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Steelers Will Not Let LaMarr Woodley Just Walk Away


Here we are two and half weeks away from the sound of helmets and shoulder pads hitting at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe and most of Steeler Nation is collectively freaking out over the LaMarr Woodley contract situation. ESPN North blogger James Walker reported on Monday that the Steelers will not extend Woodley prior to the start of the season and I myself have confirmed with LaMarr personally that there was nothing new as far as talks have gone. Now the Walker report might be true, but he truly is the only one reporting right now that it will not get done at all. Regardless if it does or doesn\’t get done prior to the start of the season, means absolutely nothing at this point and time and should not be regarded as the Steelers willingness not to keep him.

LaMarr WoodleyThe Steelers and the Rooney’s have a method to their madness and it has been forged in steel and tradition over the years. They do not rush into anything and are fiscally responsible in not mortgaging the future years of the organization for just a few players. This is a business and a business of putting a team on the field year after year that has an opportunity to compete for a Lombardi Trophy. The offseason dealings with Woodley headed into the final year of his contract is no different. Adding to the uncertainty of the 2011 season, salary cap and future CBA is the constraints of the 30% rule they are up against in dealing with Woodley specifically. Woodley has certainly earned his rookie contract and then some to this point and is well deserving of a contract near or about that of the recent Patrick Willis contract signed with the 49ers. This new deal is tough to put together and likely will be around 6 years and almost 50 million dollars. The hanging point on this contract is the guaranteed monies and how it is structured using signing bonuses, superseded signing bonuses and completion bonuses. These things take time and you must be patient with that. Although the Rooney’s likely have a good idea of what a new CBA and salary cap might look like, it is in no way written in stone.

Woodley and his agent, Doug Hendrickson of Octagon Football, know how the Steelers work and even Woodley himself has said he will not pout or hold out this year. I have a feeling he has a wink and or a hand shake that he will get his. The Steelers will also likely have some sort of franchise tag they can use as well in a new CBA when the new fiscal year starts. Much like they did with nose tackle Casey Hampton this year, they can tag Woodley with the highest tag until a new deal is reached that fits both the club and Woodley\’s liking. Sure, Woodley could hold out if no new deal is reached by the start of camp in 2011, but that is a whole season and new CBA away right now. You couldn\’t blame Woodley at that point, especially if he puts up another stellar season in 2010.

The flip side no one really wants to think about right now as well is the notion of LaMarr getting injured. I hate to even bring it up, but in this game, every play could be your last. Imagine giving Woodley the moon right now with no notion of what a true new CBA will look like and that ending up costing the Steelers for several seasons down the road. I can almost guarantee that is in the back of their mind and I bet Woodley has a Lloyd\’s of London policy as well to protect against this. If not, he should.

If you have been a Steelers fan as long as I have, you know that the Rooney family will make all of this come together at the appropriate time. To think they will let a linebacker like LaMarr Woodley just walk away in the prime of his career is foolish. I know it, you know it and more importantly, LaMarr Woodley knows it. Fear not Steeler Nation!

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • dave

    Yep, I agree 100% with everything you wrote. Like I said below, no need to push the panic button on Woodley.
    It’s a bit of a tough situation for Woodley because he has to wait another year or so for his big payday, and he has to worry about an injury, but I have no doubt he’ll be a Steeler for a long time.

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  • r4kolb

    “If you have been a Steelers fan as long as I have, you know that the Rooney family will make all of this come together at the appropriate time. To think they will let a linebacker like LaMarr Woodley just walk away in the prime of his career is foolish. I know it, you know it ”
    …can you say CHAD BROWN! I think they let him walk in his prime…how bout Kendrell Bell..although he did nothing after he left he was thought to be a stud LB we let walk…I hope Wood stays but till he signs i’m not holdin my breath..

  • admin

    I do not see how Kendrell Bell can be considered let go in his prime. He was a shell of himself after multiple knee injuries and groin problems. Chad Brown is a decent argument, I suppose, but you have to remember that there was another key Steelers free agent that year as well. Some running back named Jerome Bettis. There was no way the Rooneys could give both the big deals needed to keep them. Brown got a $24 million contract with the Seahawks. Lots of folks forget that both Brown and Bettis had the same agent in Lamont Smith and he leveraged both against the Steelers and each other. He got both of them paid top dollar, which is what an agents job is. Brown could of taken a little less to stay, but didn’t.

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  • r4kolb

    my comments are takin from the following link: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-trippintuesday072010
    Here are some of Wood’s comments:
    “Sometimes,” he said, “you’ve gotta be treated fair.”

    “It’s kind of jacked up,” Woodley said. “Everything I’ve ever done for the Steelers, on and off the field, has been positive. Sometimes you don’t get the same thing back in return.”

    Woodley, however, said the franchise’s message has been loud and clear.
    “I’m not going to lie – I was a little disappointed that they didn’t offer anything at all,”

    “You look around the league and you see different teams getting stuff done with their players in similar situations, and you think, ‘What, the Steelers don’t care about me?’ Stuff like that goes through your mind.”

    “They’re kind of looking at a franchise tag, but it’s a pretty risky gamble,” Woodley said. “If there is no franchise tag … I guess I can play for 31 [other] teams now. That’s what it boils down to. If they’d wanted to keep other teams from getting a crack, they could’ve tried to do so.”

    Woodley said he has heard from several players on opposing teams “who say I deserve [a new deal]. They say, ‘How come they didn’t pay you? You know what? Some other team will pay you. We could use an outside linebacker.’ ”

    “With me, no conversations even happened. That’s the crazy thing – we don’t have any communication going on.”

    Trust me I don’t wanna see Wood walk but even I can READ between the lines…he’s Outta here”

  • admin

    How can your comments be taken from a piece written less than 2 hours ago? I am confused. As long as Woodley does not hold out the Steelers have time and a yet to be decided CBA. Worrying about this right now is like worrying about who will play QB when Big Ben is done. It is OK to speculate that Woodley will walk, but to just use one instance like Chad Brown as an example is pretty thin based. Should Woodley be upset? Sure, but the Steelers brass never waivers on their policy. Is Woodley playing the media with those comments? Sure he is. Did the Steelers draft 2 outside linebackers as insurance and see this possibly coming? Sure, perhaps. I firmly insist they get something done come next training camp, I have no reason not to think it. To dwell on it right now is ludicrous though, especially with no cap or CBA in place to at least put some numbers against. Everyone is well aware of the unique situation here, it is no secret.

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  • quinneshia woodley

    i wonder is he my cousin

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