The Steelers are reporting to Latrobe today for training camp and so starts the watch for an announcement of a long-term contract for outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley was given the franchise tag prior to the lockout and it currently carries a $10 million plus price tag with it. A new deal for Woodley would significantly lower his 2011 salary cap hit and the Steelers no longer need to worry about the 30% salary escalation rule under the new CBA.
A new deal with Woodley, combined with a few other contract restructures of current players on the roster, should provide enough room for the Steelers to get their entire draft class signed. The former 2nd round draft pick is coming off a season where he recorded 50 regular season tackles, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. He is a key cog in the Steelers linebacker core and a new deal should lock him up for several more seasons.