, far less than the likes of Ware and Suggs.